Sunday, July 6, 2014
Fear and the Need to be in Control
Many people are obsessed with having life under control. This is a common response to a childhood where life was chaotic and clearly out of control. It can also be the side effect of being raised by a parent who was a control freak. The underlying emotions that trigger a desire for control are usually fear and anxiety. Control becomes our primary strategy for reducing worry. For the person obsessed with control, trying to organize and manage influences, events, people, and just about everything else becomes the main agenda in life.
A fixation on control can create a major block in our willingness to let God bring up and explore painful events in our past. It can lead us to unconsciously set rigid boundaries that might be rooted in unbiblical vows. Paul penned a profound principle about control in 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (NKJV).
The origin of unfounded timidity and fear is something other than God. Its source is our own fleshly lower nature and the devil himself. Living in fear opens up a point of access for the enemy and allows him a legal right to harass, afflict, oppress, and place us in bondage because we have ceased to believe and trust God.
In Psalm 37:3-5 King David offered radical advice to those who struggle with the need to be in control: “Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass” (AMP).
Steps to Freedom
1. Because we can’t overcome a difficulty whose presence we refuse to acknowledge, the first step in breaking an obsessive need to be in control is to recognize and admit that it is indeed an area of struggle.
2. Then, after praying through the Listening to God Guidelines, ask, Jesus, would You stir up my need to be in control in order to open a window into the deeper parts of my being. Then would You gently take me back to where this began?
(As you pray through each one of these 5 steps, take the time to write down the things that come to you in your journal or on a blank sheet of paper).
3. If you were taken to an event or pattern, ask, Lord Jesus, would You reveal what happened inside me in response to this event? What did I come to believe? Did I unwittingly make a vow and/or begin to follow a hidden strategy?
(Again, write down the things that come to you).
4. If a lie, vow, and/or strategy is revealed, ask Jesus to show Himself in this memory. Jesus, what do You have to communicate regarding what happened inside of me (what I came to believe, what I vowed, and/or the strategy I fell into)?
5. Pray through a prayer of confession and renunciation of any lie(s), vow(s), and/or strategy(s) that God reveals to you.
Taken from chapter nine of “A Guide for Listening and Inner-Healing Prayer, Meeting God in the Broken Places” by Rusty Rustenbach, Colorado Springs, CO, NavPress, 2011.