3 Ways to Quit Striving and Start Thriving
Does anyone else enjoy the feeling of being in control? I sure do! I MAY be a bit of a control freak. I love to have my plans and feel like I can dictate how things will go. It baffles me that others don’t follow my plans because we would all be so much better off! In my book, From Hot Mess to God’s Best: Decluttering Your Mess to Be Your Best, I share twelve of the most common strongholds (negative mindsets) that hold us back from God’s best for our lives. Control is certainly one of those for many of us – and one of the biggest ones for me personally.
What exactly is control? It is defined as the power to direct other people’s behavior or the course of events. I have come to realize that I’m rarely if ever in control of what happens. The pandemic is a recent event that was proof of that. I don’t think many of us saw that coming! We may have control over our attitudes, actions, and responses but that is about it. God is in control of everything else. Although I am very aware of this, when something happens that concerns me, I still get in there and try to set things straight.
“I like being controlled”, said No one…Ever. Controlling can be very damaging to relationships. And often it is the people closest to us that we try to control. Controlling behavior can be motivated by love, initially with good intentions, but it rarely turns out well.
Here are three strategies to try to clean up control in your life if you struggle with it as I do.
- Work on your awareness
Understanding what is in your control, and what isn’t, is critical. You aren’t in control of the thoughts, feelings, and actions of others so don’t try to be. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be concerned but you should release any attempts to control others or circumstances to God.
- Understand the why
When you understand the “why” behind why you are attempting to control, you can effectively address the heart of the problem. You can do this by identifying a time you were controlling and pondering the following:
How did you feel or respond?
What were you afraid would happen if you didn’t intervene?
How could you have responded differently without trying to control?
- Surrender to God
To overcome control, we must confess and surrender our need for it to God. God tells us to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7) which means He is asking us to trust Him with what we can’t see. Here’s an exercise that I have been doing to this end lately which has yielded some good results. When I have a controlling thought, I have been releasing it to God by saying, “not my will but yours be done.”
The truth is that it takes a lot of work to try to control. My new motto is – Stop striving and start thriving! I’m going to implement the strategies above to let go and let God do His thing!