Every wise woman (or man) builds their house, but the foolish ones tear it down with their own hands. Proverbs 14:1
We build our lives with our own works; as our choices and plans unfold, we get to see the results of them. However, if we are not careful with our reactions and responses, we can unwittingly destroy our lives and those around us. There are many ways that people control others; sometimes, they might not even know they are doing it. By recognizing the ways that we control others and are controlled by others, we can pinpoint the places in our lives that we are tearing down our houses and protect ourselves from others who are tearing down theirs – with us inside!
There are types of control that are very common. Pouting is one. A pouter will draw attention to himself or herself by effectively throwing an adult temper tantrum, trying to force the other party to give in. Another is nagging. When we nag, we are repeating our desires constantly in an effort to wear the other person down. There are those who criticize; they seek to demean the other person and make them feel inferior or morally wrong for not giving in to demands. These are active forms of control, but there are passive forms as well. Third-Party control is a form of manipulation where we ‘vent’ to others, knowing full well that what we are really doing is asking another person to use their influence on our behalf. There is also the enabler, who gives of himself or herself freely just long enough to make someone dependent before threatening to withdraw their ‘help’ if certain demands aren’t met.
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you recognize yourself in this, there are ways to work through it and focus on your behavior in the future. If you recognize signs of behavior that other people have used to control you, you can now be more aware that it is meant to manipulate the way you think and feel. Control is not in God’s will for our lives; in fact, He wants us to all be free. If we control others, they cannot follow His will and be free, and if others are controlling us, we are not free. Control is a form of pride, based on fear. We control because we believe we know best and because we fear allowing someone to make their own choices, especially choices that go against what we desire. If pride is the center or control, then battling it is based in humility and trusting God.
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. 1 Peter 5:6
Do you recognize symptoms of pride in yourself?
How can you rely on God this week to help you live in freedom, rather than control?
by Lili Morris