“Mom, can you just do what I asked?”
My sweet girl stood in front of me in her lacy wedding gown, rhinestone beaded veil and a scowl on her heart-shaped face. It was five minutes until the start of her wedding and she’d made a request that I didn’t think needed to be done. In my sweetest smile and “Mom Knows Best” voice, I tried to dissuade her.
As I mentally planned my better solution to her request, my daughter squeezed her fingers around her bouquet. I saw her chest lift and her cheeks expand to puff out frustrated air. Very calmly she said, “Mom, please just do what I asked.”
My daughter is a 26-year old woman and it was her wedding day. She had made a request. While I had the right to help or not to help, it wasn’t my place to nudge or push her toward what I thought was best.
Turns out, I needed to walk out some repentance just before I walked down the aisle to my seat. I’d tried to control a situation that was none of my business. Even though I thought I knew best, that didn’t mean that my way was better. Worst of all, I justified my control loving behavior because I was doing it with a smile.
How often do you nudge people toward your view of how they should act, believe, think or live?
If you aren’t sure, here are five control-loving behaviors that indicate that you’re attempting to fix someone or force certain outcomes.
I call thesse the SHINE Control-Loving Behaviors:
Stonewalling – Inflexibility or unwillingness to cooperate or collaborate
Helicoptering – Micromanaging others to do something the way that you want it done
Interrupting – Either cutting off someone’s words or interfering with someone’s life choices
Nagging – Repeating requests (Generally, saying it once is asking, repeating more than once is nagging…)
Excessive Planning – Overplanning every minute detail so that your specific plan takes place.
Which ones are your go-to’s? Who do you tend to use these on most?
To be clear, no one is judging you for these behaviors. Additionally, struggling with control-loving issues doesn’t mean that you don’t love others – it often means that you do love them, but controlling others is actually unloving.
Why do we use control-loving behaviors?
The truth is that control-loving behaviors indicate that you’re trying to slide into God’s place in someone’s life, especially if it’s someone who should be responsible for themselves.
These behaviors are a reaction to our fears, our anxieties or reveal where we struggle to trust God.
In my case, I served up of a hefty dish of interrupting my daughter’s wishes with a spicy side dish of helicoptering. I was worried that her pre-wedding ceremony request would offend our guests. Turns out, I was wrong and I caused unnecessary conflict between us.
It’s not easy letting the people that we love live their life on their own terms, is it? If they are irresponsible or lack life experience, we fear the consequences for their lives.
Let’s be honest, we also want to avoid feeling pain or inconvenience as well. But, is avoiding pain and consequences justification for us to play God in someone’s life?
Isn’t it God who knows what’s best, not us? Isn’t God sovereign, even in the small things? Yes, He is!
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”
-Isaiah 55:8 NLT
Anytime we pull out those control loving behaviors, it may seem like they are out of love but they often reveal our attempt to slide into the role of a god in someone else’s life. To be clear, we are pitiful and destructive substitutes for God.
I don’t know where today’s conversation meets you in your life. Perhaps, it’s good to take a moment to review today’s verse and reflect on whether you’re using any control-loving behaviors in a way that puts you in the position of God in someone else’s life. That can be heavy to consider, but worth it for both your sake, their sake, and your relationship with them.
God, open my eyes and reveal my blind spots to where I have been subtly trying to control others. It’s hard when I’m worried and concerned about a situation or those that I love, but I need to turn all of my worries and cares over to You. I trust that You know what is best so help me to let go of trying to control. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS: Which control-loving behaviors pop up for you? If you’ve battled to let go of control, share your story below to encourage others!
Check out my Surrendered: 40 Devotions to Help You Let Go and Live Like Jesus Devotional! These brief, but powerful devotionals are like a daily cup of encouragement that equip you with helpful reminders. Scripture verses and prayers connect your heart to God, too!