If you haven’t done so yet, I invite you to Take the Control Girl Quiz! Each Monday, I’ll be unpacking one of the quiz’s twelve questions. Also, on Thursdays, I’m telling your stories in a “Control Girl to Jesus Girl” series.
Here’s Question 10:
Do you keep hidden agendas? Do you tend to conceal information or only tell part of the story, to give yourself leverage? Do you use information to manipulate people? Do you use relational equity to your advantage?
I recently had a big argument with my husband that started with him asking and innocent question:
“What’s for dinner?” he said.
This provoked me. I began ranting about how much I do around the house (not nearly as much as many women) and his unreasonable expectations (he’s actually not demanding at all) and how burdensome my life is (this isn’t true either; I have it pretty easy).
So as you might expect, these unfair complaints and criticisms sent some sparks flying. My husband fired back some defensive zingers, reminding me loudly about how he lets me go shopping whenever I like, and never complains about what I cook or how late it is when dinner finally makes it to the table. (These things are true).
Even so, I didn’t back down. As I got the meat out to thaw and the onions to chop, I kept griping and complaining about my terrible life. But if I’m honest, all of this was a smokescreen. There was something else at the bottom of it all that I wasn’t saying.
Earlier that week, my dear husband had made a vague suggestion about going out for dinner that weekend. He said it, and I was counting on it.
What was my plan for dinner? It was for him to offer to take us all out for dinner! That was my plan. But because he was asking me what we were having, my plan was being threatened (which I realize is ridiculous). So because I was losing control of my dinner plans, I became angry and attacked his character (which I realize is doubly ridiculous).
He left me fuming in the kitchen, then came back a few minutes later. He put his arms around me and apologized, which helped me apologize, too. And then do you know what that man of mine said? He said, “Honey, it sounds like you’ve had a stressful day. Why don’t we just go out for dinner?”
Can you believe it? See what I mean, when I say God gave me a gracious husband?
On the way to the restaurant, I said sheepishly, “I was hoping you would take us out tonight. Remember, you mentioned it earlier this week? I was actually kind of counting on it. That’s why I got so mad…”
“Why didn’t you just say so?” he asked.
Why I Prefer Hidden Agendas
It’s a fair question. Why was I not forthright about my hopes for the evening? Why didn’t I just say what I wanted plainly?
I think it’s because we Control Girls prefer to keep hidden agendas. If we come right out and ask, we might be told no. If we share all of the information, we might not get what we want. If we reveal our agenda, we might not have quite as much leverage.
Into the Light
For all of these reasons, Control Girls like to keep things hidden. Satan, the Father of Lies, loves it, too. He knows that when I drag my agenda out from its dark little hiding corner, I drain it of its power. Hidden agendas lose their advantage, out in the light.
But the light is where God asks me to live. He invites me to lay down my selfishness and serve other people, rather than protecting my own plans. He wants me to live like Jesus and lay down my life, rather than gripping my plans tighter.
So let me ask: Do you have any hidden agendas? Is there part of the story you’re not telling, to give yourself leverage? Are you manipulating anyone right now by concealing information? Are you currently using relational equity to your advantage in a situation?
If so, why not drag your hidden agenda out into the light. Let it be exposed for what it is: ugly selfishness.
God invites each of us to live in the light: To be open, honest, truth-tellers. This won’t bring us more control. But it will eliminate barriers in our relationships with God and other people.
Take the Quiz to find out! Then come check your answers with the “Control Girl Quiz Series”. This series is meant to get you thinking about your own possible struggles with control. As a follow up, I hope you’ll consider my new book, Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the Bible.
Control Girl to Jesus Girl
Have you checked out the inspiring, real life stories in the “Control Girl to Jesus Girl” series? Come learn from other women who are on the path from Control Girl to Jesus Girl. Learn from their mistakes and take hope for the future.