People who feel the need to control others often don’t have control over themselves. Can you relate? We need to remember that in relationships with others, the only person we can truly change is ourselves. Write down a list of the things that drive you to fight for the driver’s seat in each relationship. Then reflect on Psalm 9:10. In prayer, surrender those things to God and invite Him to take the driver’s seat as He helps you navigate relationships. Ask Him to guide you towards grace, patience, and understanding.
We may cross paths with others who try to control our behavior through guilt and threats—much like the ones Satan used against Jesus in Matthew 26:39. Still, we see Jesus surrendering control (in his actual life or death situation!) to God the Father, and trusting Him through it all. Maybe you need to take a brave step around a controlling person today and (1) Keep your emotions in check; (2) Clearly communicate where the line is; (3) Choose to love them through it. Whichever it is, remember that you don’t have to go through it alone. Ask God to guide you and ask a trusted friend to celebrate that step with you afterward.
We love the people in our lives—even if they tend to be control freaks. We can definitely love them with the love of Jesus, but we have to remember to clearly define for ourselves what our priorities are. Galatians 1:10 compels us to ask the question: “For am I now seeking the approval of men or of God? Or am I trying to please men? For if I were still trying to please men, I would not be the servant of Christ.” Do you need help remembering that in moments around controlling people? Write the words ‘SEEK FIRST’ on your hand and look at it before you interact with controlling people today. Ask the Lord to help you honor Him and seek Him first during those interactions.
To face controlling people, you must be confident in who you are and what matters most to you. 1 John 3:1 reminds us that we are called children of God. Being ‘called’ is more than just being ‘named.’ It means that we belong to God and are treasured by Him. He cares about our hearts and who we allow to affect it—and in what ways we allow others to affect it. Pray through 1 John 3:1 and ask yourself what matters most to you. Focus on those things today and walk in the Father’s love!
It’s easy to hide or compromise ourselves to win the affection and attention of the controlling people around us. Matthew 16:25-26 reminds us that as Christ followers, we must deny ourselves that false acceptance, take up our cross, and follow Him. What good would it do you to compromise your identity and morals just for a pat on the back from someone who may not have your best interest in mind? It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it to draw some lines in the sand when it comes to the controlling people in your life. Ask God to help you see where lines need to be drawn and to give you strength to put actions in place to move toward that. Then reward your bravery by doing something fun you enjoy this weekend!
TALK IT OVER
- In the message, Dan mentioned his Enneagram number. Does anyone you know your Enneagram number? Would you want to share a little more about it and how it applies to you?
- How do you typically respond to controlling people?
- Is it easy or difficult for you to trust people in authority (boss/supervisor/pastor/ministry leader) who might seem controlling?
- What does it look like for your to clearly communicate where the line is with controlling people in your life?
- What does it look like to choose loving responses to controlling people in your life?
- How can we support you this next week as you take a next step toward setting healthier boundaries with the controlling people in your life?