Tag Archives: control vs. choice

Love Is Not Control

Throughout this series I want to keep bringing us to the definition of love, because we have come to think that love is yes. Now here’s the rub if God is love, and God is yes (which He is) than why isn’t love yes? Because God is not broken and we are. And while God is yes, He doesn’t always say “Yes.” And neither should we, as I wrote in the last two blogs. Love is not letting your child do whatever he/she wants, but neither is it total control.

In a broken world where we all start out self-centered, love is at least half “No” if not more. Why? Because it gives us security. Somebody loves me enough to give me boundaries, and boundaries make me feel safe. Somebody cares enough to do the hard thing and make sure I stay safe within those boundaries. Cares enough to stand up to me when I’m wrong. Cares enough to take the time and effort to correct me so I don’t crash and burn–(become addicted to food, drugs, alcohol, or porn by the time I’m an adult).

Remember how we are born; we have to learn everything. True, we have parental conditioning through those things that sit on top of our DNA and tell it how to express itself (epigenetics), but we still have developing brains that have to learn about everything. God knows everything.

And to a baby, parents know everything. We’ve had experience. Hopefully we’ve had good modeling. And hopefully, enough wisdom to know what we don’t know and get help. Also hopefully, we have enough confidence to use the education.

For a baby control is needed because they have none. So self-control in a parent is crucial to give their child what’s best in care–time, attention, and good responses to needs. Self-control as a parental necessity never stops, because the control in parental love is always changing with the need to be constantly giving more freedom until they are an adult, when the parent relinquishes control. Believe me that takes self-control too.

We could say that while love is not control, it is all about self-control: giving the amount of control that is needed at the appropriate time. A beautiful example of this was my daughter with her seven-year-old. The boys were tracked out while I was there and returned to school the day before I left. The day I left he didn’t want to go to school, and cried but went. The following day he had a stomach ache and stayed home, and the next didn’t want to go, but after listening to him, his mother said “You need to go. We all need to do hard things at times. Jeremy didn’t feel like going to work today either. I’m tired and don’t feel like taking care of the baby and Jack. I’ll bake you a cake and tonight we will have a special dinner to celebrate that we can do hard things.” So they did and it was a great success. And from time to time it gets reinforced.

It takes a lot of wisdom to know how much control to give, and when to let them try and fail. Too many choices too early are overwhelming to a child.

In the beginning there are no choices, and gradually they can choose what to play with or what to wear. Choices in food should be limited to between two healthy choices if any. Most tastes are developed and you are giving a gift of health if you help your children establish tastes and habits that are good for them. (That takes a lot of self-control on your part too.)

I’ve said many times that parental modeling is the strongest influence there is, and your self-control or lack of it will be imprinted on them. It is one of the most important things they learn from you, and most of it is caught rather than taught.

Some of you have been reading this with a nagging thought in the background, How can she say God is not controlling? because you read the Bible and think about all those laws.

I used to think that. But after writing the book about all those laws, I saw that the people He was leading were developmentally babies from 100 years of slavery when they had no choices and lost God’s ideas of what was good for them. So God spelled out His ways–which were so much better than any laws around them. They still spell out His good will (the way things work), and they never were the means to ultimate salvation, they simply made it possible for God to do whatever They (Abba, Adonai, Ruach) needed to do to protect and provide for their covenant people according to the rules of engagement in this war. Adonai was their king. You must give allegiance to a king and his laws to get protection and favors.

If you still have questions about God and law read Love’s Playbook: Cosmic Chess–the story of God’s law from Exodus through Deuteronomy. But you might like to start with book 5 which ends with the positive form of the Ten Commandments. (They were positive in Hebrew.)

We are developmental beings, a perfect place for the reality of love and freedom to be exhibited. Control is not love–never when you are adult to adult. But for parents control is built in and very important to use and not abuse, and grow out of.

Till next time…

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Steady as a Post

I’m celebrating that Thursday I sent Love’s Playbook #6 to the publisher! It’s subtitle is Cosmic Chess and it is Exodus 24 through Deuteronomy. Usually hard stuff to read!

My plan was to publish on Friday, but the final stages have always been stressful, so I paced myself, deciding to move it up to Thursday. I was doing ok but not sleeping well, and then Wednesday night I woke up one hour after going to sleep! I went back to sleep and woke up an hour later! I couldn’t believe it! So I gave getting enough sleep to God, and lay there relaxed and breathing deeply. (That is almost as good as sleeping.)

Suddenly, I was aware that I had had all kinds of opposition for the past two weeks that I hadn’t even realized. As I lay there I counted 10 ways the dark side had tried to interfere, sidetrack, derail, discourage, cause shame, anger and irritation.

