A Controller’s Story

Controlling behavior can be the result of good traits and habits carried to an extreme

To be out of control in one area or another brings on such a feeling of being overwhelmed often to the point of just wanting to give up trying. It’s bearing the constant “all or nothing” burden that really weighs the heart/mind/body down.

 

Kathleen Peck left an insightful comment to my article on controlling behavior that I wanted more people to see:

These types of controlling behaviors can be so difficult to identify because they’re so deeply entrenched in many of the positive behaviors & attributes you named here in the article. Being hard working, striving for the very best quality in everything or most effective use of time, resources, education, recreation, ALL seem to be productive life skills but where things turn the corner is our personal reactions when we’re unable to achieve these things, unable to somehow make everything right according to our high standards. Other people become annoyances, stumbling blocks, obstacles to be overcome.

Sadly I see myself in these descriptions, & I’m sure it’s been wounding for those around me to live with me. To be out of control in one area or another brings on such a feeling of being overwhelmed often to the point of just wanting to give up trying. It’s bearing the constant “all or nothing” burden that really weighs the heart/mind/body down. Living this kind of life is exasperating for the person under these strictures &equally so for those whom they’re being imposed upon.

God help us to turn over these fears & needs to control to the only wise One who truly does have all control & can be trusted in every circumstance to wield that control gently, graciously & altogether wisely.

A few comments on what Kathleen wrote:

1. Controlling behavior can be the result of good traits and habits carried to an extreme.

2. The problem can arise when we respond badly to our failure to achieve or to people and events messing up our plans.

3. It only takes one area of life to go wrong for some people to feel that all of life is out of control.

4. This impacts everyone connected to the person.

5. Trusting the wise and good sovereignty of God is key to overcoming vain attempts to achieve personal sovereignty.

David Murray is Professor of Old Testament & Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. This article first appeared on his blog, Head Heart Hand, and is used with permission.