You know fear. That jagged, raw edge of fear. Your stomach draws up in knots. Adrenaline surges through your veins. You may know what it is to experience a
constant anxiety. Maybe you have become a brooding
worrier. You fear that things wonâ€™t work
out. Some fears happen during
the storms we face (Mark 4:38-40). Then, there are the
fears that occur after the storm
(4:41), when we reflect on what we have been going through.
We could make quite a lists of things that elicit fear in us:
- An unwanted divorce
- The death of one of our children
- The death of a parent
- Financial ruin
- Loss of a job
- The end of an enjoyable career
- Having to live with chronic pain
- Being seen as incompetent
- Hearing that there has been another terrorist attack in our country
Yet, there are other fears we have that may not seem quite as intense as some of the situations above. I think what so many of us fear is a complete loss of control.
You’ve been around the control freak haven’t you? At times, you may almost feel smothered by someone trying very hard to manage every detail of a situation. And, there are often people who would love to manage the details of your life. If you balk at their attempt to manage your life, they might try to couch the situation as an attitude problem on your part.
Some of the anger and resentment that can be found in many ministers can sometimes be traced back to years of passively allowing other people to micro-manage their lives. When the minister has few or even no boundaries, such people are then allowed to take over their lives.
Very often the spouse of this minister as well as the children begins to resent this, which only creates more problems later. Years ago, one of my children was in a Bible class in which she was singled out by a teacher. "You ought to know this answer. You are the preacher’s daughter." Hmmm. That week, I went to this woman and had to draw some boundaries. I told her, "When you do that, you don’t help my daughter at all. She feels ‘different.’ You also complicate my life as a parent. Please do not ever refer to her as ‘the preacher’s daughter’ in class again." She was very gracious and received that very well. (She just wasn’t thinking about the implications of her words.)
Yet, some ministers and other church leaders are really into control as well. There is quite a difference in leadership and control. Churches need leadership. Churches do not need people who are trying to control the thinking and behavior of people. (I’m not saying a church should not hold to its view of biblical doctrine or have certain ethical standards. I’m talking about trying to control and manipulate others.)
The good news about Jesus is that he is the only head of the church. He is the one in charge. He is in complete control. Yet, sometimes, we want to take over. After all, isn’t he asleep in the back of the boat (Mark 4:35-41)? The truth, however, is that he will hear our prayers. He is not far away.
Does any of this speak to you? Have you had to deal with people who seemed to want to control or manage you? How have you dealt with that?