Are there out-of-control behaviors, actions or beliefs in your life that keep you from pursuing God and becoming your best? Why do we continue to indulge in these behaviors until it gets out of control?
Many times, you may feel entitled to take part in the behaviors. Entitlement: Now here's a word we don't see much in America. Entitlement is a very powerful word for those who have something controlling them that they need to get control over.
Randall, a successful CEO, was a deacon in the United Methodist Church. He was generous both in time and money toward his church and the community. Randall was 54 years old and has three wonderful, grown daughters who are all married and have small children themselves.
Randall likes to play golf. Now, I don't mean shooting a few holes here and there a couple times a month. Randall throughout his entire adult life played golf Thursday morning and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 or 2 in the afternoon. He would regularly get off work and hit the range, eat at the club and come home at 8 p.m., just in time to put his children to bed or help out a little before he went to bed.
Randall was irrational about golf. "I work hard, make good money and provide for everybody; why can't I at least play golf?"
He would get irate if there was any change in his golf routine. He would miss dance recitals, cheerleading competitions and one of his daughter's team's state championship event to play golf. You see, Randall felt entitled to play golf, especially on Saturday.
Randall not only felt entitled, he was most "definitely" entitled to his golf. He can see now how golf was a higher priority than his time with his precious wife and daughters and how he bullied them through this felt entitlement.
You see, entitlement is not a thought process. Entitlement is an emotion. Entitlement is an emotional process in which a person can block out logic or even common sense. Entitlement is a tricky emotion because it often blinds those who are having it.
Most of us have had experiences of being entitled to watch our television show; eat the last doughnut or piece of pizza; or stay longer at the office, gym or with your parents. Oh, and how about those new toys, gadgets and much-needed clothes, home repairs or other wonderful things we can feel entitled to?
Now, this entitlement permeates the area of our life that has control over us. Just go over conversations or even arguments you have had over the area that might be out of control. You can assess whether they were logical or emotional.
This entitlement feeling or attitude doesn't stop with just those around us; it goes a little further. Many people who have something controlling them have a sense of entitlement also toward God. It's as if in their heart of hearts they say to the Almighty, "You can have some parts of my life, but don't you touch that one!"
This entitlement toward God becomes an internal battle for those who are being controlled by something. You see, God is love, and He really does have our best interest at heart. He is saying, "Please give me this area of your life. It's hurting you and those you love. Please, I want to see you free and capable; give me this area of your life."
The person who has an out-of-control behavior will often just flat out say, "No." Now, this struggle is normal for anyone who is growing spiritually; as time passes, this entitlement can move into unwillingness, disobedience and even rebellion against a loving Father.
If you have an area that you consider is out of control in your life, examine the entitlement you have with yourself, significant others in your life and God. Evaluate yourself by asking yourself these questions: What are the areas that are out of control in your life? Do you feel entitled to these behaviors? Have you demonstrated entitlement toward others and God?
One of the tell-tale signs that you might have a behavior that is controlling you is losses as a result of that behavior. Losses come in many forms; some are more obvious, and some can go unnoticed but still be a significant loss.
For some, their out-of-control anger, resentment, gossip, lying, inability to be flexible, pornography or any other behaviors may have cost them a job. I've known several men who flirt; view pornography; and are arrogant, lazy, entitled or ungrateful, and who have lost their job because of it. If the behavior you think might be controlling you has cost you a job, this would be an obvious sign that this is a behavior you definitely need to get control over.
Lost opportunities are another loss that people experience due to out-of-control behavior. I have heard someone tell the story of how a CEO of a large company wanted to fill a very lucrative vice-president position. He watched the men he was considering for this position in the cafeteria. The one man who was a very strong candidate was walking through the food line. He placed his food and bread on his platter. He grabbed a piece of butter, which cost 3 cents and placed it under his bread so the clerk at the checkout couldn't see the butter.
The CEO thought this man was dishonest and willing to take short cuts. That 3 cents cost this man many hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Losses or opportunities come in many forms, like not going to college, not taking the risk to start a company, not asking to get involved with an opportunity, not investing in real estate or the market or simply not getting that promotion. If you feel your behavior has cost you some opportunities, it may be controlling you and you need to get control over it.
Relationships are another key loss due to something that is controlling you. I remember watching a cute movie about a man who was obsessed with a baseball team. He made several mistakes in the relationship, preferring the team to his girlfriend, and almost lost the relationship.
If you have something controlling you, there are several relationships you could potentially lose. You could lose relationships at work. You could lose relationships of people you have known a long time. You could even damage, distance or lose family relationships.
I have even known men and women who have lost a spouse or two due to out-of-control behavior. The loss of a relationship with your children could also be a result of something controlling you that you need to get control of.
Financial consequences are also a possible reality for those who have an out-of-control behavior. The person whose out-of-control behavior is needing attention could spend endless money on clothes, cars and houses, creating a huge amount of debt. Someone whose out-of-control behavior is procrastination could have their credit impacted, having caused financial consequences. Out-of-control behavior that has the consequence of divorce has a huge financial loss due to their out-of-control behavior.
The loss of ministry opportunities can also be a loss for out-of-control behavior. So many reading these pages are looking for God to use them in some manner. You have had a spiritual itch to get involved in some act of serving God. I'm not referring to full-time ministry; this could simply mean singing in the choir. Your out-of-control behavior may have stopped you because of "your reputation." This out-of-control behavior could also have stopped you from seeking out your ministry due to feelings of guilt, shame or a sense of separateness that you feel from others.
I have seen so many people who, once they were able to get control over what was controlling them, felt instantly free to pursue service toward God of one kind or another. Some felt free to be able to lead a small group in their home or to go to the mission field.
Check over your life. Do you regret not pursuing service to God in some way?
If you have lost ministry opportunities due to a behavior that has control over you, this could be a sign of out-of-control behavior. Identifying the things controlling your life will put you well on your way to the freedom God desires for you.
Doug Weiss, Ph.D., is a nationally known author, speaker and licensed psychologist. He is the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the author of several books, including Get A Grip. You may contact Dr. Weiss via his website, drdougweiss.com; on hisFacebook; by phone at 719-278-3708 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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