Eric's Sunday Sermon; Oh The Need To Control
Sometimes I try
Why try to control?
There is this notion that “if everyone acted the way they should life would be great” Of course the “should” in that statement really means “the way I think it should be done”. This concept is probably the leading cause of unhappiness. If we lead our lives in a way that we demand that others act the way we think they should act we are bound for frustration, heartache, failure and lack of love. This is clearly because we just cannot control others, and trying to leads to a predetermined failure. Our self-inflicted goal just can never be accomplished. When delving into this subject we are first drawn to the issue of how we get rid of this negative compulsion. Just how do we reach the serene ability to accept things as they are, except for our own conduct?
We can look at four scenarios and gain insight. The micromanaging boss at work. The aggravating incompetent checkout clerk at a store. The way other’s drive. And how others believe. Oh my how those four scenarios have a way of dictating our happiness. And of course you have your own. The words just flow out “I hate….” Aren’t the two bathroom problems a constant in a marriage? Toilet seats up or down and how to squeeze out toothpaste. And it is truly amazing how easy it is to both adjust the toilet seat the way you want it and the tube of toothpaste the way you think it should be. Both those together take about 9 seconds. Amazing how we make aggravation out of the tiniest things. Just yesterday my wife and I went out for some shopping. I was busy directing traffic while she was instructing store clerks on how to do their job. Good thing we had each other to get it out of our systems and enjoy the time together.
It would be fair to assume that most people are accepting most of the time and critical and unaccepting part of the time. Although there are those that are accepting all the time and those that are controlling all the time. We look around and find that we really do not control people. Quite normally our attempts at control are doomed to failure. So why do it? If we are dead set on controlling others we find ourselves upset and without influence. Again, so why do it? “If everyone would just do it my way everything would be just fine”. How could that even be possible with so many of us out there? Wow the world would be in complete conflict and anger and ultimately chaos.
The frustration that comes from trying to control others
Who is in control?
Is there hope for us?
So being that we cannot change everybody in the world, the best we can do is to change ourselves and maybe lead by example. There is that beautiful concept of attraction rather than promotion. The question should always be, “what can I do to improve the situation?” and not, “how can I fix the situation to be how I want it?” Of course we are bound to put our opinion on what an improvement is but at least we are starting out with noble intentions.
The micromanaging boss at work. Really? Leadership from the bottom up is a losing proposition. Have you ever seen a situation where there were more bosses or supervisors than workers? Of course we have a tendency to think we know what is best. But trying to control our boss is not the way to accomplish anything. An interesting point here is that the boss that tries to control the worker fails also. Leadership is best accomplished by example. Even in a military, we have found that blind obedience is less effective than teaching how to be a good soldier. A worker is better served by trying to be the best worker he can be, rather than teaching the boss to be a better boss.
The aggravating incompetent checkout clerk at a store. One headline among many addressing this issue of overcharging reads; “Supermarket Scanner Errors Can Cost Consumers Up to $2.5 Billion Each Year”. All studies reveal errors that are constant and just vary on just how bad the situation is. So this makes us realize that sometimes in a particular transaction controlling the clerk is not such a bad idea. But interesting here is that while it may be effective, 99% percent of the time the consumer gets upset rather than just correcting the problem. Even righteous controlling can have negative effects on us.
The way other’s drive. “Dad, you do know that both your windows and their windows are rolled up and we are going 60 miles per hour don’t you?” “So why are you yelling at them?” I have paid close attention to this. I have found that getting upset and actually verbalizing it makes me more agitated than breathing deeply and moving on. Yet I still find myself doing it. Perhaps that is the definition of insanity.
And how others believe. This is a very strange one indeed. There is a mandate of sorts in the Judeo-Christian perspective to convert people in order to save them and as a duty to God. Here we find a scenario not unlike that of the micromanaging boss. Some folks actually believe that the above mandate is to be carried out through the technique of instilling fear and Bible thumping. Perhaps another definition of insanity. Clearly the only proper technique of inspiring conversion is through example and attraction. We are not to control belief and thought but rather lead others through our own spiritual success in life. If we appear unhappy and with a bound for failure need to control then the uninitiated will recoil from us like a hand from flame.
Children. If we exercise control over a child rather than teach the child control, in the end we fail the child. As youngest of six children I was basically taught to be quiet and fall in line. This did not serve me well when it was my turn to make decisions. In fact for many years I flailed and failed in the decision making arena. (of course now I can look back and accept that all those failures got me to the happily fulfilled life I have today) But I have been cautious with my own children not to continue that cycle. The one thing we can control is ourselves. I truly believe we can teach a child to control themselves and not others. And in doing so we can remove one of the stumbling blocks on the road to happiness.
Sometimes control can be hidden in what looks like love.
There are many aspects of control
How about you?
Do you like to control people?
Maybe we should just grab a bag of popcorn and sit back and enjoy the show.
Oh my, what rambling in the sermon. Did you know that most preacher’s sermons are designed to control what you think and believe and therefor how you act? The best the preacher and congregation can hope for is that the preacher is right. Here in Eric’s Sunday Sermon the best that we can hope for is that we asked the right questions for the reader to answer for themselves. Learning by ourselves is good. Learning with others is synergistic and fantastic. All relationships are more fulfilling when control is left behind and cooperation toward a common goal is practiced.
There is great reward to be found in accepting people for what they are. If the more creative person controls the more linear thinking person then discipline is lost. If the linear thinker controls the creative person, creativity is lost. If you have never experienced the absolute joy in seeing someone you have mentored come up with new ideas on their own you are truly missing out. One of my greatest joys in life has been in riding a horse where you guide it up to speed and then just loosen the reigns and let the horse run free as you are along for the ride. Practice that with people and I promise you joy is on its way to your heart. Maybe we should give some thought letting God be the one in control.