The Illusion Of Control

This post is written to link with Five Minute Friday– write for five minutes on a one word prompt.  Today the prompt is “control” (and ironically I must confess that my control of time was very poor today and this took me significantly longer than five minutes!)


Control is just an illusion.

The problem is that it is sneaky.  It presents itself to us as something real and something appealing: if we can be in control we can order our lives, we can fulfil our dreams, we can take charge of our destinies.

We long for control and we seek to be in control, but just when we think we’ve achieved control, we realise something is controlling us.

An attempt to control painful memories by numbing them becomes an addiction.  A diet to control weight and health goes too far and becomes an eating disorder.  A pattern of controlling difficult emotions by ignoring them and bottling them up becomes a habit that is hard to break.

As I said, control is sneaky.  It can take even good things, even godly things, and use them against us.  Like using Bible verses to control our feelings by preaching to them, instead of first acknowledging them and dealing with them in a healthy way.  Like trying to persuade others to do what we want with words like “God told me,” or “God has really put this on my heart,” making it difficult for them to refuse.  Like thinking we can control God or how he will act in a situation- thinking if I just pray more, or read the Bible more or do these good things, surely God will answer my prayer as I want him to.

What if we just admitted we’re not in control?  If we realised that, while there are certain choices we can make, no matter how carefully we plan, the unexpected can happen?  What if we realised that our control over other people or situations is limited and that we are primarily called to self- control, and even then, only by the power of the Holy Spirit?

What if we realised that, despite control’s sneaky tactics, all we are seeking is not found in control, but in surrender, and that the answer is found in giving up control to God, allowing him to be in charge of our lives and seeking security and peace in him, rather than in controlling every detail?




24 thoughts on “The Illusion Of Control

  1. Yes… Finding peace with being “out of control” and letting God take control is so against my nature. But, what joy and peace when I do give it up!! Thank you for these encouraging words! (Visiting from FMF)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s true what you said that “control is sneaky. It can take even good things, even godly things, and use them against us.” We are in control sometimes without even knowing. It’s time to admit that we are not in control! Thanks for this post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This. So much this. I’m glad you let your control of time go today, because there are so many beautiful, timely, and inspired nuggets in here that I needed to read today. I know I’m guilty of subconsciously trying to control situations or others by saying that I feel the Lord has been revealing things to me. I truly believe He was, but probably should have kept them to myself and let the Lord reveal the things He wanted to reveal to the other people in His own time.

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  4. Control is sneaky, isn’t it? I hadn’t even really thought about it like that until I read your post. No wonder we can’t see when it creeps into our hearts and minds..when we want to have control. I’m over in the 11 spot this week.

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  5. Hmm! We are not in control of our lives..
    God is in charge and the earlier we settle this I our hearts the easier life journey becomes.
    Blessings to you, Leslie

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “We long for control and we seek to be in control, but just when we think we’ve achieved control, we realise something is controlling us.” I am some what of a clean freak…or I used to be. There was something about having control over how my house looked that made me feel at peace. Only it wasn’t real peace, because I had to work for it. It was controlling me. Great insight and true words, Lesley! Thanks so much for sharing ❤

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  7. I was telling my therapist last week about how my ex-husband is not doing such a good job validating my children’s feelings. We are recently separated and he just doesn’t get it when it comes to feelings. My youngest was crying over at his house and I spent a lot of time brainstorming on how to make things better for my son over there. I was relaying the story to my therapist, along with my plans on how to fix it. Her response…”You can’t control that”. It stopped me in my tracks. Since then, I have repeated that phrase to myself almost daily.

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    1. It is hard to accept we’re not in control sometimes, especially when we desperately want to fix things, but there is freedom if we can hand the situation to God and take the pressure off ourselves.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Lesley! I think surrender makes Jesus very happy. As you said, the idea of having control is usually an illusion anyway. So much better to give him the lead in our lives, and follow him with as much joy and surrender we can muster. It’s definitely a balance though. Some things he wants us to do, to lead in certain situations. I think the key is remembering that he must be with us, whether we lead or not.
    May God continue to remind me to give up what little control I have to him. (And he’s doing that today through you. Thank you!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Ceil. It’s not always easy- constantly deciding to surrender to God and being willing to follow his lead- but I think it does make him happy when we do. I think we all need a reminder from time to time.

      Liked by 1 person

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