We can all be lured by the temptation for control and many of us want to have as much control over situations and people as possible. But how do we cope when situations spiral out of control and people don’t respond the way we want them to? Many of us have unhealthy, and even unholy, ways to cope with the threat of losing control.
The issue of control and learning to let go was a major area of growth in my life. I used to use sinful actions as a way to cope with situations that I felt I was losing control of. I also resorted to those same sinful choices when I felt I could no longer control the people around me. Later, I realized that I simply manipulated that feeling that I could not control situations or people into an excuse that I could use to justify my heart’s desire to sin. When I chose to engage in sinful behaviors, I believed that I was regaining a sense of control. I controlled what I clicked on. I controlled what I viewed. I controlled when I started and when I stopped. Whenever I felt I could no longer control real situations and real people, I began to seek to control fantasy worlds full of sin. The truth of the matter is, my sinful heart is what was controlling me and it was leading me down a path of unholy and unrighteous filth that was corroding every aspect of my life. The very thing I sought to control was the very thing causing my life to spin out of control.
How did I learn to stop using my perceived lack of control as an excuse to sin? The answers started to come as I began to seek God in the midst of all the messes I found myself in. I began to understand and accept that there are many things I can’t control. Not even close. I began to understand and accept that God was calling me to live a life of obedience, and that my obedience was something I could control (Titus 2:11-12). I began to understand and accept that He desired to do more than manage my behavior; He desired to transform my heart and mind into His likeness (Ephesians 4:22-24). I began to accept letting go of an unhealthy desire for control, and value the peace that comes from learning to trust in the midst of uncontrollable situations and people. I am still learning this lesson today but it is a lesson worth learning and applying each and every day.
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