Hello. My name is Kim, and I’m a control-oholic. Every day I fight against myself and my need to be in charge. Some days are good days and I am able to cope with the unexpected. On other days, I fume and fuss and want to scream. I’m a functional control-oholic, which may be even worse, because my condition masquerades as efficiency. Since I get things done, no one really sees the depth of my problem. But, there are glimpses when I am under a lot of pressure. Like a covered pot, I boil away, spitting out scalding water, stinging anyone nearby. Yes, I am a control-oholic.
Let me quickly state that I am not saying this to be cute. For any of you who are struggling with addictions, whether alcohol or pornography or over-eating, please know I am not minimizing your daily pain. I lived with an alcoholic for more than eight years. In some ways, it was hardest when he was trying to quit again. In the midst of it, especially during an extended binge, it was almost easier. I knew I couldn’t depend on him, and so I just ‘did my thing’.
When my husband was trying to quit he became moody and got angry or upset at the smallest things. I could see the conflict and struggle on his face as he battled his inner demons. It was almost a relief for us both when he gave up again and headed to the bar. Exhausted by the fight, he would quit quitting. Our lives would go back to ‘normal’. Of course, our normal was extremely unhealthy and destructive.
One of the things they teach in 12-step programs is that we need to acknowledge our powerlessness, and that there is a higher Power. With all due respect, I do not believe in a ‘higher power’. I believe in our triune God, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, who loves us so much that He chose to come and die to release prisoners and set captives free.
I believe in Jesus, who was tempted in every way I am. When Jesus was in the wilderness, Satan tempted Him with offers of control. Take the easy way out, submit and then I’ll give You the world. It was a lie, since Satan didn’t have the right to offer Jesus anything! But what a temptation to be able to skip the hard parts that were coming, and just jump to having all things under His control.
And so, Jesus understands my temptation to wrest away control. What comforts me most is not even that He defeated Satan in the wilderness, but that later, in Gethsemane, Jesus submitted to His Father. Not without pain, not without literal blood, sweat and tears, but He still said, Thy will be done. Was it worth the effort? Was it worth the fight?
A wise friend of mine, who works as a campus pastor, tells her students that they should not be surprised that being a Christ-follower can be a struggle. When Jesus lives in us, we have two natures. Our old sinful nature is doing battle against the new creation we are becoming. If we are not struggling, could it be that we’ve given up? Going back to one nature may almost be a relief. Of course, like my marriage, this defeated state is actually more destructive than the battle!
The really cool thing is, we are not alone in this fight. The Holy Spirit is in us, and He is the true warrior. We have a part, of course, but He will take the brunt of the offensive against us. He will strengthen us and uphold us with His right hand. My part is to acknowledge my need and cry out to Him. Do I recognize my need for Him?
Hello. My name is Kim and I’m a control-ohlic, but the One who defeated death has promised to never leave me or forsake me. He will see this completed. As I make a choice to acknowledge my weakness and inability to do this on my own, He will be my champion. Today I am choosing to die to my need to be in control so that I may live in the freedom of God’s control. I can only focus on today. Tomorrow the battle will begin again, but the One who orders all my days has promised He will meet me in all my tomorrows. Hello.