October 24, 2017

Undoing our Perceptions of Control

One of my trusted, overused sayings is, “You only have control of two things, your attitude and your effort.” Finding ways to maintain control is one of my really bad habits. In truth, control is an elusive reality. The more I fight to maintain control of anything, the more I discover I never really had control in the first place. Even though this doesn’t stop me from trying, I happy to report I believe I am getting better at embracing the reality regarding my true lack of control.

Here is what I have come to understand and learn from my inability to control and the insanity associated with forgetting what I have learned:

  • People will do things we just don’t understand, including stuff that hurts themselves and you;
  • Despite your best efforts to stop, prevent, and protect, this happens anyway;
  • The greater your fear of the worst outcome, the stronger your desire to control a better one;
  • Even though you know you have no control, you are still surprised and hurt when, despite your best efforts, your lack of control are confirmed;
  • When you let go of what you can’t control, something still draws you back in, and you are often reminded of the reasons why you intended to let go afterward;
  • Every time you fail to control the uncontrollable, you experience a sense of failure and disappointment;
  • Your desire to control kicks in high gear when fear is at its highest; or a lack of trust is at its lowest;
  • Taking control over someone else’s responsibilities is a burden to you and an insult to them;
  • Even when committing to complete surrender, you still find yourself defining outcomes, results, and actions, in an effort to influence the outcome you desire;
  • Control is a by-product of fear, doubt, worry, and distrust.

I wish I could say I have discovered and consistently applied a secret formula to surrendering control. I haven’t. I have become much more cognizant of those moments where I am allowing my adverse emotions to influence my behaviors and begin to slip into control mode. I don’t always obey or recognize those stop signs. Although, I am getting better and it is making a huge difference in my life in many ways.

The scripture verse below is a great reminder of the contrast between the emotions of fear and control against trust and faith. It is in my most difficult and challenging times, I remind myself of how little I really am in control of and how important it is to embrace trust and faith in my behaviors.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5: 22-23 NIV)

Whatever you are going through, gripping the steering wheel tighter, or seizing it from someone who is on their own respective life journey, is a fear based attempt to control what cannot be controlled. What can be controlled is placing all your trust in God, giving it completely to Him, and moving closer to Him when you are struggling with your faith to believe it will all work out according to His plan.

The answers, the outcomes, and the process is not always easy. If you’re like me, there are times where I want to tell Him how to manage the outcomes and try to grab the wheel. But, the more I surrender to Him and walk in the truth in the promises of His love and wisdom, the more I have learned about who He is and how He works wonders in my life and in the lives of those I love.  When I don’t, the internal struggle for control is more stressful and is significantly more challenging, than embracing the peace in His plans.

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This week’s blog podcast episode: http://theaddictionconversation.libsyn.com/managing-the-inner-control-freek

I would love to hear from you. What issues are confronting you today? Where are you currently experiencing fear and shame relating to the struggles in your life? I have some pretty cool tools to guide you and would love to help.  Please let me know: dave@100Pedals.com.

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About Dave Cooke

Dave Cooke is a dad on a mission. His mission is to help parents get control of their lives over the powerful, destructive influences of a child's addiction. As the father of a son in a ten year heroin battle, Dave knows all to well the challenges parents and families face. He also knows there is a way to find peace in the chaos. It is his mission to help parents discover their path to a healthier, balanced life even if a child's active addiction is still part of their daily journey.