Connect with us

Articles

Losing Control for Good

Published

on

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone

The first time my inner control freak became an issue in my marriage wasn’t long after my husband Mark and I said our "I do’s."

We sat in the airport way too early in the morning awaiting the plane to take us on our honeymoon. Before we left, my mother had told me to call when we got there. Granted, she would say that if we were going across town, but we were going to Mexico, so I completely understood.

Mark didn’t. He was used to being on his own and doing his own thing. As a result, a minor tiff and major pouting session (on my part) ensued.

"It’s common courtesy to let someone know you arrived safely," I argued. My inner control freak was not going to give in. I was determined to call.

I did phone when we got there, but in compromise, I didn’t give my parents the phone number.

Post one (OK, one-half) for the control freak.

What I didn’t realize in my small victory is that being a control freak is not a virtue. Wikipedia says:

In some cases, the control freak sees their constant intervention as beneficial or even necessary; this can be caused by feelings of superiority, believing that others are incapable of handling matters properly, or the fear that things will go wrong if they don’t attend to every detail.

I used to fall into the latter part of that explanation. I lived by the creed, "If you want something done right, then you have to do it yourself." I was good at micromanaging and terrible at delegating. In school I would do all the work on group projects, because I didn’t want to sacrifice my grade. I expected everyone around me to perform at my perfectionist level, with little or no grace for people who didn’t measure up.

But during the last few years I have had to learn some hard lessons about letting go of issues over which I have little or no control. My husband Mark wanted to move to another state. The birth of our daughter caused internal injuries requiring 18 months of surgery and disability (and I won’t even go into the "loss of control" I have felt raising her!). Mark started a new business last year and finances have been tight. And then there is the seemingly never-ending adoption process as I watch my daughters grow up without me.

About 18 months ago, I took part in a women’s study called "Changes That Heal,” based on the book of the same name by Dr. Henry Cloud. During that class, the primary thing I learned is I am not responsible for other people’s feelings or actions. That was a major breakthrough for me. The only person I can control is me.

And that’s OK.

Self-control is an important behavior in the Bible. I say behavior, because it is an act of one’s own will, like love. It’s an action. It’s a discipline. It’s a responsibility.

In an act of self-control we are to put on faith. Faith replaces fear and anxiety. What an "a-ha!" moment I recently had as I pondered Peter’s words in 1 Peter 5:7-9:

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

I had been a control freak because I was fearful and anxious! I didn’t trust that my husband could take care of me. I didn’t trust others to meet the standard. I didn’t trust that God—the same One who made all of creation in six days—could take care of my little situations. What an arrogant thought that is!

In the battle to release my inner control freak, I’ve come to realize there are three things that are crucial to controlling my own attitudes and actions:

Stay in the Word. I gain strength and comfort through reading Scripture. I always am struck by the number of times God tells us to not fear. In Deuteronomy 31:8, God tells Joshua via Moses, "The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." That is God’s word to me, as well.

Pray. I constantly have to ask God to increase my faith. I feel like the father in Matthew 9 who brought his demon-possessed son to Jesus. The Lord tells the man, "Everything is possible for him who believes." The man exclaims, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" (verse 24).

I recently read a passage in Streams in the Desert, which struck me to the core. It’s about a steamboat captain and George Mueller. Mueller said he had to be in Quebec on Saturday, and the Captain replied it was impossible due to the dense fog. Mueller suggested prayer, stating, "My eye is not on the dense fog but on the living God, who controls every circumstance in my life."

Mueller prayed a simple prayer. Then as the Captain started to pray, Mueller prevented him, stating, "First, you do not believe God will answer, and second I believe He has. Consequently, there is no need whatsoever for you to pray about it." They opened the Captain’s cabin door to find the fog had lifted. And Mueller was able to make his meeting.

I pray for faith like that. I pray for trust in the God who controls every circumstance in my life.

Surround myself with support. "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another" (Hebrews 10:25). I need to be around people who encourage me and have faith at work in their lives. Control issues and bad attitudes are contagious.

