Friday, August 21, 2009

Playing Control Games in the Name of Love

Control writing is limiting my control of my life: Ha! Can't you tell from reading posts here at Thrive Christian that I've battled the control traps? I cannot casually write or speak on this subject because of the joy of freedom from this bondage and understanding that the Christian community appears to struggle with getting real on this issue. As I read through the last week's posts I need a break and I never meant to preach on this blog. Yesterday's post reads "preachy."

But enough is enough. A few months from now I will return to this subject because I've heard your passion for interest in this area of relationship wisdom.

Two key words come to my mind as I wind this series down: Love and Action.

Months past I shared that my favorite hymn is "Jesus Loves Me." When I am full of the truth that Jesus loves me; wart's and all, my heart is full and running over with love. God only empowers me when I lay healthy boundaries in relationships with love. St. Paul wrote this truth so well in I Corinthians 13. We can use the best principles in our relationships but if we don't have love that lines up with God, we're wasting our time.

I'm a well practised procrastinator. At the beginning of this year I found a book titled "Taking Action." I dare now to do action even if I may mess up; rather than postponing it. Action is key to everything in my life. I'm a trained speaker: talk can be cheap. In my relationships I am working on "action" in love that syncs with what I hear in prayer.

As I close this I recall some game playing with my late mom toward the end of her life. Mother loved to eat out. No matter how busy life became for me I had lunch or dinner out with Mother in my planner and no one took priority over her. But regretfully I should have played the "Where shall we eat" game with Mother. She would try on outfits for days leading up to our outing. I'd pick her up and the game would begin:

"You choose where we eat this time, Kay. Pick out a place," she would suggest with smiles across her face.

"Mom, every time I pick a place you come up with all your indigestion reasons why my choice cannot work for you. I eat out all the time and this day is for you. I've got an iron-clad stomach and I'll enjoy any place you choose. Where do you want to eat?" I would matter-of-fact plain vanilla bottom line no affect reply.

Mom would sigh with disappointment and say, "Now, that's is not what would happen. Come on tell me where you want to eat today."

Years past I would suggest a place and sure enough she would moan and say, "Oh, honey I can't eat there because their food is so greasy. What do you think about Red Lobster?"

Those times she was giggly with joy. I was so immature I was unhappy for being reeled in again.

Later I refused the game. Now, my mom had persistence down pat. We might go back and forth for 15 minutes before she would realize I wasn't playing. Off to one of her three favorite restaurants we would go but she wasn't' as excited about it.

Today I would do that differently. Yes, this may sound the opposite of this whole week on control, being controlled, passive aggressive deception, being honest, open, transparent and laying clear boundaries....but I loved my mother. Sometimes eighty something retirees deserve a little power brokering as long as the one being played knows what they are laying down. Loving action would lead me today to pick up my mom all dolled up and this is how that conversation would flow....

"Mom, you look fantastic. Is that a new outfit?"

"Oh, this old thing. I've had it for years. Do you think it looks o.k?"

"You amaze me, Mother. You look half your age. Where do you want to eat lunch today?"

"Oh, I picked out our last spot. You pick somewhere today."

"Sullivan's Cafe downtown is a new place. I've heard it's great," I would reply.

"Oh, Marie said they didn't have anything on the menu she could eat. Their air conditioner was too cool on her head. I just don't think I'm up to trying that after her review. What do you think about fish today?" Mom would probably say.

"Oh, fish sounds good to me. Where did you have in mind?" I would eagerly ask her.

"Red Lobster with those cheese biscuits and grilled flounder sounds good to me. But I want you to pick out a place," Mom would gleefully suggest.

"I want to go to Red Lobster. Will that be o.k. with you, Mom?" I would sincerely reply.

"Yes...oh yes, Kay, darling you have come up with a perfect suggestion," Mom would declare.

Regrets...sometimes playing a game of control is a loving action. I'm learning every day; our Heavenly Father surprises me with His mercy and how I can live an abundant life as His merciful daughter.

Got a thought on loving action?

1 comment:

Marilyn in Mississippi said...

Oh Kay, the part about how you would do things different with your mother really struck a chord deep in my heart! That is so sweet. And I know what I'm supposed to do now when a certain someone plays that "game" with me. ha You've opened my eyes to quite a lot about myself. Thanks! Mississippi

© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.