While discussing the political instability going on throughout the Arab world, Brad and Wayne end up in a discussion about the nature of freedom and the propensity that we have as humans to gain enough power that we are able impose their will on others. It is true not only of governments but interpersonal relationships where we think getting others to do what we want is critical to our own well-being. However, the desire to get others to agree with us, even for their own good, is the opposite of what it means to live in love and freedom. Any attempt to force your way with others or manipulate them to do what you think best destroys relationship. That's what God knew when he sent his Son into the world to invite us into his life.
Orphanage Relocation in Kenya
Hey guys! Amazing how Father brings this podcast this week to address some very specific things transpiring in my life. Just wanted to let you know how much listening in on this conversation has helped. I am currently dealing with huge control issues in my family, some of my dynamics are remarkably similar to what Sarah went through. I know that Jesus will work things out in wonderfully unique ways to fit my unique situation so I’m not looking to copy either of you or Sarah. The help comes in a) I’m not the only one seeing these things and thinking this way b)other people have gone through similar pain and the same Jesus that walked with them is the same One who will walk with me.
This cast gave a great vision on how God loves us and chooses to parent.
I have lived and loved my husbands family for over 20 years, they live with fear and control as their main communication tools. We have two wonderful teenage children. They have seen over the past few years how this doesn’t work, and have expressed their concerns about the lack of love and trust that is apparent. Thanking Father for showering us with His love and showing us how to love one another.
I’m a recovering control freak, and yet I can also relate to Wayne’s description of how Sarah used to always conform herself to the people around her. I did that with people I viewed as authority figures or even people who were “more cool” than me, and I would adapt to them. Then there were other people who I felt I should be able to control. What a wierd existance.
And yes, the desire to control is completely based on fear, and coming out of it can be terrifying.
There were moments I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride and just had to close my eyes and hang on for dear life. And looking back, it was over such small stuff!!! But it terrified me not to be in control. I’m still on the journey, but it’s definitely a more peaceful , joyful existance when you don’t feel like you’re in charge of making sure everybody does everything right.
One aspect of this control thing that I wish that Brad and Wayne would hash out is the dynamics of control in the context of family relationships, especially when it comes to children.
God has done amazing things in helping me to relax in my parenting and recognize my fearful tendencies that manifest themselves in restrictions on my kids. Still plenty of work to do there yet. But what puzzles me still is how I respond when I think that I see my wife doing this same thing with the kids. It is one thing for me to deal with attempts to control me– I can choose to not respond to them. But when it is directed at my kids, they are in a quandary as they are not given a real choice. It is “do it my way, period.” Any attempt by one of the kids to buck that control is treated as blatant disrespect, rudeness, spite etc… with the accompanying emotions triggered. I cannot stand to watch this kind of thing and try to mediate, but often my attempts at what I call mediation are interpreted by my wife as undercutting her authority or making her look like the mean parent. That may have to do with my clumsy efforts. Still, I wonder how to approach this situation. I agree with the idea on the podcasts that we need to allow God to work in others’ hearts in his time and pace. On the other hand, do I simply allow the controlling behavior to continue unimpeded? As I write this, I know that there is no easy answer or method. I suppose it is a dialogue that I need to be having with my wife, but it is a very sensitive subject and I am, of course, such a coward when it comes to speaking the truth with love.
This has been a rough podcast to hear. My wife & highschool sweetheart is currently divorcing me. She has many reasons for doing this—some more valid than others, but the one that rings true is that “she feels ashamed to be herself around me.” I now that for so many years I have tried to manipulate her into being someone that would help me feel secure. The techniques I used were mostly various forms of condemnation. What a fool I’ve been. I only wish I would’ve seen it sooner, so that I could try to stand back and let her be who she is so that she could sincerely choose Christ on her own, and maybe she’d choose me too.
Kiel, I’m sorry for the pain of your discovery! Your words hold incredible power and may help some others before it is too late for them. I also love what your wife said. What a powerful realization for both of you, and who knows but that when you let go, God might be able to reconnect you too again. I know it looks hopeless today. Apologies without agenda can go a long ways to open doors. I pray this is only the middle of a chapter and not the end of the story. Thanks for sharing so honestly!
Thanks for the response Wayne. One thing that you were saying in the podcast was how you really believed you were doing the right thing when you were attempting to control others in the past. That’s how it was with me. I really wasn’t aware of any other way. Everyone around me was lovingly telling me how right I was, and how wrong she was for the hurtful things she’d done during our marriage (and they were truly hurtful things). That made it so hard for me to consider her on the same level as myself sin-wise. It dehumanized her, in fact.
Dallas Willard talks about our natural response when offended is to either assault or withdraw from the person who hurts us. While I was not consistently encouraged to assault my wife, 99% of the time I was taught to withdraw from her. What a huge difference it is to learn to continue to loving your “enemy” or even your best friend, when they’ve decided to discard you.
Thanks for continuing the podcast.
I posted this over on your blog, but thought it might be of use here, in case anyone might be going through the same ordeal:
What do you do when you change – and generally abide by the motto of not imposing your new path on others – but your spouse is seeking to impose her path [the original one you set about when you believed in organized/traditional religion] on you?
I have changed a LOT in the past year or two, to a point now where I recognized many inconsistencies in my former religious life and where Christ really wants me. As such, many of my beliefs and ideas and morphing, changing and quite unlike what I originally believed when I got married to my wife nearly 10 years ago.
My wife sees this change, is appalled by it and is drawn even closer to our organized religious life. As she repels from me, and is drawn closer to organized life – to the point where she’s scheduling meetings for me to meet with our pastor in hopes that he will correct my “weird beliefs” – and is seeking to conform my behavior to what she wants it to be. I totally understand and am on board with what you say when you write:
“Read Romans 14 and the first part of 15 in the Message about enjoying your journey but not imposing it on others. If she sees the journey you’re on as an added pressure for her to conform, it won’t be helpful.”
I’m not anti-institution or anti-religion, at all. In fact, I’ve attended our Sunday services every week during my journey but for occasional bouts with sickness or travel, all in hopes of supporting my wife and our children even though I’m changing. I’m totally OK with my wife maintaining what works for her, but she’s not OK with me changing… to the point where she’s threatened to move out with the kids in order to “protect them” from my views. And, to be fair to this conversation, I sometimes go out of my way not to say anything to provoke her. I know where we disagree, and frequently I avoid those conversations or provocations when she tries to say something that she knows will bother me.
In listening to your “Control Freaks” I found myself wishing you would have said something to those of us who are suffering at the hand of some control freaks who want to control us, especially when it’s a spouse. You mentioned that sometimes you just have to say, “I love you, but I don’t have the freedom to do that,” but I’m not sure how that would work in a marriage where you’re living under the same roof and spiritual beliefs are going two entirely opposite directions.
I cringe at how often I play it safe, withdraw and withhold love, criticize, ridicule, offer unsolicited counsel and summary of their problem; all in an attempt to maintain the illusion of control.