My Failure to Control Myself And WW Linkup

Trying to Control

I find it funny (or sad—you pick!) that, not only can I have trouble with being too controlling with my hubby, but I can go to the other extreme and not be controlling enough—of at least myself!

[Tweet “My failure with control is contradictory! #whatsupwiththat? #controlfreak #outofcontrol”]

I’m continuing the series—My Failures, God’s Inroads—with a look at the other side of the coin of control . . . my lack of self-control.  

Perhaps I had this problem because I was so busy trying to control my husband’s sins and faults that I lost control of my own life.

My prolonged and futile attempts to control my husband’s heart resulted in frustration and resentment, which in time, I let develop into a loss of control of my heart. This manifested in two ways . . .

1. I lost control by indulging in self-pity.

I gave my mind permission to run amuck with anger—ruminating on all the ways my spouse had failed me. Which in time led to the next problem . . .

2. I lost control by choosing to escape by means of self-deception and withdrawal.

This pains me to share and has been something only my husband and a few select friends have been made aware of up to this point. Back in our messiest days, I wanted so badly to be free of my husband and marriage that I escaped into a fantasy world of sorts. I began to indulge silent crushes that I had on certain men in my life in the confines of my mind.

During that time I never let these “infatuations” be known to anyone—including the men in my fantasies. So, thank the Lord, it never moved from fantasy to reality. However, as Jesus points out in Mt. 5:27-28, “thinking of another lustfully” or even romantically is the same as having an affair.

I think I was letting this effort “to escape” become a way to retaliate inwardly against my husband—rejecting him and the marriage we had together.

But God was so gracious to me. He kept opening my eyes and softening my heart, revealing these ugly sins for what they were. #hatred #adultery

So one day, I came to my husband and confessed how I’d indulged in my feelings of attraction to certain other men (over a series of years). My husband graciously forgave me. And it was probably at about that same time that I realized that I needed to “take captive” (2 Cor. 10:5) my habit of ruminating on my husband’s sins as well. One was feeding into the other in the worst possible way! 🙁

God also revealed to me that  . . .

[Tweet “I didn’t have to let every random thought run through my mind—making my heart its’ home. “]

God used my brokenness and honesty over these horrible sins to break me free from their chains. 🙂

Now control of my thoughts—bringing them under God’s control—is and has been one of my top priorities!

That was a dark chapter in my life that I’ve never wanted to talk about or reveal—at least not here! But God has been gently nudging me to talk about it—to write about it. And my hope is that if you are struggling in this same way, you will see the red flags for what they are and begin to draw near to God, instead of nursing those tempting indulgences.

What is one failure you’ve seen God use to get your attention?

 

What area of your life is in need of self-control with God’s help and power?

 

[Tweet “Christian bloggers, come and join me for our Wedded Wednesday Linkup! #messymarriage”]


As some of you may already know, I’m taking the month of June off so that I can get our house ready to put on the market in July. I’ve tried to do this without pulling away from my blog, ministry or coaching, but can’t seem to manage it. So I am, with great trepidation and sadness, pulling away for one month from everything. The Wedded Wednesday linkups will resume in July, so I hope you’ll join me then when I return! And I’d appreciate it if you’d pray for me in this huge endeavor! Thanks so much!

P.S. Here’s a couple more photos from our vacation celebrating our son, Jordan’s graduation with an MDiv degree, as well as a sweet visit with good blogging buddy, Mary Geisen from Passage Through Grace! Blessings all the way around! 🙂

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 2.42.15 PM

Mary Meeting

Joining with my friends at Giving Up on Perfect, A Little R & R Wednesdays, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Coffee and Conversation, Coffee for Your Heart, Sitting Among Friends, Nanahood, Moments of Hope, Family, Friendship and Faith, DanceWithJesusFriday and Wholehearted Wednesday.

Join our Wedded Wednesday Linkup!
Add any links that are uplifting, helpful and encouraging to our spiritual lives, marriages and families! Be sure to add a link on your blog back to Wedded Wednesday or Messy Marriage as well. For Wedded Wednesday guidelines and buttons, click here.

Messy Marriage

 

  • Tiffiney Holmes

    Hi Beth, Yee-haw! I’m the first to the party!