My friend Ann has incredible faith. She tells a story of not having anything to feed her family. After prayer, she found her freezer full. This same friend also has the spirit of discernment and will tell me when she senses fear rising up in me.

Admittedly, although I think I’ve made good strides, my "inner control freak" still surfaces occasionally. Looking back, it happens in situations when I have allowed myself to become anxious and fearful. I have to work on communicating to Mark when I feel threatened or neglected. I have to delegate my publicity duties within my Mothers of Preschoolers group. I need to let my daughter be a kid and not worry about the mess. I need to give the adoption process to the Lord. But with God’s help I’ll be able to remove focus from the dense fog of anxiety and fear in my life, and keep it on the living God who is in control.

And I’ll no longer be racking up points for battles won in my own strength.

Jodie Susanne Eyberg lives in Colorado Springs where she is wife to Mark and stay-at-home mom to Charis, awaiting the adoption of two girls from Haiti. You can read her journal of the adoption, family life, and other musings at A Heart in Two Worlds.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone

Jodie Susanne Eyberg lives in Colorado Springs where she is wife to Mark and stay-at-home mom to Charis, Esther, and Zoe. You can read her journal of their adoption, family life, and other musings at A Heart in Two Worlds.

Click to comment

Articles

When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds

If your compassion far exceeds your capacity, here’s one way you can be sure to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.

Published

on

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone

One of my life verses is Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

It is one of my favorite verses because my heart has been so moved by the love Jesus has for me and the sacrifice He made for me that I am grateful to have a way to express my gratitude through acts of justice and mercy while walking humbly with God.

I have found at times, however, the call to do justice and love mercy come in conflict with the call to walk humbly with God. For me, one of the ways to walk humbly with God is to recognize my limitations. I have to put skin to the fact that I am not God which means saying, “no” to ministry requests. It means going to sleep when I could be spending time advocating for the harrowed and helpless in the world. It means limited seats at my table, limited funds in my bank account, and limited energy in my body cannot be ignored but respected and adhered to.

This is hard for me at times, especially when I scroll my Facebook feed and see friends who are caring for their really sick children, spouse, or other family member all while millions of refugees flee war torn countries and babies are slaughtered by the hundreds each day in our country through the abortion industry.

As I scroll, I receive texts about one family member’s surgery gone wrong and another family member announcing a new baby is on the way. I have in mind my neighbor who has inpatient surgery scheduled this week and another neighbor who is trying to hold down a full-time job, care for twins all while battling profound “morning” sickness.

Folks at church are fighting for their lives in physical and spiritual ways, and strangers who pass me on the road are clearly battling something as demonstrated by their impatient honking because I won’t take a right turn on red. I want to meet the needs of all; I want to do justice and love mercy, but I’m daily confronted by the fact that I am so limited.

What am I to do when doing justly and/or loving mercy seem to come in conflict with walking humbly with my God?

God keeps bringing me to this answer: prayer.

God invites us to cast our cares before Him because He cares for us.
God tells us to be anxious for nothing BUT WITH PRAYER present our requests before Him.
God commands us to pray without ceasing.

And, when I walk humbly with God, I see the immense kindness in His command.
He gives us a way to do justly, love mercy WHILE walking humbly with Him.
It is by praying without ceasing.

I cannot take a meal or give money to every sick person or family I know. I cannot extend kindness to all my neighbors all at the same time they’re in need nor conjure up sustainable solutions for the refugee crisis and contact all the necessary world powers to make it happen.

I cannot heal all, but I know the Healer.

I cannot provide for all the needs, but I know the Provider.

I cannot rescue everyone in need, but I know the Rescuer.

I cannot comfort all the broken, but I know the Comforter.

I cannot speak peace over every situation, but I know the Prince of Peace.

I cannot be all to all, but I can go to the Great I Am through prayer, lay all the people, problems and pleas for help before the Omniscient and Omnipresent God of all Creation.

I can do this through prayer.

Recently, via an Instagram contest of all things, I came upon A–Z prayer cards designed by blogger/author/speaker, Amelia Rhodes. It is a simple concept packed with a powerful prayer punch. It has served me personally in this tension of wanting to do far more than I practically can do. It provides prayer prompts starting with each letter of the alphabet along with a scripture that coincides with the prayer focus. It ranges from Adoption to a creative “Zero Prejudice” for the letter “Z.”

