A great read for those of us who are “control freaks” and crave controlling everyone and everything around us so that we feel safe!  This was posted by a sexual abuse survivor.

How To Give Up the Illusion of Control

Recently I went to a Styx concert with my youngest daughter. They were my favorite band in high school and I was looking forward to an evening of hard-rocking nostalgia.

The lights went out and the crowd went crazy. The group bounded out on stage and the initial blast from guitars and drums hit with the force of a hurricane. Then came the dramatic opening lyrics of the night: “Welcome to the Grand Illusion…”

The song was the title track of band’s 1977 album that helped launch them to stardom. The theme is about finding meaning amidst of the superficiality that surrounds us. If we’re going to live with purpose, we have to see past the facades to the real stuff underneath.

The Grandest Illusion of them all

In other words, things are hardly ever what they appear. If we’re not careful, not only can we get sucked into what appears to be, but we can fall prey to the grandest illusion of them all: control.

Let’s be honest – all of us struggle with this. We want, and think we need, control in certain areas.

We’ve tried to control situations and circumstances. We’ve attempted to control what others think about us and how our relationships go. “Control freak” is a term that could apply to every human in some sense.

Low on trust. High on control. That’s our M.O.

Why we struggle with control

And no wonder. We’ve been hurt and disappointed. We’ve been neglected and abused. We’ve had our hearts broken, shattered, or crushed. We’ve encountered darkness and evil along the way. Things haven’t turned out the way we dreamed or planned. We’ve settled for less and find ourselves sighing through life, wishing things were different but not daring to hope they ever will be.

So we protect ourselves. We pose, posture, and manipulate. We try to make things work out. We put on our tough shoes and attempt to lay some control on the people and circus around us.

Control is an illusion.

What you DON’T control

What are you actually in control of? It would be far easier to list what you DON’T control:

  • What others think or say
  • What others feel
  • Decisions others make
  • How others respond to you
  • What happens to you or around you
  • The results of what you do or say
  • The results of what you’ve done in the past
  • Your spouse, kids, or family
  • Your health
  • The economy
  • The world
  • Facebook
  • Death
  • God

Yes, we can influence some of these, but we don’t have control over them. And when we attempt to exercise control, we sign up for slavery. We put ourselves in bondage. We buy into an illusion, and then get upset when it evaporates.

What you CAN control

So what can you do?

First, set free what you can’t control. Release it, and him or her.

Second, be very clear on what you actually can control (at least to some degree) and focus there.

What are you in control of?

  • The thoughts you choose to dwell on
  • What you allow into your heart
  • What you put into your body
  • Your decisions
  • What you choose to do or say next
  • How you respond to others (though you may not be able to control the initial reflex)

What you can do

Be courageous. Rise above the chaos. Guard your mind and heart. Feed your body and soul with health. Work on you. Heal and grow.

Be yourself. By this, I mean be who God created you to be. If you don’t know, your first priority needs to be to find out. Why? Because you will live out who you really believe yourself to be. You can’t afford to be foggy about this.

Be loving. Meet others where they are. Lose the personal agendas. Look and listen for their heart. Connect with them.

Be gracious and forgiving, with others and yourself. Deal with your own issues and allow others to deal with theirs. Send the life-sucking guilt monster packing. Refuse to let bitterness or resentment eat your soul.

I hear those lyrics again, “Welcome to the Grand Illusion…”

Abandon the illusion of control. Look beyond the facades. Embrace companionship with God and safe people. Use your influence to impact the world around you for good.

Greater freedom is right in front of you. Live a little more of it today.

Question: What control issues do you think most people struggle with?

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