Are you a control freak? Or do you love one? {Plus a checklist of questions to help you evaluate controlling behavior}

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There is chaos in control.

And there was a time in my life when all I knew was chaos because to live meant to control.

Just about everything. Just about always.

No matter if the issue was big or small the dysfunctional dance of fear and control was always the same. What mattered was that I felt I knew best and I wanted my way, rarely allowing for noble discourse to discuss opposing sides of an issue.

And forget about respecting a husband’s headship.

I controlled because I was afraid, but I didn’t learn that till much later. I just knew that for me to feel okay about life, I needed to micro-manage everything.

Fear is the mother of control, and she births a squabbling baby that wrecks havoc and hurts hearts.

And fear, I began to realize after entering into a relationship with God and reading His word, is not from Him. Fear is from the dark side.

But as a little girl growing up in a home ruled by the darkness of alcohol, violence and fear, I learned to control what I could such as keeping my room neat as a pin, getting straight A’s in school, being super helpful and always trying to look pretty. Having control over some things helped that little girl survive the chaos and drama of those early years.

Unfortunately, little children grow into adult children who carry their survival skills with them into grown up relationships not realizing that it is safe to lay down their arms and relax into His.

For only God is in control and without Him all that exists is chaos.

But instead of looking to God when I was afraid, I played god and tried to fix and manipulate outcomes all with a highly self-interested motive of which I wasn’t even aware.

When I was a twenty-something and even into my early thirties — as are so many of us regardless of age — life was pretty much all about me.

And what I had to prove.

And if I didn’t get my way, watch out!

I would like to say this is when Jesus entered my life and everything instantly got better. But that’s not what happened. I would need a series of very difficult situations before I became willing to relinquish control.

My Elder Brother Jesus watched and waited while I spun one dizzying circle around myself after another, allowing the natural consequences of unwise choices and bad behavior to wear me out until I was ready to wave the white flag.

But not without a great amount of collateral damage along the way, the scars of which remain to to this day.


Are you a controlling person?

  • Do you need to have all the answers right away or can you wait and see how things will turn out in a given situation?
  • Are you able to make a suggestion or share your point of view and then let it lie, or do you brow beat another until they acquiesce and do it your way?
  • As a spouse do you value give and take in your marital relationship or is it “my way or the highway”?
  • As a parent of young children do you love them unconditionally providing godly discipline, or do your precious babes need to perform for you according to a rigid criteria or a highly controlled schedule where nothing is ever good enough?
  • As a parent of young adult children living outside your home, do you believe you have the right to tell them what they should do with their lives, believing that you know what’s best and often demanding that they do as you say?
  • Can you trust God or others to take care of the details, or to take care of another person who needs help but may not want it, or do you have to handle everything yourself so it’s done “right”?
  • Can you take instruction well, or do you rebel against authority preferring to do it your way since your way is faster or “better”?
  • Do you behave in a domineering manner? Are you short tempered? Impatient? Easily irritable?
  • Is you home, work or social environment full of chaos and drama and discord? Is there lots of screaming and cursing and crying?
  • At the end of the day, do you feel peaceful or continually keyed up?

If you can answer yes to these questions then perhaps you need to ask yourself if you have an issue with control. Perhaps you need to seek help.

I have seen in my own life that when I struggle with control it is because I fear, pridefully believing that I know best. This  reveals my lack of trust in the Lord, a sinful heart condition.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

And when we control out of fear and our lives keep spinning out of control it is ultimately because we do not understand how much we are loved by God.

For in His perfect love there is no fear and where there is no fear there is no need to control everything.

In our ignorance or willfulness we act like god, yet only He is sovereign over all aspects of our lives. Only the Lord above truly has all the bases covered. Only He knows the end from the beginning.

So fellow dust bunnies, that means we can relax and surrender to Him who created the cosmos out of chaos and us out of dust, breathing His spirit into us. And I don’t know about you, but being a control freak is an exhausting occupation.


How can you overcome the tendency to control and regain serenity?

Admit that you are powerless and hand your life over to God. When you feel yourself start to quake inside and begin to act out in a controlling manner, stop and pray.

Ask God to help you. Ask God to heal you. Let the power of the risen Lord Jesus Christ free you from all that holds you back.

And then let go and trust that in His way and His time it will all work out. He will not drop the ball.

Begin each day with the Lord and speak to Him in heart prayers all through the hours. The more you know Him, the more you will trust Him. And that makes letting go easier over time, so keep up the practice of sitting at His feet as Christ sits on His throne.

And one day soon you will feel the freedom that He died to give you.

You will feel lighter, happier and life will be less difficult and frustrating.

Plus, as you relinquish control your relationships usually improve.

We often cannot see ourselves as others see us.

This is especially true for the controlling person who may control in an effort to win love or not be abandoned. This only pushes the other person away because control is suffocating. And then the controlling person may demand to know why others “don’t love me” or want to be around them.

Lay down your need to control and lock the door on your difficult, manipulative personality.

Open your heart to Him and let Him lead your life.

Stop all the breathless running and fighting. You don’t have to anymore. Jesus loves you and you are safe and those controlling coping mechanisms you developed during a stormy childhood or somewhere along your path don’t serve a purpose anymore.

So please let them go and let your loved ones off the hook of always needing to please you.

The time has come to stop being scared.

The time has come to let God…

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7


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4 thoughts on “Are you a control freak? Or do you love one? {Plus a checklist of questions to help you evaluate controlling behavior}

  1. I knew by the title I was going to relate to this. Your words did not disappoint. I have slowly (hey, I’m stubborn!) been loosening control. This year has been the year of embracing imperfection for me. It’s amazing the peace I’ve found.

  2. Dear Sheila
    This is so true, dear friend! It is only when we begin to trust our Pappa God enough, that we will hand over the reigns of our life into His capable hands. He knows how hard this is when we have had such a childhood of neglect and abuse and He understands. He is so patient and will keep on keeping on showing you what a great Father He is until you truly believe this.