The cards are well thought out, color printed on sturdy cardstock with blank lines for the user to write in the names of people and/or organizations that are personal to them.

If, like me, your compassion far exceeds your capacity, pick up a set of these prayer cards and unload your burdens onto a God whose competence matches His kindness, both boundless.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone
Continue Reading

Articles

Facing Our Fears in Motherhood

Do you have fears tied to motherhood? If so, here’s encouragement for you.

Published

on

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone

“Are you scared?”

I was taken aback by his question. Scared? Of what?

“Of anything,” he answered.

I had just shared my due date with a new class of trainees.

“He has three boys,” another new hire volunteered. So fear is to be expected, I reasoned. I’m just about to face the most frightening experience in my life.

Of course I was scared.

I was scared…

  • I’ll lose my temper.
  • I’ll whine about sleepless nights.
  • I’ll breastfeed too often or not often enough.
  • I’ll leave piles of unfolded onesies in the middle of the nursery floor because I’m too tired (or lazy?) to fold teeny-tiny baby clothes for the upteenth time.
  • I’ll go with disposable diapers when the better choice would be cloth.
  • I’ll work too many long hours at the office and miss precious moments with her.
  • I’ll sign her up for too many activities and push her to become Miss Achieve-It-All.
  • I’ll pass on to her my ugly pride, self-righteousness, and perfectionism like a dreadful contagious disease.
  • I’ll miss countless little joys in life while pursuing worthless dreams.

Facing Our Fears in MotherhoodIn short… I was afraid I was going to fail miserably as a parent.

And now, holding my second-born daughter in my arms, thinking back on that brief exchange just a few years ago, I realize those fears were well-founded. I’ve failed many times. I’ve lost my temper. I’ve raised my voice. I’ve worked too much and played too little. I’ve seen my own sinfulness reflected in my daughter.

Yes, I’ve failed, but over and above it all, God’s grace has covered my parenting imperfections and made me run to the cross day after day. The writer of Proverbs puts it this way:

Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

When it comes to fears, we have two choices: Will we fear the unknown or will we fear the Lord? Will we allow the uncertain to grip us in its clutch or will we turn to God’s Truth to set us free?

Scared? Oh yeah. There was so much to be scared of that day. And even now, if I’m completely honest, there are still fears nibbling at the edges of my consciousness. Fear that we won’t outgrow the temper tantrums. Fear that the two girls won’t get along. Fear that I’ll mess them up and cause them interminable hours on a psychologist’s couch.

I’m sure you have fears, too.

But rather than allow those fears to consume and paralyze us, we can take them to the Lord, acknowledging His sovereignty over our parenting, pleading His grace over our mistakes, and entrusting His provision over their futures. He is not only able to handle it all — He is far more capable to be trusted with it all.

If I say one thing to that frightened 9-month-pregnant me standing in that room years ago, I would say this: Don’t let fear rob today’s joy with tomorrow’s unknowns. Each day has enough worries of its own (Matthew 6:34).

Instead, let us keep seeking God, running to Him as our secure fortress and resting in the knowledge that He will care for us and our children one day at a time.

What are you scared of today? Name your fears and bring them to the Lord, allowing Him to replace them with His peace that passes all understanding.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone
Continue Reading

Articles

He Gives Shade To The Weary

If anxiety is a struggle for you right now, remember that He gives shade to the weary.

Published

on

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone

Do you ever have those moments of fear because you don’t know what lies ahead? When do those thoughts tend to happen to you?

For me, most of those thoughts happen when I lay my head down to sleep at night. The vulnerability comes forth every time. That’s what happened the other night to me. I shut my eyes and immediately anxiety welled up inside me.

What if we don’t succeed in this new venture? What if we have to move? What if we can’t pay our bills?

I laid there with the covers drawn tight over my head (I still think that I am safer if the covers are over my head), praying scripture over my anxious heart. Assuring myself that God sees me and that He cares.

