Quiz Question 3: Does that other Control Girl irritate you?
Is there another Control Girl (or guy) in your life who deeply frustrates you? Are you more bothered by this person more than others are? Do you react in a passive aggressive manner when a controlling person gives you no choice or violates your “turf”?
When I speak on the topic of control, the most common question I’m asked is, “But what about that other controlling woman in my life? What should I do about her?” And oh, how I understand this question.
Other Control Girls drive me nuts. The way they toss manipulative, condescending, or critical comments into conversation frustrates me to no end. When they leverage a relationship to get what they want, or insist on having their way—either overtly or by using some subtle tactic—I am completely frustrated.
But I also have come to see how telling my reactions are: The more bothered I am by a controlling woman, the more likely I am a controlling woman.
Bothered by Her
True story. I was invited to be on a committee years back, and 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 “Diana”. When I shared an idea, Diana had a better one. When I offered information, Diana countered with better, more detailed information. When I tried to talk, Diana 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 Diana 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 carpool friend doesn’t struggle with control like I do. 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 Diana 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. Why should she get control? I feel like it’s up to me to confront and help her see why she’s wrong. When it’s another Christian taking control, I almost feel responsible for stopping her from going through life thinking she can control everything. (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 become passive-aggressive, 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.
Whenever I’m trying to stop someone from being a Control Girl, I become one myself.
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—perhaps 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 nothing else in life, God uses other Control Girls to train me in the art of surrender. Every time I face that other controlling woman, 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?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? Click To Tweet
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.
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Join me for a study of seven Control Girls of the Bible, who struggled with control in the same way we do: they pushed for their own agendas, tried to make everything turn out according to their plans, and made everybody miserable in the process. By comparing their stories with ours, we learn—in hundreds of ways and examples—that God is in control and we aren’t. And He invites us to live like it’s true.