Tag Archives: Manipulation

Letting God think He has Control

I’ve talked before about how I’m a manipulator and how I’ve tried to use God to get what I want. But I’ve not yet talked about how I try to fake out God.

As much as I don’t want to admit it, I love having control. I love thinking that due to my hard work or expertise, stuff gets done. I appreciate responsibility over certain things because it means that I have power and am able to work my magic to see things through to the end (much like Hermione Granger).

I like to let God think He has control over certain areas of my life. I’ll pray or journal about what’s going on in my life, but leave out the details/situations that I’d prefer to handle myself.

A prayer may go something like this: “Lord, I’m really struggling with being content in this stage of life, so if You could help me be content that’d be great.”

Meanwhile, in my head, I’m saying to myself: “But I’ll continue to pin wedding ideas on Pinterest, talk obsessively about this guy I have a crush on, not spend time in the Word seeking out Truth for my life, and eventually I’ll get over this discontentment when I feel like it…”

I’m sure God hears that and gives me this look:

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The problem with this nasty idol of control is that I really don’t have it. Even in my sinfulness, God has control. He is the one orchestrating my every move, even when I think it’s on me.

As a basketball player, one of my favorite moves was a fake reverse dribble. That could be a move my mom made up, but whatever. When I was younger and more nimble (aka: high school), I could fake out a defender and get the ball down the floor with one swift, fluid movement (for those of you wondering if I’ve ever been “swift” or “fluid” the answer is, yes, at one point in my life I was BOTH of those things). I loved it. I was in control. I was dictating the moves on the court.

I can’t do that with God. He knows my every move before I do. I’ll never be one step ahead. As much as I want to hold on to certain areas or actions in my life, ultimately I have no control over them. The Bible says that God knows me so well, even the hairs on my head are numbered! How can I think that the One who knows me that well doesn’t know my heart and motive?

The only thing I can control is my surrender to the Most High King.

Control is simply an illusion that I need to let go of.

May we all be willing to truly surrender to God and live in the freedom of having no control.

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The Process of Maniupulation

Remember last week when I talked about using my high level of holiness to get the guy? Well, this week I’m going to talk about how I was pretty sure I could manipulate God with my prayers.

Ever heard the phrase, “blind love”? Yeah…we’ll blame it on that…

At one point in the past I was dating someone that I could have seen myself marrying at the time. Going in to the relationship I really wanted it to be different than the relationships I had been in previously. I desired for this go-round to be God-honoring, making Christ the center of our lives individually and collectively.

And I pretty much faked myself out for the majority of the relationship.

I recently looked through my journal from that time period and saw pages flooded with prayers that said things like, “Lord, please draw us both in to you,” and “Father, my desire is to honor You and You alone,” and also, “God if this ever becomes about anything other than You, I pray You end it.”

Shortly after this relationship ended (and when I say shortly, I mean the next day), I read Timothy Keller’s book “Counterfeit Gods.” Through reading this book I began to realize that I was trying to manipulate God with my prayers. Even though I was praying “Christian-y” prayers, my heart was saying something completely different. My desire wasn’t necessarily to honor God, it was just to be with this man. In my heart what I meant was, “Lord, I really like this guy, and You know that…so, just make it happen. We both love You, and this ‘season of dating’ is just for kicks. I know we’re both good to go with You.”

My deepest hearts desire during that season was just to get through and move on to the next stage with this guy. I thought that just because I was praying ‘good prayers’ about my relationship that it would work out my way. I didn’t really care what God’s way was at the time. I was saying/writing these prayers just to look good to God and to keep the guy. Did you catch the part earlier when I said the relationship ended? Yeah, wasn’t the best plan.

So what’s the point in this story? Don’t make prayer all about you. When Jesus teaches His disciples how to pray in Matthew chapter 6 (aka The Lord’s Prayer), He doesn’t tell them to fake God out and to pray with selfish motives. He tells them to recognize God’s holiness and praise Him for it, to seek God’s will, to pray for daily provision, to pray for forgiveness, to seek what God has for them, not what they have for God.

Now, do I believe we should go to the Father with our concerns, desires, etc.? Yes. But do I think I should continue in a pattern of trying to fake God out to get what I want? No.

My challenge for the week: be honest with yourself and your motives in your prayer life. Is prayer a way for God to shape you or for you to shape God?

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