Are You an Encourager or a Controller?

Moving to a new town always offers opportunities to explore the area. And although Clarksville isn’t new to me, it is new to my two younger children. Since moving here this summer, we have stayed busy by going to the pool, visiting several parks in the area, shopping at used bookstores, and playing outside in our neighborhood.

One week, I decided to take the kids on the nearby army post, Ft. Campbell, for the morning. There is a nice playground and lots of army vehicles and helicopters on display so I knew the kids would enjoy themselves.

They played hard and met several other children their ages. It was a really fun morning and I was actually proud of myself for having such a great idea.

But my mind quickly changed on the way home. Do you want to know why?

My kids were fighting over who could look out the window.

The window.

Of the minivan.

Kid #1 didn’t want Kid #2 to look out their window. So Kid #1 yelled at Kid #2 as Kid #2 cried because they wanted to look out of said window. (Did you catch all that?)

Y’all. What was I supposed to do?

I couldn’t believe the selfishness and, frankly, the ridiculousness, of the situation.

When we got home, both kids got sent to their rooms so I could have some peace and quiet. It was the dumbest fight I think I’ve witnessed between these two little monkeys.

As I thought about this argument, I realized that it wasn’t really about who could look out of which window. It was actually about selfishness and control. One child thought they had complete control of the window near their seat and this child was not going to let the other child have any part of it.

Although I don’t often find myself fighting over who can look out of my window (sigh), I do find myself being selfish and controlling. I want what I want and I want it now.

And many times, in my attempts to control a situation, I find myself comparing my accomplishments or talents to others, trying to determine if I measure up. Or if I surpass someone else. (Yes, I’m ashamed to say it but it’s true.)

Isn’t it easy for us to look at another person who is flourishing in an area where we want to be successful, and instead of cheering her on, we instead think demeaning thoughts or belittle ourselves?

Is that your default?

It isn’t always mine, but I can definitely think of some instances where I was less than enthusiastic about someone else’s success.

A few days ago, I was at the gym on the Jacob’s Ladder. Have you seen one of those? Basically it’s a never-ending ladder that you climb. It’s a full-body cardio workout, and it’s hard, y’all!

There was a sweet elderly gentleman on the elliptical next to me and we began talking. Well, actually he was doing most of the talking since I was panting and trying not to fall off. Or die.

But this sweet man started cheering me on, saying things like, “I’ve never seen anybody stay on that thing as long as you’ve been on it!” (I was only  on it for 15 minutes…) or “You’re doing great!” or “You’re almost there!”

And when I finished, he was just as happy as I was. “You did it!” he exclaimed.

I felt so proud of myself because I accomplished something I had set out to do. The reason I could complete my goal, however, was because this sweet man was next to me cheering me on the entire time. It was awesome!

I want to be that kind of cheerleader for my family. For my friends. For other moms who are raising amazing kids. For those women I’ve met online who are getting book deals and speaking at conferences.

I also want to be that cheerleader for those who are struggling. I want to encourage women who are in a difficult marriage or who are praying for prodigal children.

If we all stood together and cheered each other on (like the man at the gym did for me) instead of selfishly arguing and trying to control every situation (like my kids in the car), think how different our world would be.

Today I want to let go of my selfish and controlling nature. I want to allow Jesus to have control of my life, of my thoughts and my behaviors.

Do you think of yourself as a competitive or controlling person? What are some situations you struggle with in this area?



2 thoughts on “Are You an Encourager or a Controller?

  1. I’ve thought of this many times – how women often struggle with encouraging other women because we let comparisons and jealousy get in the way, as if her accomplishment takes away from my own. I’m cheering you on. 🙂 Merry Christmas!

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