This morning I read a great passage from Beth Moore's new book, So Long, Insecurity. Be prepared to spend a little bit of time reading this post because it is just that good. At the end of the post I've shared some pictures from our fun-filled Easter weekend. Blessings to you all!
People who are chronically insecure often have an overwhelming tendency to become control freaks. Upon serious consideration, that inclination makes perfect sense. We feel most secure when our environment is in control, and since no one is able to control it to our satisfaction, we decide we have to do it ourselves. If someone would do it and do it right, we wouldn't have to take over, so it's not really our fault, we reason. It's our responsibility.
There has never been a soul on earth I wanted to control more than Keith Moore. He wouldn't mind me telling you that he has a rebellious root so deep that to pull it up could cause a tremor all over the state of Texas. I've nearly thrown my back out trying.
Honestly, I just wanted him to be happy, and he seemed to have such unnecessary ups and downs. (Does that sound familiar?) I knew what worked for me, and I wanted it to work for him. (Also sound familiar?) The way I saw it, the man had so much potential if he would just do things God's way. But since he wasn't really listening to God, maybe my way was close enough. (Is this getting on your nerves like it's getting on mine?) If he would just have a regular prayer time or memorize a few Scriptures or listen to Christian music or be more jovial or more compliant or less free with his opinions but more talkative about his feelings or more selective about what he watched and more careful about what he ate, he'd be so much happier. Clearly, I needed to take control of the situation and try to shove Keith to his happy place.
I bought men's devotional and inspirational books, but he used them for a coaster for his Route 44 cherry limeades from Sonic. I got him so many great CDs that you can hardly get the glove compartment open in his car to put one in his player. I got audiobooks by the actual authors, and he has taken such good care of them that they're still in the cellophane. I purchased enough vitamins and supplements to keep a whole football team healthy, but the bottles still have the safety seals on them. When he complained that he was looking older, I bought him a skin regimen complete with toner and lip balm. At least I know it's there in the bathroom drawer when I run out of my own.
I'm much better about it now than I used to be. Now I vacillate somewhere between giving up altogether and giving it one more tiny little try. I live in neither place, but this much has become remarkably clear: we cannot control people. Goodness knows I wish we could, but we can't. It doesn't work. It will never work. And here's the worst part: the insecurity that drove the desire in the first place only deepens with each failure. Our attempts to control can take us all sorts of places we never meant to travel. Sometimes we impose ourselves on our controllee, but other times we're invited there. Even dragged there. When was the last time somebody put you in charge of his or her problem? Ever been in charge of an alcoholic's liquor cabinet?
The tricky part is that God blatantly instructs us in Scripture to help one another, so how do we know when help has morphed into a quest for control? The first clue is when the helper is the one doing all the work. Simultaneously, the one being helped lazily lapses into the mentality of a victim of his or her own weakness and all the while gets to be the center of a strong person's attentions. What a deal. It took me forty years in the wilderness to realized that at the end of the day, people do what they want to do. You can't make them do something else. You can't force them. You can't change them. You can't deliver them. Only God can. And that's why He's omnipotent and we're not.
We are not in charge. Somewhere along the way, we each have to acknowledge that our loved one is a separate person from us - someone God loves, pursues, and when necessary, chastises. When we try to do God's job, we get in God's way. We are called to cherish, support, and pray for others, but tying our security to them is a lost cause. That knot we keep tightening is no more fair to them than it is to us. Hand that rope over to God. Let Him undo that tangled-up mess and retie your security to Himself. He's the One with all the power.
Friends, that message speaks volumes to me and I hope you all benefited from it as well. Beth is doing a live simulcast on So Long, Insecurity on Saturday, April 24th. To find a church near you, click here. As promised, here are the pictures from our Easter weekend in Dothan. Enjoy!
Till next time, let your light shine!