Dear friends, I'm so happy to have Trish Fuhlendorf back with us today. I love this post she's written for us about control. It's a good word for us, especially right now, because we in no way want to interfere with whatever God wants to do in our pre-believers. Love you! ~Dineen
Lessons Around the Mountain
by Trish Fuhlendorf
I recently took a personality profile called the DISC for my job. It’s referred to as a talent insights report. D-I-S-C breaks down as follows: D=Dominance, I=Influence, S=Steadiness and C=Compliance.
Shocker of all shockers, I am high “I” (Influencer) and high “D” (Dominance). In layman’s terms, my personality can be summarized as controlling. One of my husband’s most frequently used expressions is, “your greatest strength is your greatest weakness.” True, indeed. My personality is perfect in my profession. As a matter of fact, all of my colleagues on my team who hold the same job are also high “I” and high “D”. I guess we controlling types just naturally gravitate to sales oriented work.
Here in lies the problem with being controlling; it does not work in our relationship with God. Jesus tells us that we are to lay down our cross and follow Him, or in other words, completely surrender. For a high “I,” high “D,” this is my daily battle. As Joyce Meyer once said, “God doesn’t fail us when we stumble. He just says, “Another time around the mountain, my child.”
Flashback to 1998 when God saved me and suddenly I found myself in an unequally yoked marriage with all the heartbreak that this implies. I remember thinking, “my worldview has completely changed; now Stu and I have nothing in common.” In addition to this, we also had to contend with the other huge thorn in our marriage, addiction to alcohol.
So in comes Trish, the bull in the china shop; ready to take charge! “If I can get Stu saved, eventually he will get sober, we will have the same world view, and life will be perfect”. So began my first trip around the mountain. I would leave Christian books on his bedside table. I would post scriptures on the inside of our medicine cabinet (subtle, right?). And last, but not least, I would plot and plan as to how to surround him with godly men that would of course, influence him. I can almost hear God laughing as I write.
As I was putting my plan into action, I continued to study God’s Word. I kept finding scriptures like John 15:16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you” and 1 Corinthians 2:14 ” The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” I asked myself, “How can I fill Stu with the Holy Spirit, so that he understands?” I can’t. This is something that only God can do.
Initially, these scriptures were upsetting to me because they removed me from the equation. After lots of prayer and reflection I learned that it was all about God’s work in Stu. My job was to fully surrender. My only “control” if you will, was prayer. Although prayers are not intended as a way of controlling God, they are our way of being in relationship with Him; our way to fully surrender our spouses to Him. To know that I no longer needed to orchestrate my husband’s salvation was freeing.
It is exhausting trying to control someone else’s life. And while I learned an important lesson during this time of my life, still my personality and natural impulse in life is to control. I am a mountain girl after all.
Side Note: I asked Stu what topic he thought I should write on. He said, “Tell everyone what a control freak you were during our unequally yoked years.” No offense taken.
Trish Fuhlendorf is first and foremost a lover and follower of Jesus Christ. She is a wife, married 27 years. God saved her in her mid thirties, then her husband about 10 years later. She is a tireless advocate for the covenant of marriage and has a love and compassion for those in the bondage of addiction. She is a Regional Manager for K-LOVE and Air1, a mother of 2 adult children, loves her home state of Colorado, her 2 big dogs, cooking and exercise (to off-set the cooking).