If you haven’t done so yet, I invite you to Take the Control Girl Quiz! Over twelve Mondays, I’ll be unpacking one of the quiz’s twelve questions. Also, on Thursdays, I’ll be telling your stories in a “Control Girl to Jesus Girl” series.
Quiz Question 3:
Are you irritated by other controlling people? Is there a controlling person in your life who deeply frustrates you? Are you more bothered by this person than others? Do you react in a passive aggressive manner when a controlling person gives you no choice or violates your “turf”?
When I speak on Control Girl, the most common question I’m asked is, “But what about that other controlling woman in my life? What should I do about her?”
I get your frustration. Really, I do!
Other Control Girls drive me nuts. I am so irritated when they toss manipulative, condescending, or critical comments into conversation. I hate it when they leverage relationships to get what they want. I can’t stand it when they insist on having their way–either overlty or by using some subtle tactic.
But here’s what I’ve learned. The more I’m bothered by a controlling woman, the more likely it is that I am a controlling woman.
That Other Control Girl
I once was on a committee planning a fundraiser. I arrived at the first planning meeting with a warm smile and a cheerful heart, but left with a secret scowl and grumpy frustration. Why? Because of “Darla”.
When I shared an idea, Darla had a better one. When I offered information, Darla countered with better, more detailed information. When I tried to talk, Darla cut me off.
I was irritated, to say the least. I wondered why I had even volunteered in the first place.
But as I drove home with my friend, who was also on the committee, I asked, “Do you know Darla very well?” She said, “No, this was the first time I met her, but isn’t she great? She is so dedicated and committed, don’t you think?”
Um, no. That’s not what I was thinking.
See, my friend isn’t nearly the Control Girl that I am. She’s actually rather oblivious to people trying to take control (which might be why I like her so much). She doesn’t see their tactics or notice their manipulation. But I do. I see it all.
It’s because women like Darla and I are after the same thing: control.
The Other Control Girl
My first inclination is always to try and pry control away from that other Control Girl in the room. (Or the one in my family, my friendgroup, my workplace, or neighborhood.)
Why should she get control? I feel like it’s up to me to confront and help her see why she’s wrong. Oftentimes, it’s another Christian I’m irritated with, and I feel a sense of responsibility to hold her accountable for her walk with Christ. Otherwise, she’ll just go stomping through life, thinking she can control everything, right? (I noticed that Julie said something similar about her controlling mother-in-law in this post.)
But when I try to control the controlling woman, the result is always the same. I only become more like her. I get all passive agressive, trying to point out her errors. I’m manipulative, condescending, and critical. I insist on having my way so that she can’t have hers.
It’s ridiculous how much I act like a Control Girl whenever I’m trying to stop someone from being a Control Girl.
Learning from Control Girls
So whenever there’s a Control Girl planted right in the middle of my path, who won’t sidestep to let me get on my controlling way, I know that God has a lesson to teach me about myself–like how how ugly I must look to others, when I think it’s all up to me. Or how tightly my own fingers are clamped onto having my way. Or how much I’m trusting in me, not God.
Like no other situations in life, God uses other Control Girls to train me in the art of surrender. Every time I face that other controlling woman in my life, I have an opportunity to…
- Grow in humility as I choose patience and grace, even when it’s hard.
- Have self control, which is a by product of giving God (not me) control.
- Surrender outcomes to God, rather than try to determine them myself.
Do you have a controlling woman in your life? If you give in to yourself, do you think you might become just like her? What lessons does God want to teach you about control, through this situation?
Friends, the path of surrender isn’t easy or painless. It’s a struggle! But it leads to the settled peace, hope, joy that taking control never provides.
Let God get to work on that other Control Girl. Put her in His hands. But put yourself in the same place.
Find out more about my new book, Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the Bible.