July 2012 – For Those Who Are Control Freaks (and don’t want to be)
Control: To exercise restraint or direction over… dominate; command… the situation of being under the regulation, domination or command of another… to eliminate or prevent the flourishing or spread of. 1
Freak: A person, animal or plant that is abnormal or deformed; monstrosity… a person who is obsessed with something. 2
Control Freak: A person who is obsessed with dominating or commanding others to the point where they stifle the ability of the other to flourish or grow on their own.
We’ve all been on the business end of the barrel of someone who’s a control freak. Not fun. Violate their “list of rules of what it takes to please me” or push the wrong hot-button, and watch them go postal, manipulative, or into strict-and-stern mode. They’ll even get religious, quoting Scripture to bend you to their will.
The Pharisees are a picture of control freaks gone wild. They had an insane list of anal twaddle of what the church had to do to get it right. To say that the Pharisees were obsessed with dominating others is an understatement.
Then along comes Jesus, who calls them snakes and hypocrites, trashes their list, and says they’re teaching others to be “twice a son of hell as yourself” (Matthew 23:15). The Pharisees’ response?
They killed Him. Control freaks don’t take it well when they’re called out.
Those who meddle in porn have control freak coursing through their veins. Porn use is an attempt to have the perfect woman who never complains, gets tired, or doesn’t want sex. The user has complete control over the act of masturbating to pictures… or is it that sexual sin has control over him?
Let’s look under the hood of a CF (control freak) and see what’s there:
If you don’t obey a CF on one of their list-points, step back. You’ve just challenged the house of cards that they’ve so meticulously built their life on. It doesn’t go well when a control freak has his self-ordained order of how and when he thinks life should work is put to the test, mainly because of their…
CFs elevate themselves to God-status. They are judge and jury, and their judgment is always right. To violate their list is as if someone has come against God almighty, and since God’s judgment isn’t as quick as the CF would like, they step in and take over.
Now we’re getting a little closer to their core. CFs are terrified of losing control. Losing control means different things to different people. For some it means that another control freak might take advantage of and/or dominate them, which could mean a replay of an unpleasant past event. Others think the only way to protect their loved ones from hurt is to control them. Others are afraid that someone (such as God) might tell them to do something they don’t want to do. The CFs who are abusers must keep all the persons under their command in line; their slaves must not expose how abusive they are to others.
Some became a CF to survive: A trusted loved one abused, violated, or hurt them, perhaps when they were young. They’re deeply wounded, frightened, and lost as to how to heal. They cope by putting a wall up and vowing they will never again trust another with their heart, but… in order to keep their heart safe, they believe, they must control others so no one can cross the boundary line of their heart. Their pain is now entwined with pride, rage, and fear.
CFs are miserable people. There’s little joy in their life unless everything’s neat, tidy and in order, with all the loose ends tied off. Their relationship with God is a religious phsod; they may know lots of Bible, but it hasn’t reached their heart. Their marriages and families are strife-filled places where hurt feelings and anger abound.
I should say that there may be some valid elements to the list of a CF; even Biblical ones. The problem isn’t always the list, but that they shove it down their loved ones’ throats. They’re all about the letter of the law, but totally miss the Spirit of the law… i.e. “speak the truth in love,” “Husbands love your wives,” and modeling 1st Corinthians 13 love and acceptance. Those who have the dual blessing of being a father and husband dominate it, instead of “managing their household with all dignity” (1st Timothy 3:4).
So how does one move into living a life that’s free from the need to control others?
Here’s a series of questions and direction to work and pray through:
The path to freedom starts by examining fear.
What are you afraid of?
What would happen if what you fear happened to you?
What are the chances of what you fear happening to you?
Is God big enough to provide a way through?
Faith is the polar opposite of fear. What is it that you truly believe?
What truth in God’s word is your fear blocking you from receiving?
Next, look at your anger.
What are the situations that set you off?
Why do you get so angry when someone doesn’t do what you want them to? Is your response in line with what happened?
Who are you really angry at? Someone who hurt you in the past? God? Yourself? Hard circumstances that you haven’t come to terms with? Or maybe something in yourself that you don’t like?
Is anger a stronghold in your life that has set in and hardened because of years of yielding to it? (Strongholds have to be torn down by confession, the help of the Holy Spirit, the word of God, and prayer.)
Is there someone you need forgive?
Ask for forgiveness from those who you’ve wounded with your anger.
Look at your illusions of control.
Do you really control the people around you, or are you just bullying them?
Does that nice, quiet house in the suburbs, or whether your job is going okay, really mean that your life is tidy and safe?
Does having all of your ducks in a row really mean happiness? Or can you find peace if your life is a mess? What’s Biblical?
Who’s in control of your life? Have you truly surrendered it to God, or do you have purple knuckes from gripping the wheel so hard?
Did you build your list to create the illusion of control, or to please God?
Look at your list. If there’s anything on it that can’t be justified by Scripture or that violates “the letter of the law,” cross it off, and humble yourself before your family.
Face your pride.
How have you exalted yourself above others?
Do you really have a servants heart, especially with your loved ones, or do you attempt to control them? Do you manage your family, or dominate it?
Do you use Scripture as a baseball bat, or a teaching tool meant to point others to Christ?
Do you lead by example, or do you expect others to tow the line and then blast them when they violate the smallest rule of your list? (Do as I say, not as I do).
Face the pain.
If you have been wounded and have never dealt with it, now is the time to let God heal you. Quit pretending there isn’t a problem in your internal world. Start processing what happened with a trusted friend, and pray and journal it through with the Lord. Grieve if you need to. Share what happened with others who you’ve hurt by your actions and ask for their forgiveness for your false coping mechanism.
