It is tough to take on a task confidently when you are under the influence or leadership of someone who is controlling; it can be very burdensome. Many times when people feel this type of burden, they may continue to carry it, in order to avoid painful or vulnerable situations that bring forth a sense of guilt, unworthiness, embarrassment, or loss of respect. A need to be in control can ignite stress, fear, and anxiety within relationships. It also suffocates the possibilities of true intimacy and vulnerability; which can be the seed of growth and development in a person’s life, empowering them to communicate and connect.
In the midst of a controlling environment, the seeds that would produce the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) are immediately snatched away, chastised, choked, or burdened, and can produce an individual who feels the need to be legalistically and lawfully perfect. “The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced” (Matthew 13:19-22, New Living Translation). This can create an idea, mindset or feeling of nonacceptance and perhaps a misunderstanding of what being in a relationship is all about; particularly with Christ. Most of this person’s life can be spent doing dutiful acts in order to be accepted and received, rather than having to deal with the possibility or circumstances of rejection.
Many perfectionists have possibly, in the past been compelled to obedience, which could make the walk of faith tough for a Christian who struggles with this. God calls for obedience, and quite often for the believer to obey, even when things are out of their control. There can be a battle in surrendering your power or voice in these instances because to be led by God calls for vulnerability. It can be hard to be vulnerable when a person is in situations that remind them of being in a controlling environment that did or does not allow them to be an individual. This type of guidance can be very heavy and weighted for a Christian because, one must give up self or one’s own interests and plans in order to be born again and joined together with Christ. “If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it. Anyone who receives you receives me, and anyone who receives me receives the Father who sent me” (Matthew 10:38-40).
When one does become independent of a controlling environment, a person can still feel responsible to carry on or continue under the power of these habitual behavior patterns. Again it can be difficult to have close interpersonal relationships and especially one with God, while trying to maintain control of what one chooses to give and share intimately. In these cases, a person may be more apt to enter into relationships and friendships where another is fragile, broken, or has an issue that is problematic and seemingly needs to be taken care of; this helps to stabilize control. In a sense a person then becomes dependent on this relationship in some form, which will help to support their controlling behaviors, thought patterns, and processing. If a person is not in a constrained relationship, there could be a manifestation in other ways to help them exercise domination and to have an authoritative influence. Learning how to submit to God can be difficult but so necessary when truly understanding the dynamic of what a relationship entails. When we are willing to let go more, we are able to communicate with others and understand how they view God and the world around them, rather than from our own perceptions. This is an important and beneficial part of building relationships because then it is not just about you but there is instead a give and take, an exchange, and a knowing of one another.
Acknowledging the fact that we are never alone or isolated while being in a relationship with God daily helps us grow and develop on an interpersonal level. I am not saying it will be easy but by making it a practice, it can become a truly beautiful experience.
About the Author: Francine Ott
Francine is truly thankful to have a relationship with God and is seeking Him daily for guidance and any opportunities to walk closer with Him in truth and love. Francine is a choreographer/dancer, teacher, and soon to be counselor who has a heart to see God’s transforming power, renew, restore, and heal the minds, souls, and bodies of people’s lives.