Control is attempting to exercise influence over circumstances, environments, events, or people to reach a preferred outcome.
Stability, order, and predictability are basic human needs. It is human nature to try to control the parts of life that feel unstable. If we can’t create that sense of stability in one area of life, we may try to regain it by exerting control over something else.
A controlling person believes that he or she can manage life (and others’ lives) better than anyone else—even God. Some root causes of control include misunderstanding God’s nature and character, fears, anxiety, past trauma, pride, selfishness, and idolizing a personal goal or position. Less often, controlling behavior may be a result of mental health issues like obsessive-compulsive or narcissistic personality disorders (these should only be diagnosed by professionals).
The truth is that we have little long-term control over anything. We don’t control when we get sick or die, whether a tornado will hit our house, if markets move up or down, when we lose a loved one, or whether the person we love will respond by loving us in return. The Bible says that we won’t find peace and stability by trying to reorder the world to align with our wills, but by aligning our wills and lives with a good, all-powerful, all-knowing God. He sees us, loves us, has good plans for us, and is in control.
If you wonder whether you struggle with control, honestly answer the following questions:
1. Is it hard for you to relax until things are in order at home or work?
2. Do you feel the need to direct or correct peers, friends, or co-workers?
3. Would you prefer to do an important task yourself rather than delegate it?
4. When a situation seems chaotic, are you the one who steps in to take charge?
5. Do you persistently try to get your way?
6. Is it very difficult for you to have a good attitude and enjoy an experience with others if plans or events don’t go your way?
7. Would others say that you struggle to hear and respond well to constructive criticism?
8. Is it hard for you to see your part in a conflict?
9. Do you rarely admit to yourself or others when you are wrong?
10. Do you feel like others don’t give you enough credit for your efforts?
GOD IS THE ONE IN CONTROL. THOUGH WE MAY HAVE ILLUSIONS OF BEING IN CONTROL, WE ARE NOT.
• “The Lord does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths. He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses.” (Psalm 135:6-7)
• “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.” (Daniel 2:20-22)
GOD KNOWS AND CARES ABOUT THE INTIMATE DETAILS OF OUR LIVES.
God created us entirely out of love and longs to know us deeply. He wants us to experience his best.
• “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:1-3,13-14)
JESUS, OUR EXAMPLE TO FOLLOW, ALWAYS TRUSTED AND DID THE FATHER’S WILL REGARDLESS OF CIRCUMSTANCE,
whether it was waiting to announce he was the Messiah or going to the cross to be crucified.
• “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” (John 6:38)
• “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.” (Philippians 2:8-9)
WE WILL ALWAYS FIND THE GREATEST PEACE AND JOY IN GOD AND IN LIVING HIS PURPOSE FOR OUR LIVES.
You were created for a divine purpose, and nothing short of that will fulfill you.
• “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
• “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
YOU CAN TRUST GOD’S CHARACTER AND PLANS BUT NEED CHRIST’S STRENGTH TO DO HIS WILL.
God’s plans for our lives may not be what we planned, but they are for our good. You will need to depend on Christ to experience all that God has for you.
• “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11)
• “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21)
• “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
• If you answered yes to 4 or more questions in the Control Assessment, be honest with yourself about your need for healing from control (Proverbs 28:13).
• Ask Christ to heal you (Romans 10:13). There is hope for healing in Christ. If you do not yet have a personal relationship with Christ, learn more at
• Explore the root cause of your struggle. Spend time in God’s Word and ask him to reveal what is ruling your heart and mind (Psalm 139:23-24).
• When tempted to take control in any situation, pray. Ask God to remind you that he is in control, he is good, and he cares about you (Proverbs 3:5-6; Romans 8:31-39)
• Find a bible-teaching church, like
and begin to establish relationships with Christians who can help you find healing, freedom, and security through a relationship with Jesus.
• Find a safe place that is Christ-centered, like Restoration Pointe, to address your struggle with control and identify the underlying issues (Galatians 6:2).