Control: 1. The power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events.
Control freak: 1. A derogatory term for a person who attempts to dictate how everything around them is done.
“In our hearts we make our own plans for the way we want to live, but it is only the Lord who determines and establishes our steps and makes us able to live life.” Proverbs 16:9
According to Wikipedia (which is the “authority” on everything…ahem, not!), “control freaks are often perfectionists who defend themselves against their own inner vulnerabilities in the belief that if they are not in total control they risk exposing themselves to angst. Such people manipulate and pressure others to change so as to avoid having to change themselves. When a control freak’s pattern is broken, the controller is left with a terrible feeling of powerlessness. Control freaks are very much the Type A personality, driven by the need to dominate.”
- Type A personality
None of these are nice words. None of these are words I’d like to use to describe myself. None of these words are words I’d like you to call me.
I read this list and I thought: I’m none of these.
Then I read it again.
Ouch, I am a perfectionist. I like things to be as perfect as possible. For goodness sake I even used to dress my children in matching outfits when they were younger so that they would look “perfect” in family photos. The elusive image of the perfect family drove me to do this.
I get hurt easily and suffer angst at times when things don’t go the way I expect them to or when I feel exposed. That means I am vulnerable.
Manipulative? Of course not! But then again, there are many times when I put pressure on other people to do things I want to do, or to go places I want to go.
Powerless. Definitely. There are many occasions when I feel powerless – usually on occasions when other people are “in control” and I’m not!
Am I a “Type A” personality? Oh you’d better believe it! Type A personalities are ambitious, organized, impatient, truthful, always try to help others, take on more than they can handle, proactive, obsessed with time management, can be sensitive and like to care for other people, can be over-achieving, like to multi-task, push themselves with deadlines, hate delays and get annoyed with ambivalence. They also tend to be “highly strung”.
Ahem. No comments please!
I don’t think I’m dominating. But then again, to dominate is to have a commanding influence over something. And yes, I like to exert my influence. Often. So I guess I can tick dominating off the list too.
I picked up Karen Ehman’s new book “Let.It.Go.” this morning and did her quiz: “Are You a Control Freak?”. Whilst I didn’t score all that high according to her, this thought has been chasing me all day: I might not always act like a control freak, but I don’t always
behave act like (or believe) that God is in control of my life.
I’m the type of person that likes to come up with the plan. In fact, my nickname at home is “Queen of Plan”. And then I like to tell God what the plan is and how that plan is going to happen!
But that’s not how it works! I can try to ‘plan’ (okay, let’s just call it what it is – ‘control’) things as much as I want to, but at the end of the day it is God who decides which way I will walk. It is God who determines and then establishes my steps. It is God who makes the plans for my life.
I should know this well. My “life” verse is Jeremiah 29:11 which says:
” ‘For I know the thoughts and plans I have for you’ declares the Lord. ‘They are plans to prosper you. They are thoughts and plans for good and not for disaster. For peace and not for evil. They are plans that will not harm you. They are plans to give you hope in your future and in your final outcome’.”
Rather than continue to live my life as a
vulnerable, manipulative, powerless, dominating perfectionist Type A control freak, I think it’s time I let go and let God control my life.
He’ll do a much better job than I would anyway!