The Illusion of Control

The Illusion of Control


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In picking which topic I wanted to write about for this week’s Kingdom Woman Blog Hop, I could have written about any one of the questions but I picked the concept of personal control vs. surrender (question #1) because it is probably the area in which I need the most work!

I have had this thought over the years that I can control things.  Well, I don’t think I thought that consciously. But I’ve learned that  about myself as I’ve reacted with anger, stress, and a surprising amount of tears at times to situations in my life that completely caught me off guard.  Situations that I thought I had under control.

There is no area where I am reminded of this then in parenting my children.

Because children are people and ultimately, I have no true control over another person, I’ve had to watch my kids do their thing sometimes and it simply drives me batty!  Yes, I can love them and train them and teach their little hearts but at the end of the day, they are people who get to choose.  People who get to choose to disobey. People who get to choose their own way.  People who get to know and feel the joy of making good decisions and the pain of making bad ones.

Case in point.

Last night, I told my four year old, REPEATEDLY, to stop jumping on the couch.  It was like the couch was a magnet for his little body and kept drawing him back!  To tell the truth, he didn’t continue to disobey all-the-way. He did make minor adjustments to his behavior.  Instead of jumping on it like a trampoline, he started running and then leaping on to the couch… but not jumping after he landed.

“Joel!  Get down!”

“OK Mommy”

The jumping turned leaping then moved to hanging off of the arm of the couch.

“Joel! Don’t do that!”

“OK Mommy”

The hanging off the arm of the couch became a different kind of circus act when he put one hand on the arm of the couch and another on a nearby chair and started swinging.  That good childhood swing.  The kind where you have pure childhood bliss because you are big enough to hold yourself up and light enough to do it long enough to have some fun.


Immediate loud screams.

And then the sound of some small object hitting the floor too and skidding across the faux wood floors.

When you are a Mom you just know.  Without even going to check. I knew what to expect.

And I saw exactly what I thought I’d see.

A preschooler, holding his mouth, blood dripping from his lip.  When I pulled his hand away to assess the damage, I knew what I’d find then too.


You guessed it.


That boy knocked his tooth right out.


So my four year old who should be losing teeth for another 18 to 24 months, is set to be snaggle-tooth for a long time.


And I was surprised a half hour later at my response.  I’ve mothered five kids and this has happened before.  Well.  OK.  he is the first one to have knocked a tooth COMPLETELY out.  But other children have knocked them loose, sideways, and everything else!

And  in the past I have screamed, called the doctor immediately, even threatened to take them to the emergency room.

But I have learned that it’s OK.  It’s gonna be OK. That bumps and bruises (and missing teeth) area a part of my kids’ existence.  They are a part of my existence.

Control is an illusion.  Surrender is real.


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Life is going to happen.  And when it does, if I haven’t surrendered my hopes and confidences to God Almighty, I leave myself open for unnecessary heartache, loss, and chaos. If I haven’t decided in advance to trust him, I may be baffled by the turn of events in my life as I keep chugging along. If I haven’t made the decision beforehand to believe that, no matter what, he is good.  I will be in trouble.

I can fight for control – over my own life or over the lives of family or even friends.  But control is not real.

The harder I fight, the more frustrated and overwhelmed I will get as control.

While I can limit many of my personal bumps and bruises by walking in obedience, I’m a person, and people are free to choose.  God designed it that way.  Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I have to stop blaming Eve because I get it wrong all on my own.

I want to choose surrender more.  I want to obey His voice and not have to fall flat on my face realizing that He was right all along.  I want to save myself the trouble and the pain of a person who passively or aggressively seeks the presupposed golden grail of independence.

I want to listen.

I want to stop trying to control the outcome of every potential decision my loved ones make.

I want to choose the way of dependent faith in him.

I want to save myself the busted lip.

And my children and other loved ones are the in the same boat. They are people. People who get to make mistakes. People who have to learn to surrender. People who get to the know the grace and mercy of Jesus.  Just like me.

The more I hold the people in my life loosely, the more I choose calm and hopefulness, the more I trust God to get it right when either I or others don’t…

That’s the more I will have peace, experience less heartache, and enjoy the journey.


By |2016-12-05T17:54:20+00:00September 10th, 2013|Faith, Family|23 Comments
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  1. kimberly September 10, 2013 at 6:46 am - Reply

    There is nothing like husbands and kids for a classroom to learn surrender to the sovereignty of Jesus is the best way. Our peace truly is from Him and not from controlling others or circumstances. I have been married 36 years and feel like a kindergartener sometimes.