In the morning, I turned to Isaiah 41, specifically verses 10-20.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10, NASB)

Yesterday, the “what if’s” piled up as I anxiously looked about me. My daughter needs tutoring, however at this point in life, tutoring feels like a luxury we can’t afford. So I listed some items online to sell hoping to make just enough to cover the tutoring. I’m buying groceries on a Visa reward card. I’m holding my breath until the next paycheck comes. But what did God speak over me: Do not fear. Do not look anxiously about you.

“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you,” declares the Lord, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:13-14 NASB)

Why shouldn’t I be anxious? Because God will hold me up. God will help me. When I first read the word “worm” as a description, I took it as a slam against Israel. Like, gesh, God. What animal does He relate me to? But through further study, He calls them a worm because worms are helpless. They are viewed as insignificant, despised and weak. God will help me — seemingly insignificant, helpless me — because He is my Redeemer. He is my go’el — my next of kin. The Redeemer is the one who provides for all my needs. Rent. Car payment. Credit card bill. Gas. Food. Clothes. Debt. God will redeem.

He Gives Shade to the Weary

“Behold, I have made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges; You will thresh the mountains and pulverize them, And will make the hills like chaff. You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, And the storm will scatter them; But you will rejoice in the Lord, You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:15-16 NASB).

God is transforming me from a helpless one to a powerful one. The description of that type of threshing sledge is like a modern day earth mover. Powerful. Strong. Immovable.

“The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, And their tongue is parched with thirst; I, the Lord, will answer them Myself, As the God of Israel I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 41:17, NASB)

He will come to our rescue. God, Himself, will answer you and me. Can you hear how personal that sounds? Have you ever pleaded with someone important whether your boss, public figure, or even a parent, and they responded to the need themselves? You expected for them to send their assistant, but instead they — the most important one — responded to you.

“I will open rivers on the bare heights And springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water And the dry land fountains of water. I will put the cedar in the wilderness, The acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert Together with the box tree and the cypress.” (Isaiah 41:18-19, NASB)

This passage describes the wilderness-like times in life. You are barren. You are thirsty. You are hot. You are in need. God will provide what you need. God will quench your thirst. He will provide shade when you are weary. During those times, God can provide in creative, innovative ways. He can provide something out of nothing. Doesn’t that give you great hope? Even when you can’t answer how He will do it, He is creative enough to figure it out even when the odds are stacked against you.

“That they may see and recognize, And consider and gain insight as well, That the hand of the Lord has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (Isaiah 41:20 NASB).

God will do all of this so that His glory will be put on display. People — including yourself — will see that He is powerful.

So you can see how after a night of wrestling with fear and anxiety, reading this was like shade and water for my soul. God is a god who sees. And God is a god who acts on your behalf.

What do you need His help with today? What are you fearful about today? What keeps you awake at night? Where do you need some shade?

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone
Continue Reading

Become An Insider!

Enter your email address below to stay in the loop on the latest from Ungrind.

Welcome to Ungrind!



Hi, I'm Ashleigh Slater, founder and editor of Ungrind. Here at Ungrind, it’s our goal to churn out biblically-based encouragement for women. We strive to be honest and transparent about our struggles in a way that inspires hope, faith, and perseverance.

As you read, we hope you consider us friends, the kind you feel comfortable sitting across the table with at the local coffee shop. You can read more about me HERE and our team of writers HERE.

Latest Articles

What Women Are Saying

"I am all about sites who encourage women. There's too much going on in the daily grind that it's nice when someone recognizes. No matter if you're a single or married woman, in your 20's or 40's, Ungrind will encourage you where you're at. "

-- Renee Fisher, author of Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me
COL_TeamUs_BannerAd

Five-Minute-Friday---4

familydevotional

Disclosure

We are a member of the Amazon affiliate program and regularly use affiliate links. If you purchase an item from an Amazon link we provide, we will receive a small referral commission. This doesn’t cost you anything additional. We only share books, music, and products that our writers personally have used and highly recommend.

Trending

Losing Control for Good

by Jodie Eyberg time to read: 5 min
0