    As always, thank you for pointing out ways that we threaten the survival of our own marriage. In the past, I’ve struggled greatly with points one and two. And to be honest, keeping my heart in check in a continual battle. Thanks so much for not only sharing your heart but for pointing us back to the One who can help us to regain control. Blessings to you – and love the picture of your lovely daughter-in-love and your son.

    • So glad you got the first spot, Tiffiney! Always glad to have you in the linkup and joining the conversation down here. I’m so glad to know that you’ve put those kinds of habits in your past, but as you’ve said, it is a continual battle. We should never get too comfortable or that’s when Satan will pounce. I’m glad to share my story, as long as it helps those who might veer down this same path. I want to wave the warning flags so that they will avoid the pitfalls I fell into! Thanks for your kindness to me, my friend!

  • JosephPote

    Yes, letting resentment grow definitely leaves one vulnerable to excusing one’s own misbehavior. I’ve found that true in myself.

    Thank you, Beth, for sharing this so transparently.

    And I love your vacation pic’s! Good to see you and Mary spending time together.

    Blessings to you, my friend!

    • Yes, I see that very clearly now, but back then, not-so-much! I appreciate your kind words, Joseph (by the way, I’ve called you Joe for a long time now and finally woke up one day to the realization that your profile name has always been “Joseph”–not Joe! Sorry for neglecting to pay attention to that detail! I’ll be referring to you as Joseph from now on!). And thanks for always being a supporter of mine. I truly appreciate it, “Joseph!” 😉

      • JosephPote

        Please call me Joe! All my friends do and I count you a friend.

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Wow, Beth…your transparency and unflinching honesty in this post are truly an inspiration. I am SO impressed with your commitment to help others who are facing similar crises, at no little personal cost to yourself.

    My failing has been a retreat, abetted by physical circumstance, into a rather hard shell in which things like tenderness and romance have been laid down so firmly that I no longer can remember what they felt like. It’s easy to hide behind illness, but the truth is that I adopted mechanisms that helped me fight the physical deterioration because they were familiar, and I was confident they would be effective. I’m still here, and arguably doing better than I might otherwise, but there has been a cost – and my wife has paid much of it.

    I hope all goes well with the real estate adventure during June, and will be praying for you. God willing, I will still be here on your return. (Heck, I HAVE to be…the new Star Trek film is coming out in July…can’t miss that!)

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/05/your-dying-spouse-159-keeping-promises.html

    • When I was in that mode, I was oblivious to the way it was hurting my relationship, Andrew. I viewed it as an escape that helped to ease the pain, if only temporarily. But I finally realized that it was causing even greater pain and terrible destruction to my life and marriage. It just wasn’t worth the temporary boost I felt. And I agree that we might not choose the same escapes, but if we are in pain for a prolonged time, we find some kind of escape that is often destructive and alienating. I finally realized that the Lord had to be the One I escaped to. He was the only One who gave me that total soul satisfaction anyway.

      Thank you for your well wishes regarding the house. I appreciate and need your prayers, my friend! I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and have been flaring in my knee and shoulder since April, so this is going to be an interesting endeavor! I’m asking people to pray specifically for my health and stamina. You know a bit about that, don’t you?! You will remain in my daily prayers, my friend and I’ll be checking on your blog periodically even in June. I want to stay aware of how you’re doing. 🙂

  • Amen !thank God for your testimony of faith!
    Thank you for your transparency.
    Your photo with Mary is cute.so happy you both had fun.
    God bless you Beth

    • I’m so glad it was encouraging to you, Ifeoma. And yes, my time with Mary was really fun. I love getting to meet other bloggers. So anytime you are in the St. Louis region, let me know, Ifeoma!

      • Hey Beth, where is St Louis 😊 you never know where my travels will take me???
        With much love
        God bless

  • Susan

    How fun you met up with Mary! I met her at Allume this past October!! Thanks for the linkup.

    • Yes, I’ve wanted to meet her face-to-face for a long time. I’m just glad we were able to make it happen. Thanks for joining the linkup, Susan. 🙂

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  • So neat that you were able to meet Mary! Love this post, appreciate your honesty about your own struggles. We all have them and to confess them, as you said, is the first step toward healing and deliverance.

    Praying for you this month as you ready your house..such a big job. We make our big move next week to Tennessee to be near our miracle grandbaby. Praying for all things to fall into place. Love to you! ♥ P.S. I loved all of your pictures of graduation and vacay!!

