This challenge goes out to women who…

  • Love to make things turn out right
  • Often feel driven to take or keep control
  • Struggle to tame the tongue, especially when they’re angry or fretting

If any or all of the above describe you, please consider joining me in four week challenge called the…

Five C {Freedom} Challenge.

Through the end of July, our commitment and prayer will be: “Lord, today I will not use words to Criticize, Compare, Condemn, Correct, or Control.”


Words are one of the primary ways that we women try to control the people we love. We know just how to raise our voices, ask repeated questions, use an inflammatory tone. We know just the right details to share with whom. We know just the right facial expression, sigh, or body language that will get the greatest results.

And what results are we looking for? Control. We use words like an electric fence–zapping the people we love and keeping them on the straight path, which leads to the happy ending we have all worked out for them. And now that it’s possible to send words out electronically, we have an extra zaps of power at our disposal, which we can send out to any location at any moment.

Though we can master the art of using words to control, we cannot ultimately control outcomes. A wife can’t use critical words to make her husbands shape up. A mom can’t use comparison to cause a lagging child to keep up. A mother-in-laws can’t use condemning words to force her daughter-in-laws to conform.

Sure, her words have an effect. But not the one she intends. By using these critical, comparing, condemning, correcting words in an effort to gain control, a woman only frustrates, demoralizes, and irritates the people she loves. They become defensive and pull away for her, and as a result she has less influence; not more.

A New Rudder

If you’ve read or are reading Control Girl, you know that my hope is for women to turn and join me on a path of transformation from Control Girl to Jesus Girl. It’s a path of surrender, where we say as Jesus did, “Not my will, but Yours be done.”

But I always caution women that this new path isn’t easy or downhill. Taking control is the intuitive thing. Surrendering to God is an uphill, gritty process of learning to say no to ourselves and yes to God. Yet it leads to the peace, security, and hope we’re all ultimately longing for when we take control.

So how do we turn in this new direction? What tangible steps can we take? I’d like to suggest we start with our words. James compares our tongues to a rudder and a bridle. James 3:4-5 says,

Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.”

So how are our tongues like rudders? Here’s how: Words are direction-setting.

Heart Training

Think of it this way. Suppose there’s something I really want to say, but know I shouldn’t. When I choose to surrender to God and stay quiet, this has an effect on my heart. Rather than caving in to myself, I’ve just given God control. This is a complete shift in direction.

Now suppose there are fifty-three times, over the next 24 hours, that I don’t say some controlling thing I’d really like to say? This has a cumulative effect! Each time I bite my tongue, I’m training my heart in the art of surrender. I’m learning to give God control rather than take control, myself. The more I surrender, the more I posture my heart to surrender the next time.

So, let’s use our tongues like rudders over the next four weeks. Rather than continuing to struggle under this burden of control, let’s turn ourselves in the direction of freedom. Do you want to be free of this ugly Control Girl habit of using words to get control? Me, too.

The 5 C Freedom Challenge begins now through the end of July. Want to take the challenge? Just “like” or leave a comment on the blog or social media. I’ll be doing some giveaways and sharing an encouraging post each week. Will you invite some friends to join us? Just forward this post and ask, “Who’s in?”

Let’s do this together!

*Thanks to my friend, Hilma Conklin for inspiring the idea of the 5 C Challenge!

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