*  Please note this is a series.  To start from Day One, please click the “Stinkin’ Thinkin’ Makeover” tab under the header.

“Mom, she won’t say what I want her to say,” she said through anguished tears that made me believe something terrible had happened.

After hearing the details it was apparent my young daughter was trying to control her playmates a little too much.

“Sis, you don’t want to be that way,” I explain.  I mean, after all, learning that the world isn’t all about us can be jolting at any age.

“People won’t want to be friends with you if you try to control their every move,” I said.

I try to squash this toxic bug that can burrow deep into the soul before it has a chance to nest because controlling little girls grow up to become controlling big girls.

And controlling big girls?  Let me save you some anguish here, sisters.

Watch out.  And I say this in love, not snarkiness.

As a whole, controlling women live in fear.  Fear that they’ll be caught with their house gone awry.  Fear their children will say something embarrassing.  Fear of being vulnerable because they’ll look weak.  Fear of being wrong.  Fear they will be deemed to be “not perfect.” In a friendship, they might even try to control you and become jealous, possessive, and place unrealistic expectations on your shoulders.

And their main challenge is a supreme loathing of self.

It’s the last one that breaks my heart.

Sure, we all suffer from this a bit because most of us (except you four male readers) are women.  We were told in the garden that one of the consequences of the original sin would be a woman’s desire to rule over men.

I can speak for myself and tell you this is true.  My husband probably doesn’t see this but I know I do it.  (Can you hear the sarcasm?)

I have little places where I feel myself trying to control too much. Stuff that only He should take.

I realize the brokenness in this, yes.

But there’s also a whole different level of control that can wreak havoc on thoughts and consume so much of a person that they begin to isolate the very people they love the most.

If control of others is taken too far, the controller WILL (guaranteed) chase away the very people in their life who could walk them closer to God.

If you are the victim of someone else’s desire to control (in other words, a toxic relationship), come back on Friday when we dive into that a little deeper.

In the meantime, here are three questions for us to ponder when we are tempted to control:

1.  Am I placing unrealistic expectations on those I love?  Are you taking your two year old into a gift shop (that’s just asking for it – I know this one from experience, sisters)?  Are you expecting your friend to cater to your every need?  Do you want your husband to fill a space in your heart that only God can fill?

2.  What is the root of my desire to control this situation?  Is my child’s behavior embarrassing me because I think my identity comes from them and not Him?  What brokenness in me do I need to address?  What healing needs to be done so I can release this?

3. What’s the impact on eternity of this situation?  Do I have to insist on my cupcake recipe for the school party?  Does it really matter that the kids didn’t put the laundry away perfectly folded?  Will it matter in ten years?  Is this really the hill you want to die upon?

Karen Ehman of Proverbs 31 is about to release a book on November 1 entitled Let.It.Go: How To Stop Running The Show and Start Walking In Faith.

“Many women are wired to control. You’re the ones who make sure the house is clean, the meals are prepared, the beds are made, the children are dressed, and everyone gets to work, school, and other activities on time. But trying to control everything can be exhausting, and it can also cause friction with your friends and family. This humorous, yet thought-provoking book guides you as you discover for yourself the freedom and reward of living a life ‘out of control, ‘ in which you allow God to be seated in the rightful place in your life. Armed with relevant biblical and current examples (both to emulate and to avoid), doable ideas, new thought patterns, and practical tools to implement, Let. It. Go. will gently lead you out of the land of over-control and into a place of quiet trust.”

What about you?  What areas do you struggle with just “letting go”? 

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