It was surprising because I hadn’t really noticed.  I mean, I had noticed, it’s hard not to notice that you may be evacuated because a fire is headed toward you! But I hadn’t really thought of the implications for my project. And it was that way with every one of the things they had set up for me. I just kept going.

I knew they hated this book, and so they should. It is all about God’s goodness, Their character–Their law. It’s been the hardest one yet! And maybe the most rewarding. I learned SO much! Perhaps that is why I didn’t really notice the dark interference. It was such demanding subject matter that I was constantly aware of God, yelling “Help! what do I do with this?” or “I don’t know how to think about this!” or “How can I make this interesting?”

Looking back at all the things that could have become drama, I was so pleased. I was reminded  of a Psalm my daughter had put on her wall.

Several  years ago, during one of her hard times, she had written scriptures that were meaningful to her and posted them around her house to encourage her. One of them caught me as humorous, “You hold me steady as a post…”

It always made me smile. and it came to me that night, “You did hold me steady as a post!” I said to God in wonder. Well, maybe not quite that steady, I did have a run-in with my husband, where I firmly held my ground in a shouting match until he laughed, and it felt so good I had to tell him. “It was like finally getting to yell at my older brother and have him admit I was right!” But even with that, it was as if I was always very aware I was on holy ground, and if felt good.

It also felt so good to look back and realize I hadn’t taken their  bait, hadn’t succumbed. I had bounced through them like a buoy on the waves. And it felt triumphant! It made me confident that I would finish on Thursday, and I did! And with the least stress ever, even though the last thing I had to do went berserk. Page numbers are usually hard, but I thought I had learned enough and had it down. They went crazy and the things that were supposed to work, didn’t. So again I turned to God and said, “Help! Bind the dark side from my technology! What do I do now?” I know it sounds crazy but it works. I learned  to do that seven years ago when I started publishing my first book about finding a true self! And with that one I wasn’t working alone!

That is the point! We never have to work on anything alone; we can always turn to God. That is what the whole Bible is about: “Let Me help!” Over and over in a thousand ways, God says, “Pick Me! Turn to Me and I will fix it.”

But all of life is coming out of codependency with Mom, Dad, friends, spouse, and learning autonomy! Yes, broken autonomy. So then it’s really about, “Who will you trust?” We can be thankful for those places that teach us, “Without Me you can’t do anything but choose. The forces against you will overwhelm you unless you find your true center–your true self in Me. We give Our life to you because you need it–to make you whole–only God can give you Their life and still keep it.”

All of life can be holy ground (or wholly grounded)–God is right there to make you whole–to hold you steady as a post.

I’ll put a link here, it should be out by Tuesday or Wednesday, but I recommend you start with the first one which is short and available now:

http://amazon.com/author/arlacaraboolad

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Dealing with Default Mode

How can you “be careful how you see”? This week I’ve been struggling with someone who easily gives into fear because it has made such inroads into her psyche, through no fault of her own. I’m afraid for her that she will lose her ability to choose, which is really the only power we have.

In any addictions program, the first thing you learn is that you are powerless against the habits and urges you have set up in those hundreds of default choices you’ve made. It becomes not a path in your brain, but more a freeway of magnetic attraction or response. You lose your power.

It can happen also with fear. Hundreds of default choices, because we are all born into fear, draw us to fear instead of faith. Can we trust God? Is He real? Is He really good? Will He come through? Why doesn’t He do something? He allows bad things to happen…and on and on it goes.

In our doubts we all live in a trauma groove, in some the groove is just deeper. Will we choose faith? We don’t have to naturally possess faith. We don’t have to manufacture it. We can ask for it and God will give it.

Faith is belief in love, and love is the antidote for fear. If you weren’t well loved you will have to choose a lot–just because you want it. It is a better way to live than fear. Scripture says God is love. It also says God is freedom, so love and freedom are the same thing. Submission to God’s love makes us free to be us. If we want to do it our way, He will let us, but we will miss us. I know I say that a lot, but it is so true. And it can be scary. Especially if you are watching kids, spouses, friends go their own way.

But then too, especially then, we have to trust the Love that loves more than we do, sees all, knows all, is so creative, and is never surprised. That is where I am. If you are there too, know you aren’t alone.

There really is no other good option than trusting Love. We can’t control other adults. Can’t. Sometimes not even when we think they aren’t capable of making a good decision. All you can do is surrender that person to God’s care, and know whatever happens He will be with you and you will get through it.

Fear is the only other option we have, and that is definitely enemy territory. Don’t stay there. Choose to trust. Fear will start the inflammatory cascade that will make everything look hopeless. No matter what the outcome is, if you have no control, you have no responsibility.

I am writing this for myself, but if you need it I hope it helps you too.

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