Undoubtedly, while driving around town you have spotted the familiar bumper sticker, "Relax...God is in control." Wouldn't it be great if everyone knew that a Supreme Being is in control of his life? "Don't sweat the small stuff" would be the slogan of the day if everyone truly gave up his control issues and relied on God.
So many people are trying to "fix" every aspect of their lives! The development of numerous ways to control the ravages of time on our physical bodies--chemical peels, eye lifts, tummy tucks, liposuction and botox, for example--is proof that we are pressured to seek perfection in our outward appearance. Add in trying to fix our marriages, our children, our careers, our finances, our co-workers, our mothers and anything else we perceive to be wrong, and you can see that we have a sure-fire recipe for stress.
Along with this "I have to fix it myself" mentality comes a plethora of physical and emotional troubles, including anxiety, full-blown panic attacks, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders, insomnia, tense muscles and more. Considering that more than 80 percent of all doctor visits are due to stress-related illness, I think we need to examine our lives and ourselves.
I was forced to do this when stress took a serious toll on my health. Panic attacks, hormonal imbalance, chronic fatigue syndrome and more sidelined me to the point of almost giving up. I had worn myself out trying to be a human fix-o-matic.
For the first time in my life, I had to face the reality that I alone could not fix or control anything. But I discovered that someone else could.
During my low period, I delved deeply into the Word of God. I had an incredible revelation: Not only is God in control of our lives, but He carried us even when we were in our mothers' wombs. As little infants, we relaxed because He was in control.
When I realized that someone was in control who could fix my life with much more expertise than I had and who always has my best interests at heart, I was able to let go, step back and live my life from a changed perspective. I now am able to honor the people in my life for who they are and not try to make them into who I think they should be.
To help curb your desire to control you must first understand why you behave this way. Many times we become controllers when we experience situations in our lives that leave us feeling hurt, vulnerable or rejected.
A childhood that was filled with a lack of praise and approval, the divorce of parents, death, an unstable upbringing, the responsibility of raising other siblings, a strict religious environment, or a family history of alcoholism and low self-esteem can be a contributing factor. Because of such a background, people develop controlling personality traits that include high expectations, extremely analytical or perfectionist tendencies, obsessive thinking and more.
The real root of the problem of control, however, is fear. Fear paralyzes your life and your health. Fear plays a part in many diseases we face in these times.
The good news is that your healing can begin with the realization of how great a part fear has played in turning you into a control freak. You must face your fear head-on.
Yes, it took years of hurt and trauma to bring you to this point, but you must deal if you are going to heal! God has not given us a spirit of fear (see 2 Tim. 1:7).
Here are some steps to take to turn your situation around:
Pray and ask God to forgive you for anything you may have done that has harmed another individual.
Forgive anyone who has harmed you.
Let God take past hurt from you. Take it to the altar and leave it there.
Consciously reject every fear that comes into your mind and tries to take you captive. Rebuke it and ask for the peace of God to surround you.
It's worth the effort. Just think of all the anxiety, depression, heartache and medical bills that will be avoided as you relax, knowing "God is in control."
Draw closer to God. Experience the presence of the Holy Spirit every month as you read Charisma magazine. Sign up now to get Charisma for as low as $1 per issue.
Dare to go deeper in your faith. Our "Life in the Spirit" devotional takes you on a journey to explore who the Holy Spirit is, how to interact with Him, and how He works in your life. Are you ready to go deeper?