The longer I’m married and it’s been over 32 years now, the more I realize that as much as I’d like to make life “right” for my family, starting with my spouse, it’s not up to me. I had a very long season of trying to control life. It didn’t work. I know that’s a great surprise to many of you. Ha! It just comes so naturally to me. (smile) I’ve learned there is a fine line between being a helper and being a controller. Personally, I’ve learned there is just no good in controlling. Bob and Judy Hughes say it this way in their book “Love Focused”:
“Trying to control people and circumstances prevents us from achieving the two most important assignments God has for us; to love him and love others. As a result, striving for control is one of the most likely things that will prevent us from being the person God wants us to be.
How does our trying to maintain control block us from loving God? One of the most basic ways we express our love for God is by trusting Him. When we trust God we please Him. (Hebrews 11:6) When we try to control people and circumstances, we do not love and please Him, because we do not trust Him to meet all our needs. We do not believe that His plan is best and that He is worthy to be obeyed.
How does our trying to control block us from loving others? When we try to control people or things to achieve our outcome focused goals, we are using them to achieve our own self-centered purposes.” (pages 104-105)
Turns out my intent of making life better for my spouse/family may not always be a great idea. In fact, it’s not even a good way to show my love for them. So why do I do it? Am I trying to save them some pain? Sometimes pain is necessary to really learn. Am I trying to make life easier for me or for them? Easier isn’t always better. So how do I know when to jump in or stay out? I am learning to prayerfully stop and consider this question, “do I want to help or do I want to control?” One way I can tell the difference is if I’m obsessing over a situation, worrying and thinking about it all the time I’m probably not “helping.” I am trying to achieve a specific outcome in a specific way or time. That’s not trusting God or my spouse/family. How do you tell the difference between helping and controlling?
If you would like to read more you can find “Love Focused” here: Love Focused I highly recommend it.