SERIES TITLE: CONTROL FREAKARTICLE FIVE: Getting Free...
To get free, I needed to go back to where it all began. Where did this door open for the ‘control freak’ to come in and operate in my life? I asked the Holy Spirit to take me on a journey, and to be honest, I was a tad freaked out... but at the same time buckled in and ready to go.
One thing I knew for sure... no one is born a control freak. One becomes a control freak.
Somewhere, something happened to me that caused me to think that controlling my environment kept me safe. Somewhere fear crept in, I was the target, and control was the fruit of my fears. And after it crept in, it came at me in different ways, compiling the amount of control I would exert to feel safe.
I ignored it for years, but I know where the door was opened. It crept in in the form of abuse at the age of 3. And after that, it just kept rolling in. If I couldn’t control what happened to me, then I would control my immediate environment in order to feel safe. As I grew up, it came in the form of broken relationships where I engaged my whole trust in someone that I thought would be my savior. This, in turn, crippled me from putting my whole trust in God. So if a person or a situation would let me down, fail, or hurt me, there were new reasons to lash out and control my personal world.
Somewhere along the journey, a subconscious lie came in and I told myself, “I can do a better job than God. I can take control of my life.”
For me, the number one way control manifested itself in my life was anger. And a close (very close) second to anger was a compulsion to keep my house, and the humans that lived in it, in perfect military order.
The funny/not so funny thing is is that control isn't even in the nature of God. I was a little bit bummed when I realized it wasn’t a fruit of the Spirit since I was so good at it.
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard that old song that goes “God is in control”, but the truth is, He left you and I with one big thing that still baffles me: choice. He has given us the beautiful and oh-so-annoying gift of free will. And why is it annoying, you ask? Because it leaves absolutely zero room for a victim mentality. You can’t blame anyone when you have the free will to forgive, let go, and live in freedom. He doesn’t even force you into relationship with Him; it’s your choice to let God in or not. You were created to be in relationship with Him, but until you acknowledge that... He stands at the door and knocks.
Maybe it seems strange, but I got free when I realized that even the person who abused me at the age of 3 had the gift of free will from God too. They had a choice to treat me with love, or mistreat and hurt me. Unfortunately, that person chose that latter, which affected my life greatly until I realized I needed to engage my free will to forgive them. Forgiveness let me out of my cage of torment and control (Matt 18:34-35). This is the most powerful weapon you have in attaining freedom from control. Forgiveness is what Christianity hinges on. Our engagement of forgiveness (receiving and giving it) are foundational and fundamental to living free in any area of our lives. From there on out, I had to make choices that aligned with my newfound freedom. The responsibility for my freedom was and is on me to execute with the knowledge and revelation I now walk in.
After the chains fell off, the seemingly obvious things all started to hit me:
- I can’t control my husband.
- I can’t control my kids.
- I can’t control other people's decisions.
- I can’t even control what people think or say about me (I can make choices to have a good reputation but I can’t control others opinions no matter how hard I try)
And the more I try to control those things, the more I feel out of control and lack any semblance of peace.
BUT, here is what IS in my power to choose and cultivate in my life:
- I choose to exchange the fear that binds and controls with the LOVE that casts out all fear.
- I choose to have JOY and LAUGH at the days to come no matter what season I’m in or what circumstance I face.
- I choose to pursue PEACE in the midst of the good, bad, ugly and crazy hectic times in my household. The Prince of Peace came, and Peace is my inheritance.
- I choose PATIENCE when all I want to do is respond in anger and control my environment.
- I choose KINDNESS when my first reaction is vengeance, anger, hatred or frustration (Yes, even this pastor can be given to strong and unhealthy emotions).
- I choose to focus on the GOODNESS in my life, and not blow out of proportion the things that have gone or are going wrong.
- I choose FAITHFULNESS on the days I want to throw in the towel and move to a deserted island all alone where no one can talk to me.
- I choose to cultivate GENTLENESS when my initial reaction may be brash or harsh. It is in my power to choose.
- I choose SELF CONTROL, because it’s in my power to do so. I am not God’s little puppet. I am His friend. And friends don’t control one another.
Galatians 5:22, baby! I can CHOOSE to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit in my life.
Along this journey, I've realized that God is a lot better at doing His job than I am... And I realize that people have a free will to hurt me, but I have a free will to get free.
Have you ever heard the quote:“Life is 10 percent what happens to you, and 90 percent how you react"?
To walk in forgiveness, I want to encourage you to read Matthew 18:21-35. It's the parable of the unmerciful servant. It shows how God so willingly and easily forgives us, and expects us to do the same to those that owe us a debt they can never pay. We owe God a debt that we can never pay Him, yet through salvation and forgiveness of our sins He releases us of our debts freely. As you read this, you'll notice that we're the ones that are actually in prison until we forgive. Forgiveness releases you, and sets you free.
Forgiveness brings recovery and healing to an ailing control freak. Forgiveness and repentance change everything. It’s the key to our freedom.
So now what???
Step 1: Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you where control has had an open door to enter your life. It will probably look different than my journey, but when you’re ready, God will reveal it to you.
Step 2: If it’s necessary, choose, as an act of your will, to forgive those who have hurt you and owe you a debt they cannot pay. Repent of your sins in holding onto that debt and ask God to cleanse you of all unrighteousness. Read Matthew 18:21-35 for revelation on forgiveness and repentance and the power it has to set you free.
Step 3: Willingly cultivate the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22in your life, and begin to make choices that align with your freedom.
Below is a prayer you can use to engage forgiveness as an act of your free will. It’s the canceling of a debt, a heavenly transaction. Even if you don’t feel like anything happened, believe that a heavenly exchange took place. Don’t let the enemy steal your seed of freedom.
LORD, TODAY AS AN ACT OF MY WILL I CHOOSE TO FORGIVE _____________________ FOR HURTING ME. SPECIFICALLY I FORGIVE THEM FOR _____________________. I CHOOSE TO RELEASE THEM FROM THEIR SIN AGAINST ME AND I CANCEL THE DEBT THEY OWE ME AND I RELEASE THEM INTO YOUR HANDS. I RELEASE THEM FROM ANY JUDGEMENT OR CRITICISM THAT I HAVE HELD AGAINST THEM AND I TRUST YOU TO DEAL WITH THE SITUATION AS YOU SEE FIT.
IN THE NAME OF JESUS, AND BY THE POWER OF HIS BLOOD, I ASK THAT HE SEAL THIS HEAVENLY TRANSACTION. AND BY THE POWER OF JESUS' BLOOD, I CANCEL SATAN’S AUTHORITY OVER ME IN THIS SITUATION AND IN THIS MEMORY.
GOD, I ASK THAT YOU FORGIVE ME FOR STANDING IN YOUR PLACE AND TRYING TO EXECUTE JUSTICE. I THANK YOU THAT YOU FORGIVE ME LIBERALLY AND COMPLETELY, AND I CHOOSE TO EXERCISE THE SAME FORGIVENESS TO THOSE THAT OWE ME A DEBT THEY CANNOT PAY.