Strategies for Change: Issue of Control

As we continue to explore aspects of how to make changes in our lives, it becomes necessary to look at the ways negative thinking can block our progress without our realizing it. Negative thought patterns can be likened to barnacles on a ship’s hull, throwing it off balance. One of the biggest barnacles I see clients dealing with when they wonder why their efforts are not working is the way the issue of control is operating in their lives.

For instance, one may be using a positive affirmation to heal a rash. But if saying, “I see myself in perfection.” is followed by “This rash is still here,” the healing process is put into neutral, keeping the rash in place.

Misdirected control is another pitfall. Many women use sex to control their husbands, for example, withholding sex in order to get a new car. Sex is supposed to be part of a partnership, not a control device. This sort of control only drives men to other women and/or to divorce.

Some people try to control others in ways they cannot realisically have control over them. For instance, the husband who controls his wife through angry outbursts and the wife who tries to control her angry husband by what she says, how she says it, and when she says it. Only to have him react with anger anyway. His reactions are not anything she can realistically control and the “self-control” she is exerting creates and perpetuates an unhealthy situation. Note: timing an announcement of news that is potentially upsetting (“I totalled the car today, Honey.”) to lessen its impact is a different matter. Waiting until a tired hungry spouse has rested and eaten to break the news can be loving consideration for one’s partner.

With all that can be said about control, the question remains of what to do. We can only do what is actually our part to do and the rest is up to God. When we reach our limits and ask God for help, then we must leave the problem with God and turn our attention to something else. How often have you struggled with some problem, and turned it over to God, only to be mentally and emotionally struggling over details of the problem again the very next instant? STOP taking back the problem! Stop letting the issue of control keep you from a solution. That is the meaning behind: Let go and let God.

Next sit down in silence. Just as a ship must go into dry dock and have its barnacles scraped off, we benefit by sitting in silence. Write down your most difficult control issues, then make a silent prayer for God’s assistance.. This process takes effort. An effective shortcut however, is to work with this affirmation to gain the spiritual strength to carry you through: I like me so you can. Then, write it 30 times once. Read the 30 sentences you have written once. Then, say the 30 sentences, one time only. After this, you will recall this sentence throughout the day. Just keep saying it to yourself.

An example: a client who had every kind of problem, on the job, with friendships, in his church even. He did this exercise and continued repeating the affirmation for 3 years. Then he noticed people at work were inviting him to join groups, people at church were asking him to participate in activities and he called to tell me he had actually succeeded. He said,”My toolbox is empty. What do I do now?” Now, he could have the life he wanted. And, you can too.

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