What if they continue with their wrong values and destructive behavior? It is tough not to worry when you believe they will never change. So, you continue to worry and fret. (I love that old word "fret.")
Even when you recognize your controlling actions and stop, control can quickly rear its ugly head when you ask yourself...
Satan Wants You to Worry
Those questions drive you to worry that they will never change unless you do something. You can become consumed with what the future will bring for them. Unfortunately, the more you worry, the more probable you move back to controlling behavior. Your worry is lousy thinking that sees control as your only option.
And what makes you jump to control? You want the worrying and fretting gone. You want peace and rest - you want to be happy. But the more you entertain that lousy thinking, the greater chance for wrong actions and controlling behavior.
Of course, only God knows the future. And when you worry, it is not only unnecessary, but it also is disrespectful and disobedient to God!
So, Satan wants you to worry, not trust your PERFECT Father God, and believe they will never change. Fear and worry are essential tools Satan uses in life to drive us to wrong thinking. He knows that when you trust lousy thinking, it drives you into emotions and actions that displease God.
But God wants the opposite - trust Him and pursue the best for the person you want to control. God is PERFECT, worthy of trust to remove worry.
You want freedom from worry, so you control to change their behavior. But that enslaves you. Only trusting God can free you from worry!
Freedom Does Not Give Up on Change
Of course, you may believe they will never change, but that is not living in freedom. Freedom used correctly does give up on them changing because of your work! Freedom accepts reality – their change is not your job. Change is God's job. And, whether they change or not, God wants you to do your job - tell them the truth and love them - pursue their best, even if they don't change. Their change depends on God’s plan and their decision.
When you stop controlling, you can look at your own life. God is at work in you and wants you to grow through this experience. Maybe it is about patience or how to trust Him in these situations.
Yes, God may use you as an instrument to help them change, but do not mix up being the instrument versus the cause. In times of trial, you have an excellent opportunity to embrace the pain instead of running from it. If you do that, you see what God wants to teach you through this situation! Remember, your responsibility is to offer the truth and not nag them about it. Truth can defend itself.
Control Hurts Your Relationships
But, if you decide to control, beware, it will hurt you and all your relationships. For one thing, control truly or artificially limits a person’s options. Controlling behavior makes it difficult for people to see or make choices. When you try to control a person, you act as though they are not free to choose. You see them as a robot to be programmed to follow directions without any additional thoughts.
Think about when someone tries to control you. How do you respond to that? Most likely, you don’t like it and want away from control. Control encourages rebellion and encourages both of you to live in the Left Circle. You live in the Left Circle because you want them to change – they live in the Left Circle because they want you to change! The control boomerang is at work.
When you see or feel your freedom being removed, it often results in fear, defensiveness, and even anger. You may aggressively push back or sink into passivity, agreeing with them that you had no choice. Either way, the relationship is impacted negatively, and you do not want to be around that person.
Freedom or Worry?
So, you most likely know freedom is the best way to go. But you worry that they will never change. Control is NOT the best path; it is time to trust God.
Are other people free? Yes, the reality is they are, but your actions will demonstrate whether you firmly grasp that truth.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man's initiative and independence. – Abraham Lincoln
PURSUING THEIR BEST - Freedom in Relationships