Forgive everyone you need to.
Ask forgiveness from those you’ve hurt; this has a wonderful way of lancing pride.
Renounce and resolve to stop all judging of others. As soon as a thought of judgment hits, let it go, and pray for mercy that you may be merciful.
Quit pontificating. Your loved ones want you, not a would-be prophet. Speak the truth in love.
Focus on your weaknesses and let the Lord be the judge of others. Strive to accept them with their faults just as He accepts and forgives you for yours.
Let your loved ones make mistakes so they can learn by them. This will be especially hard for some because there may be a loved one who needs a lot of pain before they smack a hard bottom. Even so, release them to God.
Now comes the part we all struggle with, After all, aren’t we all control freaks at some level?
Let God have everything—your family, how much time you will have on earth, your finances, your problems, and especially, how you spend your time. Start every morning by asking Him to make clear what He wants you to do.
Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.
No CF can sing “I surrender all” at church and mean it. To break free is to truly surrender all to God, and then follow Him. It’s all His anyway.
So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.
Accept the love of God.
To break free from the bondage of control freakage takes a revelation of the love of God.
Those who fear will have no more reason to do so, as “perfect love casts out fear” (1st John 4:18).
Those who’ve had their hearts filled to overflowing with God’s love have no desire to dominate or control others, as it will hurt them.
Those who’ve seen the suffering savior and have been pierced with the greatness of His free gift of love have little want to exalt themselves.
Those who have been head Christians now come alive with heart-filled grace and love.
And, especially, when Jesus heals the hurting with a touch of His kindness, it sets them free from all that has tormented them.
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.
1st Peter 4:8
1. control. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved July 11, 2012, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/control
2. freak. (n.d.). Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. Retrieved July 11, 2012, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/freak
Christian Porn Statistics
Note the discrepancy between the statistics and the perceptions of pastors in the survey results at the end. What do you think this means? (Email me… I’d love to hear your thoughts.)
50% of pastors regularly view porn.
As quoted from a pastormark.tv survey, 3-27-12
A Christian missions agency is reported as saying that 80% of their applicants admit to struggling with porn.
Harry Schaumberg in Christian Post, 3-8-12
70% of Christian men view porn repeatedly.
Chad Barrett, author of Journey to Freedom, Everyday Christian, October 8, 2011
From a survey of 1000 pastors:
69% say porn has adversely affected the church.
When the pastors were asked to estimate how many of their church members view porn on a weekly basis:
43% of these pastors did not respond. Of those who did:
62% of pastors said less than 10% of congregants view porn weekly
24% of pastors said that 10-24% of their members view porn weekly
10% of pastors said that that 25-49% of their members view porn weekly
4% of pastors said that 50% or more of their members view porn weekly
Baptist Press, November 15, 2011, quoting Lifeway Research and Education Database survey results.
Start a Support Group
Strength in Numbers is our Christ and grace centered support group for men who struggle with pornography, sexual addiction and/or homosexuality. The group provides a safe place for men to share openly of their struggles with lust; pointing all to God’s grace is the goal.
Strength in Numbers is not a 12 step group, nor does it follow a program. Some groups use the book The Road to Grace as a basis for weekly discussion points, but this is not required.
After opening the meeting with prayer, all members are asked to be accountable with any issues involving pornography, lust in the mind, masturbation, sex outside of marriage and/or any inappropriate relationships since their last meeting. The men are invited to discuss how they are doing in their marriages and other key relationships, as lust affects these areas. Mutual transparency and the grace extended bonds the men in a way few experience.
In the last 10 minutes of the meeting time all members pray for each other, keeping in mind the needs and struggles that have been shared. We’ve seen the Lord work miracles in the lives of men and their families, just from prayer alone.
If you don’t have a Strength in Numbers group in you city, please consider starting one. Email us and we’ll email you information on how to start a group, run it, and promote it.
This same format can be followed if you want to set up a group for wives.
The Road to Grace
The Road to Grace; Finding True Freedom from the Bondage of Sexual Addiction is Mike Genung’s book on breaking free from sexual addiction.
Topics covered include:
* Biblical tools for overcoming sexual temptation.
* Healing from shame.
* How to stop a masturbation habit.
* Dealing with the core issues that drive sexual sin.
* Understanding and receiving the love of God in the heart.
* Healing for Wives
* How to restore a marriage that’s been broken by sexual sin and/or adultery.
The Road to Grace is used in support groups, and provides plenty of material for discussion.
For more information and to purchase, visit www.roadtograce.net
Healing a Broken Marriage
How Many Porn Addicts are in Your Church?
It’s Just a Little Porn; I’m no Sex Addict
Sexual Sobriety isn’t Enough
The Destructive Force of Adultery
Winning the War in the Mind
www.blazinggrace.org – Blazing Grace home page
www.blazinggrace.org/forums/ – a community for those who struggle with sexual sin and their spouses.
www.roadtograce.net – Site for Mike Genung’s book The Road to Grace; Finding True Freedom from the Bondage of Sex Addiction.
www.2chronicles714.net – Site that focuses on putting 2nd Chronicles 7:14 into action for individuals and churches.
Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”
Blazing Grace’s purpose is to minister to the sexually broken and equip the church to effectively deal with the porn epidemic.
Please feel free to forward this newsletter.
Content from the Blazing Grace Newsletter may be posted on websites or otherwise reprinted for ministry purposes. (Please show the correct byline, and add a link to www.blazinggrace.org when posting any material electronically.) Publication for commercial use is prohibited without written permission.
I enjoy reading your feedback.
May God’s grace abound to you.
All material copyright 2012 Mike Genung