    • Chrystal September 10, 2013 at 6:53 am - Reply

      Glad I’m not alone! 🙂

  2. shantae September 10, 2013 at 7:00 am - Reply

    My most impactful prayers are 1. Yes,Lord and 2. Let there BE (fill in the Word of God.) Ever since I committed myself to these prayers I have seen phenomenal exponential change! We are either going to sing “I surrender all” or “I’m every woman”. The declaration determines the direction and whether our path will be paved or potholed!

  3. April September 10, 2013 at 7:01 am - Reply

    Have Had A Few Of Those Moments Myself Over The Past Week. Thanks For This. I Surrender All Never Saw Letting The Bumps And Bruises Happen As Surrender But I See It now.

  4. Mattie September 10, 2013 at 7:17 am - Reply

    Profound truth spoken this morning. This can be challenging as a A typer.. You are so right surrender second by second minute by minute hour by hour is key. Thank you for these reminders in this season with my adult children.

  5. Cheryl September 10, 2013 at 7:28 am - Reply

    I always think to myself (and often verbalize to God), “I got, this God…you obviously have MUCH BIGGER issues to fix than mine, so I will fix mine, and You go ahead and fix the rest of the world..afterall it’s obvious the world needs way more help that me…afterall, it’s in way worse shape than my tiny problems”.

    Yeah…ok…so that didin’t work out so well for me.

    My biggest area of wanting to control was when my husband was in desperate need of a kidney to live. I gave it to God, I took it back, I gave it to God, I took it back, I gave it to God, I took it back. I was an Indian Giver Extraordinaire!

    One day, God finally grabbed me by the back of neck and gave me a swift kick in the arse and said to me: “HEY!!…I know you love your husband, but I love him more…so would you PLEASE let ME handle this one!”

    Oh….ok…..I guess….if You insist……

    When I finally handed over control of my husbands need for a kidney once and for all, God provided a kidney…a perfect match. Watch the story unfold here:

    **WARNING*** There is a picture of the actual kidney coming out of our donor.. If you are queezy, this is your warning!! It’s an amazing picture though. Really demonstrates just how powerful of a God we serve!

    • Jessica September 10, 2013 at 8:38 am - Reply

      Wow, Cheryl! I thought I was one of the only people who thought that way! “God I’ve got this…” LOL! Your story is amazing! God is amazing! I didn’t watch the story because I do have a weak stomach…I have a hard time changing a poopy diaper! LOL! But thank you for sharing! I am glad that your husband is better!!!!

    • jenn September 10, 2013 at 1:54 pm - Reply

      What a testimony and what a wonderful, touching video. That is such an outstanding witnessing opportunity, God is really using y’all to give Him glory and let others see Him through your life.
      Thanks for sharing!

  6. Clarissa September 10, 2013 at 7:33 am - Reply

    Never thoght I would get to this point in life, but I’m glad I’m here. I have always been able to admit to myself my faults but never to someone else. So here it goes….I don’t know how to surrender!!!!! I have been in control of my life for so long, that letting someone else take over seems like I am giving up. I don’t know how to get over this feeling.

  7. Sharon September 10, 2013 at 8:43 am - Reply

    I was just journaling about how trying to control has produced what is out of control. Married many years children are adults. I am just now learning the meaning of that old hymn “I Surrender All”. All to Jesus I surrender all to Him I freely give. That word freely is huge! I am finding that as I surrender, the more I experience the free! I’m still learning. Moment by moment, day by day it’s all part of the journey 🙂
    Thanks for sharing Chrystal. Your honesty and candor is refreshingly real 🙂

    • Debra September 10, 2013 at 9:02 am - Reply

      Wow Sharon! You hit the nail right on the head for me! I too am finally learning how to be free from people and certain situations as a result of my surrendering it ALL to Him. I’m learning that it’s okay like Chrystal said to experience the bumps and bruises of life….because that what real life is. I so love the transparency of all of the ladies; it’s so refreshing to see that our lives truly connect. Thanks again!!

  8. Trina September 10, 2013 at 9:08 am - Reply

    I thought I was the only one who blamed EVE. LOL

  9. Jennifer September 10, 2013 at 9:24 am - Reply

    I find myself working more and more in “auto pilot” but continue to pray that the Lord “orders my steps” and all my decisions are Godly, not worldly. It is amazing to see God work when you have an “interruption” (yep quoting your sis) and you don’t have an answer and you just have to wait for Him to move.

