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Monday, April 14, 2014

From Control Freak to Control-Free to Self-Controlled!!! (My AHA! Moment)

I love it that in this journey, I never really stop learning and having eureka and AHA! moments! :)        
I would put a certain precept that still needed clarity at the back of my mind for future introspection, only for it to suddenly manifest itself and be elucidated by others without warrant! And then, without me forcing it, it suddenly makes sense.
 I just immediately "get it"! And I am blown away. :)

Such is the case on the topic of CONTROL.

You see, I was a former control freak. I was at my most controlling, between the years 2009 to 2011 or thereabouts, and those were what I would consider the darkest years of our marriage. I was trying to control Dong and our marriage, as I was its self-proclaimed leader and provider during that time. Those years were beset with so much anxiety, depression, fear, bitterness and resentment! :( I was putting everything in my hands, and not in Dong's hands (as the family's head), and most ashamedly, not in God's Hands! :( 

I was acting like I was sovereign and everything depended on me for our lives' good outcomes. How prideful and foolish of me to even think that! After my conviction and conversion in September 1, 2013, I let go and let God. I submitted to the Lord first, and then to my earthly authority, my husband, Dong. Since then, I had relinquished all forms of control. I could not control other people. I could not control their lives. I could not change people. I could not change their lives. And amazingly, since it was no longer I, but Christ Who lived in me, (Gal 2:20) I was fine with that. :)

I believed in my heart and mind that God was, is, and always will be in control, and that He has got me covered. I will be okay. We will be okay. He does not need me to control things and outcomes. He is GOD; I am not. In following my husband's leadership, I knew that in effect, I was also following God's Will for me. 

This is what I abide in:
Ephesians 5: 22-24
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

After letting go of my control freak nature and wearing the new one given to me by Christ which was a joyful, peaceful and worry-free nature (2 Cor 5:17), I felt for the first time in my life, really free. :) I knew God was in control. Sigh. I can now rest in His Loving Arms....


Although I knew that in letting go of my desire to CONTROL, I have become freed  from BONDAGE...

Although I knew that in letting go of my CONTROLLING ways, I have found TRUE peace...

Although I knew that in focusing on myself and on my walk with Christ, I have found my REAL purpose...

In a weird way, I sort of did not particularly, entirely comprehend that God still needed MY help! 

It just lately dawned on me that since I was not an automaton, an android, or a golem...

I still had FREE WILL!

Yes, I had let God reign in all aspects of my life.


I still had to CONTROL myself!!!

That was one area that I had total access to and accountability for.

It took another person to open up my spiritual eyes to this wonderful realization!!!

* * * * *

This was what happened...

A fellow sister in this respect journey found her eureka moment from the post I wrote on:

Upon my asking her on why she was stressed lately, she replied:

"Why am I stressed? Well I could say because my husband works 12+ hours a day, 6 days a week and I only see him 30 mins a day, and on his day off he just sleeps and he is grouchy all the time; or because I have a much needed surgery scheduled for May 6 and still haven’t heard if my insurance will cover the surgeon, But, that wouldn’t be true
I am stressed because I want to control these things and I can’t.
I am thankful to say that the last few days and with the help of your story, Nikka, I figured out many things and I feel better....
What hit me was I am trying to get closer to God. I am trying to be a good wife. BUT, I am not learning to control me! Being a person that likes to control, I need to learn to control my responses. I need to make my own life right now during this season. I had been reading Joyce Meyers' book on controlling emotions and she laid it all out and I finally got it. 

There is so much power in controlling one's emotions. Not controlling them zaps all strength.  ( I am a poster child for that!)                            
              I can’t get closer to God or be respectful if I can’t even control me."
I really like to control...  I just needed to find a way to do it the right way. 

I need to control my overwhelming emotions before anything else can fall into place.
When I do that I will once again feel in control of my life.

               So for me the order needed to be…
1. Control my hurt, anger, responses and thoughts.

2. Draw closer to God to meet my needs.
3. Respect my husband.
1.Try to be the perfect wife and respect my husband.

2.Try to be closer to God.

3.Hope God can fix my emotionally messed head and actions.

    Seems like God should be first, right?       
             but He plainly showed me that          
He can’t be first until I get some of the junk out and make room for Him."

* * *
                              Reading about her realization led to me having my own realization.

  • I wrote that particular post...
  • And she got convicted by it. 
  • She shared with me about her lightbulb moment... 
  • And in turn, I got convicted by her response! 

                                Her lightbulb moment led to my own lightbulb moment. 
                                          The "inspirer" became the inspired!!! 
                                         It's like the gift that keeps on giving!!! :)

                            Here was my own AHA! moment to her eye-opening sharing:

"Wonderful sharing! :)  
How refreshing your insight was on CONTROL.Come to think of it, 
CONTROL should be amoral.
It is not bad or good in and by itself. It only becomes bad when one uses it for things or people that are clearly NOT one’s responsibility or business, like “changing” one’s husband because that is not for one to control; only God can change hearts.
and this is the exciting part that I learned from your sharing...
We are encouraged to CONTROL things too, by no less than our good God!
Control our tongue.
Control our temper.
    Control our emotions.
   Control our passions.
Control our desires.
   Control our thoughts.
Control our actions.

