Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The deception of control

I'm feeling pretty raw about this subject at the moment, which usually means its a good time to blog about it, as rawness usually translates into interesting reading.

One of the most inspirational people in my journey to healing and wholeness has been James Hetfield of Metallica. This guy had everything - millions of dollars, millions of fans, a wife and 4 kids, global fame and recognition, talent, and the ability to do what he loves for a living. And he still had the guts to go into rehab for alcoholism and sort himself out. He came out a totally different man.

One of the main things he spoke about upon returning from recovery was that most of his education in rehab was about giving up the need to control things. He spoke about how he learned to use intimidation and rage to control people and get them to act the way that he wanted them to, and how his focus became about unlearning all of this behavior, which is where he found his healing.

This spoke so much to me. Throughout my own "God-ordered rehabilitation" that I've been going through recently, I've realized just how much of my life has been consumed by the need to control things. One of the main ways I've done this is through passive behavior - being "too nice", if you will. It is easy to pass this off as just being a "laid-back person" or a "peacekeeper" but in reality, for me it has been a constant sense of manipulation based in fear.

I thought if I could control myself completely, then I could control the actions of those around me. I thought that if I used passive behavior, I could control the actions of those around me to make them act how I wanted them to. Intimidation was never going to work as I'm not the biggest person around physically, so passive behavior seemed the way to go. I began to see this work in different areas of my life, which gave me confirmation to build my entire life around it as I believed that it could keep me safe.

In reality, this was all a lie. I see now that I cannot control or change the actions of others. Though I may think that I am safe, all it would take is a tornado or something to destroy my house and belongings to make me realize my own fragile mortality and shatter my little bubble of control. I could be the nicest person in the world, and that still couldn't stop some people from wanting to tear me to pieces. In fact, it may even encourage them to do it even more, as you don't win respect by being a doormat.

My healing and wholeness is not going to come from being able to control and sit on top of my own emotions and the entire world around me in some kind of place of power or authority, as that's just like trying to sit on top of a rug with thousands of mice under it - it's not going to stay still and they are going to be constantly running out from underneath you. Trying to stay up there is just futile and a waste of time. My healing is going to come from me learning to completely accept that I cannot control everything, least of all people - and that I'm not going to die if someone has a go at me and hurts me because I'm not striving to overcome them.

That has been a huge lie I've believed as well - that I couldn't survive the inevitable feeling of vulnerability that comes from realizing that you can't control things. I've realized that although I may feel like I'm dying inside, those feelings are just telling lies as in reality I am still standing and still walking. The only prison I am in, is the prison of fear itself. I am an overcomer. I've faced years of hardship, failed relationships, a bleeding stomach ulcer that nearly had me bleeding to death, months of unemployment and had to break through some very dark strongholds in my own life. I've shed blood, sweat and tears into my Christian walk over the last ten years and I have the scars, the wisdom and the grey hairs to prove it. No matter what happens, I'll keep on getting back up.

Complete control of our world is a lie. Only God can do that and He asks us to put our trust in Him that even though we don't know what's going to happen, with Him guiding us, whatever pitfalls we may face, He'll see us through.

Take care.

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