Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Control Cycle

The control cycle, say John Lynch, Bruce McNichol and Bill Thrall in The Cure: What if God Isn’t Who You Think He Is and Neither Are You, is what happens when we believe we can control our lives.

We are all into control.

We all believe we can control our own lives.

Even when the evidence that we can’t is right there in front of our faces.

Each day, I arrive at the office with a plan in my head for the day’s activities – meetings, blog posts, Facebook and Twitter posts, and so on. I lead the social media team for my company, and each day I plan on what I will be doing once I arrive.

Each day, my plan meets reality. The crisis no one expected. The crisis a few people expected but neglected to tell anyone about. The blog post that someone promised would be delivered for publication that’s suddenly delayed, upsetting a carefully thought-though schedule. Or the blog post someone forgot to tell us about but that absolutely has to be posted by 2 p.m.

Each day, my plan for the day flies out the window. That doesn’t stop me from making a new plan for the next day. I believe I’m in control.

I delude myself in that regard.

The authors of The Cure say this is even more an issue with addictive behavior, or sin, whatever the behavior or sin might be. We believe we can control it when, in reality, it controls us. “The power of sin,” they write, “is not when I act out. It’s when I gave myself permission.”

This cycle of control, this belief we can control our own destructive behaviors, dishonors God, they say. And they’re right. It is a form of idolatry, in that we are putting ourselves at the center.

What are these sins or destructive behaviors? They list the obvious things – pornography, drug dependence, gambling, substance abuse – but add a few more – lying, gossip, spending, unhealthy attention-seeking, manipulation, unforgiveness, and unrepentance.

The desire – and the myth – of control is part of our human nature. It affects all of us. Believing we can overcome it on our own is self-defeating – and actually integral to the cycle of control continuing.

But there is a way to break it. More on that next week.

Led by Jason Stsyszen and Sarah Salter, we’ve been reading The Cure. This is the first of two discussions on Chapter 4, “Two Solutions.” To see more posts on this chapter, please visit Sarah at Living Between the Lines.

Photograph by Petr Kratochvil via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.


SimplyDarlene said...

for me, the difference between being a control freak and not, is in how i react to thwarted plans. it's a balancing act, aye?

as always, thanks for this piece.

SimplyDarlene said...

see, i'm trying hard not to freak out that my comment posted three times. i don't want to lose my sanity over some techno-glitch. still.. whatheck happened here? ;-)

JasonS said...

I highlighted that same quote about permission because I feel like it's so key. And I so appreciate (funny way to say it, but...) that they listed not only the "big" sins, but the unhealthy patterns and behaviors that we can dismiss so often. Sin is sin and I can't defeat it (neither do I have to). There's such a beauty and freedom in His grace.