  10. Kimberly Parker September 10, 2013 at 9:35 am - Reply

    Surrendering is very very tough for me. I realized a while back that I am slight control freak!!!! But the last five years God has working on me with that. And I am realizing more and more that this season that I am in presently is all about me surrendering. For complete surrender a person must have trust and faith. To me it works only if those things are present. It is hard but I refused to not to learn my lessons this time. This is my season and I am getting ready, small step by small steps. Also last night my four year old was jumping off the couch and the bed. Wow!! Is it in the water??

  11. Renee September 10, 2013 at 10:30 am - Reply

    Surrender is trusting what I have instilled in my 15 year old daughter to manifest in her. Allow her to grow-up from her decisions.(so far so good!)

  12. Luellen Cintron September 10, 2013 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    I really REALLY struggle with this one. I have ways of justifying it too like “I must teach them there is a time and place to be rough or rambunctious” my husband has the “stop hovering, let them learn attitude” yet his limbs are filled with scars and whatnot from years of his “learning” (some are even recent,) <—-SEE THE JUSTIFYING
    I know there is a healthy balance in there somewhere but it seems to me the only way I don't worry is when I dont know what's going on to begin with, and I don't want to be that kind of parent either. You know, The one that has the don't tell me til it's done policy. At 10 and 12 they are reaching the ages where I want to know about the choices they are going to make even if I don't like them.
    God has ensured me in the past that he loves them more than I do. I have felt the peace and comfort that comes with surrendering it all to Him. And i want that ALL the time.
    Thanks Chrystal for putting into clear and honest words my own struggle. It's always easier to address a problem that my mind hasn't justified in some way.

  13. jenn September 10, 2013 at 2:03 pm - Reply

    Well, I have probably struggled the most in the area of surrendering in my spiritual walk. It had had many different labels like fear, trust issues and worry. But the real meat of the issue was that I was never really ready to surrender all. But God is so good and He knows exactly what we need to grow and He loves us enough to let , or make, that happen.
    Through my journey of being very ill and very unable to do a lot of things that I have always done, I have had some time to reflect and learn to trust. I now really, really surrender. I know His plan is the best and if He thinks it’s what I need than I am happy to have it or go through whatever it is He has for me. I know He has plans to prosper me and not harm me and not matter what happens… He loves me.
    I surrender all!
    And also, there must be quite a few of us blaming Eve!

  14. Michelle September 10, 2013 at 8:14 pm - Reply

    Ok, ya’ll pray for me. I am going to try to do this “blog hop” thing. lol Never done it before so we’ll see if I can do this. 🙂

    • Stephanie September 10, 2013 at 9:41 pm - Reply

      Please let me know if you had any luck! I’m lost! I don’t know what I am doing… lol

  15. Stephanie September 10, 2013 at 10:05 pm - Reply

    I can also admit, I sometimes get carried away with surrendering. I want to only surrender things that I am tired of facing.. and some times for that matter I go back and get the same ONGOING things I had previously convinced myself that I had already handed over to God. From that point it becomes a struggle to let go or hold on or wrestle with my mind if it was even an issue to begin with. I can see already I have ALOT more growing than I thought. I’m glad I realize that now! I have a lot of issues that I have been struggling with over and over that I have not quite surrendered or even know how to completely surrender. I just place it at the back of my mind and try to keep pressing forward! I want this study and fellowship with other ladies to allow me to peel back the layers and cry if I need to, laugh, learn, and share!

  16. Sonja September 11, 2013 at 11:09 am - Reply

    This is my first time responding to your blog. I have thought of control as ways to manipulating others to get what I want. But lately, the Lord has been showing me how I also exercise control over others by just not showing up. I don’t want to get hurt by “their” words or rejection, so I stay isolated. The truth is it only leads to loneliness. I am willing to get back into life.

  17. Rachel September 11, 2013 at 11:31 am - Reply

    Love this!! As a woman who was sexually molested for several years from child to teen, I always felt that I must be in control… to avoid being hurt again, etc. Especially when it came to men! The sweetest victory came when, as an adult in my 30’s, God began to peel off my layers of pain. I hated it!!! But when all was “said and done” I was able to trust, and begin to submit/surrender to God and my husband. I learned that the word submit/surrender were NOT bad words, but words of love. Society has made them demeaning words. But by submitting/surrendering to God, I have felt His most powerful love, grace, and mercy. When I was in total control, I didn’t allow myself to even feel these things, not really. Thank you for your words!!

  18. Catherine Roldan September 11, 2013 at 6:34 pm - Reply

    Wow! I”m new to your website and I’m SO glad my friend referred me to it! Such great insight, thanks so much for being so relatable!

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