I am a control-aholic, the boss, the one who always wanted to be in control. I’m adding that to my list of addictions. It’s OK though. Everyone knows the first step to recovery is admission.
I also know to get over anything I’m addicted to, I must give it up. When the boss gives up being in control, though, who’s the boss? More on that later.
Maybe it started because at an early age I was the one who was in charge of my younger brother and sister, a little like herding cats.
Probably, though, it’s just because I was born bossy.
When my mother wasn’t feeling well, I took over until she had a good day and then I attempted to let go of the control. As a kid, though, it was nearly impossible for me to figure out when to be in charge and when not to.
So, I tried to be in control of everyone and everything all the time. That didn’t work too well. I determined when I got older I would be in control all the time. I’d be the boss.
In every situation, I stepped in to a leadership position to control how things went. In high school, college, career, church, home and family and life in general, I was the one in charge.
It’s interesting in all of this, I got the control of food backwards. And yet to some degree even in this, I was bent on making things my way.
Every day of my life up until about five years ago, I was determined to be in control of what I ate. However, the kind of control I had was eating as much of my favorite foods, which consisted mainly of items made with processed sugar and gluten, as I wanted. No one could stop me. I was in control.
Even when I weighed 430 pounds and knew I had to lose weight, I was still trying to make things happen the way I wanted it to happen. That way I could say I lost weight the way I wanted. I could still be the boss.
“Just give me enough time and I’ll figure it out,” I told myself. I used food to manage my emotions so trying to figure out how to do both was difficult. Still, I kept trying.
Throughout my life I went on every diet imaginable to get over my weight problem. Each was a total attempt at self-effort and willpower, which only go so far.
My last ditch effort at getting my weight under control was to submit myself to the drastic interventions of gastric bypass surgery. “There, I’ve fixed myself,” I said.
However, it didn’t go like I wanted. Sure, I lost weight, but my body forced me to not be able to eat sugar. I couldn’t wait until I could boss my body again and eat what I wanted.
As the weight came back on I began to get scared. The doctor had told me that I my heart was not made to carry a body of weighing over 300 pounds. I was headed back there quickly.
I had tried everything, even the granddaddy fix of them all. This bossing myself was becoming impossible.
“I had been fighting a fight that had already been won,” as Big Daddy Weave sings. “I am redeemed. He set me free. So I’ll shake off these heavy chains” of rebellion and self-effort.
I needed to stop trying. So I did. I gave up. It was the best thing I’ve ever done.
Giving up is akin to surrender. I let the real Boss take over.
I surrendered my desire to eat items with processed sugar and gluten. It only took me more than 30 years to do it. It’s definitely better late than never.
It’s strange to realize for most of my life I had been running from admitting I had a weakness I couldn’t control.
I see it clearly now, but my control-oriented lenses didn’t let me see for a long time.
I finally I admitted I was a sugar and bread addict. To get free I needed God’s help to give up the things that I had become addicted to. I began walking the journey of freedom choice by choice.
It’s a journey I’m still walking and will be until the day I die.
If I say, “I can eat just one cookie. I can control that part of my life.” I will go back into bondage.
The thing I thought I was the boss of had been telling me what to do all along. And isn’t that usually the case when we try to do things our way instead of God’s way?
It has taken me several years to get out of bondage to always being the one to decide everything for everyone. I am still not free of being the boss but I’m learning it’s so much more rewarding to empower others to decide for themselves.
I can’t and don’t want to control anyone but myself. Even in that area, I know the best way to control me is to put myself under God’s divine control.
This may sound a little like a cop-out, but in reality it is a plan for peace, rest and complete freedom. Taking on trying to be the boss of everybody is very burdensome.
It seems Jesus was talking to those of us caught trying to save the word all by ourselves when He said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. I will ease, relieve and refresh your souls. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle, meek, humble and lowly in heart, and you will find rest, relief, ease, refreshment, recreation and blessed quiet for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant, and My burden is light and easy to be borne.”1
I don’t know about you, but I need a Boss, One who lifts everything from my shoulders and carries it for me. For this recovering control-aholic boss, the fact that Jesus does that for me sounds divine.
1 Matthew 11:28-30 AMP
Teresa Shields Parker is a wife, mother, business owner, life group leader, speaker and author of Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God’s Favor and Sweet Grace Study Guide: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Overcome Sugar Addiction. Get a free chapter of her memoir on her blog at Teresa Shields Parker.com. Connect with her there or on her Facebook page.