Control Freak Versus Jesus Freak: Letting Go of ‘My Way’

I never realized how much of a control freak I really am until I got married and had kids. Heather confessed how a control freak almost ruined her marriage here, now it’s my turn to confess.

See, I get this twitch in my left eye when my daughter puts on her red polka dot rain boots with her pink floral leggings . . . and don’t even get me started about the way my husband loads the dishwasher! (Seriously, how does he think they will get clean when they are stacked on top of each other?)

I try to explain to my family that I have certain “preferences” for things, but what I really mean is that my way is the one and only right way of doing things.

Needless to say, I am learning to adjust to different ways of doing things because I want to stay married! Truth is, having to be in control ALL of the time will damage your marriage, it will damage your relationship with your children and it will cripple your relationship with God.

When I rearrange the dishwasher after my husband loads it or make my daughter change into a different outfit before we leave the house, I am basically telling them that their way of doing things isn’t good enough.

When I insist on handling problems my way, I am showing God that I don’t trust that he can get the job done.

I have always had trouble letting go and trusting God with things. For some reason I always think I know better, although time and time again life has proven that that is not the case.wrestling donuts

I gave up sugar for Lent. Well, I tried, anyway. What that experience showed me is that I have no self control, especially when it comes to turtle pie (Try one; you will thank me!).

This raises the question, if I can’t even control my sweet tooth, then why do I think that I can control everything & everyone around me?

I have been trying to control things that only God can control and I’m tired.

I can’t control my family, my genetic disposition for large thighs, my future or my past and the more I try to, the more I find myself in opposition to God.

Foolishly, I have been trying to play God. Sometimes I even find myself trying to manipulate God into doing my will. I try to bribe him with promises like “If you just let me have this one thing then I will never yell again”. (I really did mean to keep that one!)

I’ve spent many hours reflecting on why it is so hard for me to let go of control.

My conclusion: A large part relates to feeling that if I give in and let others do things their way or let God step in and take over, that I will somehow be giving up–losing a part of myself or a part of my personality.

After all, this is my life and I don’t need anyone coming into it and meddling with things. I don’t need my furniture rearranged and I don’t need my heart changed.

Except it isn’t my life and I do need my heart changed.

In Christianity and in marriage you have to allow your old self to die so that you can become one with Christ, one with your spouse. My selfish, stubborn self just keeps on fighting that.

In Matthew 16:24-26 Jesus said to His disciples “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?” (MSG)

I wouldn’t trade anything for my soul; not even the chance to have my dream body. And yet, I spend more time doing squats than I do worshipping; more time contemplating how to look like Jennifer Anniston than trying to be like Jesus Christ.

I have searched in self help books for guidance before turning to the Bible. And self-sacrifice? Sure, that’s fine as long as it isn’t an inconvenience. I’m ashamed to say, I have put more trust in banks and the stock market than in God and His Word.

If we are to follow Jesus then we have to deny ourselves; to let go of our old life and desires. I continue to cling to my plans and ways and all the while God is offering me something so much better if I will just trust him.

This picture (by an unknown source and author) explains it pretty well.

just-trust-me picture

Jesus offers us something more satisfying, more fulfilling than wash-board abs and a thigh gap. He offers us the one thing that I am glad I am not in control of; He offers us salvation.

Not the kind of salvation that we can work for or pay for, but the kind that feels like Christmas morning. Even if we were naughty all year, we still wake up each & every morning to the ultimate gift: Grace!

Paul sets us straight in Ephesians when he says “Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish!…No, we neither make nor save ourselves.” Eph. 2:8-10 (MSG)

It’s not always easy, but I am learning to give control over the small things in my life to the one who is charge of my eternal life. And it’s nice to not always have to be behind the wheel; after all, life is a long road trip!

Jesus paid for our gift of salvation with his life, how rude of us would it be not to open it?


Amanda Wihebrink is married to her favorite person, Brad, and they have two bright young daughters, Sage & Ivy. She is a self proclaimed lyricist, coupon nazi, and would monogram everything if she could. She loves making people laugh with her goofy sense of humor and quick wit. Her happy place is on a beach with a book and mess of chocolates. Read Amanda’s posts here.



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