Yay! We can still ‘CONTROL’ but in a good way, in a godly way!

When we “let go and let God”, it does not mean we lose control of everything and just sort of let God push us around. God did give us FREE WILL after all. Even with Christ living in our hearts already and the Spirit transforming us daily, it is still US who will have to choose God again and again, and not choose to sin again and again. We do not become ROBOTS devoid of reasoning or choices.

How wonderful to know that in letting go and letting God, we do not "lose ourselves."

We are asked to CONTROL our SINFUL natures, in order for God’s Spirit to really take over. We do the controlling by OURSELVES. God can only work in our hearts after we ourselves have removed the filth.
FAITH is both a GIFT (Freely given by God) and a RESPONSIBILITY (We do our part)."

* * * * *
I got so excited by the realization that God is still asking me to CONTROL something or rather, someone, that is MYSELF. So, if I was a control freak before on things outside of my business (Dong, our marriage...), now, I could use this "talent" of mine (Haha!) to make me conform more to Christ by controlling.... 
Someone to control: Veronica "Nikka" Cleofe-Alejar!!! Yay!!!  :)
Things to control: my thoughts, my emotions, my actions!!! Yipee!!! :)

And whereas before, when I put my nose on God's Business and controlled areas outside of my scope, range, and area of responsibility; now, controlling my self is clearly MY business and MY responsibility, and would not offend God in any way.

Controlling myself was not a SIN! 

In fact, it was a COMMANDMENT of Christ to His followers.

We have to always practice SELF-CONTROL!  Hephep-Hooray!!! :)
* * *

The following are the different aspects of our lives that the Lord has asked us to control, with some corresponding Bible Verses to help us control them :)

The LORD has asked us to CONTROL:

1. Our Thoughts

2 Corinthians 10:5
5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Romans 12:2
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. 

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

2. Our Tongue/Words

James 1:26
26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.
Deuteronomy 5:20

20 “‘And you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Proverbs 21:19
It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman.
Proverbs 10:19

19 When words are many, sin is not lacking; so he who controls his speech is wise. 

3. Our Actions

Psalm 119:9-10

How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. 
I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.

1 Corinthians 6:18

Flee from sexual immoralityAll other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.

1 Thessalonians 5:8
But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, 

putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 4. Our Emotions

Proverbs 29:11
A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.

Colossians 3:8

But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
Ephesians 4:26-27

26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 
4. Ourselves

2 Peter 1:5-9

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

Galatians 5:22-24 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

Titus 2:5

to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

* * * * *

I have so many posts about my former controlling self in this Peacefulwife Philippines blog.
There was even one post entitled: "From Control Freak to Control-Free". 

What I learned just very recently because of my own lightbulb moment stemming from a sister in Christ's own lightbulb moment, was that God was still asking me to control ME.
 I still have to control MYSELF. :)

After all, God needs MY HELP to help Him change me.

He could very well just take over and not give me any room to contribute to my spiritual growth, but that would defy the very reason He created me in the first place, which was to have a loving relationship with me. That would have turned me into a robot, which was clearly not His intention for a creature such as myself, since the beginning of time. That would have totally gone against His gift of free will for us humans beings.

He wants me to refuse satan.
He wants me to refuse the world.
He wants me to refuse the callings of the flesh.


He wants me to choose Him.
He wants me to choose to have a relationship with Him.
He wants me to choose to do good again and again and again...

One has to be wary though of going all-out freaky on self-control. It could very well be an obsession or an "idol". Too much "self-control" might just make one overly repressed, when not done with the right intentions!

Isn't it that Ecclesiastes even wrote against overdoing virtue?

Ecclesiastes 7:16
"Don't be excessively righteous, and don't be overly wise.
Why should you destroy yourself?"

Yes, God does ask us to restrain ourselves a LOT, but let us not be too focused on that, that we lose sight of God. It is still God Whom we should direct all our efforts towards, self-control included. It is Him we want to please by controlling ourselves.
Controlling ourselves is not the be-all and end-all.
It is just a means to a holy end. 

Also, on our own power and strength, we could not do anything. Controlling our urges and passions and sinful natures would be close to impossible. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41) We still need God's Help, to help us control ourselves. 

It is the Spirit that will inspire us, motivate us, and strengthen us to continue in this fight of faith. Controlling ourselves can lead to a very orderly life, yes, but the beauty and balance is in keeping the self at bay, while giving much room for God to still take control. 


We will do our best to control our thoughts, emotions, words and actions; and we know that God, seeing our gracious efforts, will further help us control our thoughts, emotions, words and actions, so that we become more and more like Christ.


In Filipino we have this saying, 
(God is Merciful to People Who Work/Move/Do something productive with their lives.)

Now, before I make this post lengthier by continuing to blurt out popular adages, I will now have to CONTROL myself and STOP right here.:)

I know you already got my point. ;)

May we all be richly blessed! :)

* * *

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