We 'humans' were given a very special gift.....choice /freewill. It was given to us by our Creator. It was His design. Shouldn't we be extending and encouraging that same 'gift of choice' to the people in our lives? In fact, isn't it a way of 'honoring' His creation to allow others that same freedom? Yet, why is it that we work SO hard to control others - especially those we are closest to? We work overtime to control our spouse, our kids, our friends, etc. Why are we like this?
Our intentions may be good. For example: maybe we've 'been there' and know the dangers in the road ahead and we want to protect others (especially our kids) from those dangers. Many times our intentions are a little more self-centered. We secretly think, "Maybe, if I can just get them to _________, I will feel more secure and loved." Even as I write this, I am struggling with my insecurities over conflict that I feel in my own family. I hate conflict. I go into a panick mode emotionally when I think someone is upset with me or my husband. I think and plan, trying to figure out how to solve any uncomfortable situation. I put pressure on my husband to 'act' a certain way - to always keep 'peace' and not say anything to upset. I am overly sensitive to it. If I can keep a person from getting upset with me or disappointed with me, I feel secure - safe.
Here's the confusing part: We are instructed to help, come along side, encourage, love, pray for, cry with and laugh with the people in our lives. Love does get messy sometimes as we get involved with the lives of those around us. We are to pursue peace and get along with each other.
Helping is one thing....but being a helper can easily slide into our 'mission to control'. How are we to know when we have morphed from loving, helping and caring to controlling? Ask yourself: who is doing all the work here - me, or the person I am trying to help? Is the one being helped taking initiative, or just basking in the warmth of being the 'center of attention'....and demanding more and more warmth? Am I working to control something that I can't possibly have control over (like someone else's emotions and thoughts and choices).
Bottom line: PEOPLE WILL DO WHAT THEY WANT TO DO. You can't change anyone. Only God can. You can't force it - long term, anyway. Let God be God. He's handling the role just fine.(Do you believe that? If you are 'controlling'...you probably struggle with that truth.) Usually, we end up getting in God's way when we step over that line and are now trying to do His job. He really can handle it. Use your strength to choose to surrender to Him and trust Him to work. That takes real strength.