    • As you know, Nannette, it’s a lot of fun to meet our bloggy friends in person! 😉 And I’m also glad when we can meet the spouses of the bloggers, like you, too! I met Linda Stoll and Sheila Kimball and their hubbies back in May of 2014 and I still think back on that fondly. Linda’s husband Tim is a real hoot–reminds me of you and Doug!

      Thank you for your encouragement on this post. It was a chapter in my past that I’d like to forget or rewrite, but know that God can use it to reach those who have fallen into that same trap.

      Thanks also for the prayers on our move. Pray that my rheumatoid arthritis calms down. I’ve been flaring in my shoulder and one of my knees since April, but yet I will press on! This job has to be done! One of the main reasons we are moving is because I can’t manage this big house when my health issues crop up. And what fun that you and Doug are moving closer to your grandbaby! That’s another hope we have in freeing ourselves of a mortgage. Who knows where God might lead??! Hugs to you!

  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Beth,
    Thank you for being brave enough to share your struggle and God’s victory. Taking thoughts captive to God (no matter what kind of thoughts they are) can be a struggle for all of us. I sometimes have to literally picture myself gathering up my unwanted thoughts in a net and dragging them to the feet of Jesus and saying, “Here please take these…I can’t handle them on my own…they’re yours.” Thank you for the encouragement to keep doing this – there’s a lot a stake.
    Blessings,
    Bev
    ps. Will miss you in June…best wishes on the preparations!

    • Yes, Bev, there’s so much power in simply taking our sinful thoughts captive and replacing them with God’s truth. I like that idea about imagining that. I am a very visual person and do a lot of that when I am praying–imagining being in the presence of Christ–which of course I am! Thanks for encouraging me, my friend!

  • Oh Beth, I’m gonna miss you! I know it’ll be a busy month, but I already can’t wait till it’s July ;-)! Thank you, once again, for sharing your story to encourage us in ours… I can so relate to this struggle, although my method of escape was/is different. But, yes, the conviction is there to repent and seek forgiveness. I only pray my dh is as gracious as yours…
    Praying also that things go smoothly for you, and looking forward to having you back to us! I appreciate all you do for your readers and blogging friends 🙂

    • Oh yes, Pat, it will be a VERY busy month. I’m kind of dreading it, but know that it must be done. However, I probably need a break from the blog, quite honestly. I love the people, but the pressure of it all can wear on a person. But nothing like going out on a bang with this post! It was totally a God-motivated move. I would have kept putting it off if it had been up to me. I’m always glad to hear that I’m not alone in this kind of struggle–even if it manifests somewhat differently in other’s lives. That almost sounds bad–like misery loves company! But it is a great thing to know that there are others who understand. Thanks for being willing to be one of those. 🙂

  • Deborah Will

    Beth I love how you share your struggles so that other women can learn from it.

    Love the pictures. Congratulations on your son’s graduation and jealous you got to meet Mary.

    Going to miss you in June, but will be back with you in July the Lord willing.

    • Thank you, Deborah. I do it because I pray God can use it to minister to others and open their eyes to the pitfalls I fell into. If it ministers to one person, my confession will be worth it! Thank you for your kind words about the pictures, my son and my lovely meeting with Mary. It’s always great to meet bloggers in person. Maybe you’ll get that chance with Mary someday!

  • This business of self-control is huge. Just minutes ago in the mini-van I was listening to Chuck Swindoll say that the only thing in the world that will work for you for nothing is your habits. I’m going to be thinking about that all day, because I’ve got some work to do there. I’m so glad that you are taking time to tend to the details of your home. I’m going to be doing some adjusting of the schedule as well this summer — a full time summer job after having been home with the boys for 22 years. I can’t even imagine what it’s going to do to my writing/blogging (not to mention the garden!) Blessings, Beth. Thanks for your ministry of words and wisdom here in this space.

    • Yes, self-control is so very important, Michele. And love what you shared about Chuck’s words. He is a very wise man. Sounds like you’re going to be equally as busy as me this summer. Yep, sometimes something’s got to give. Hope that you find the right balance, my friend, and thanks for your kind words.

  • Oh I LOVE that you and Mary got to get together. What a blest time that must have been for you both. Trying not to be envious way out here on the east coast!!

    Love you guys …

    ;-}

    • You know, she said to me that you are one other blogger she’d love to meet. She said that Tim is from Ohio (maybe even Cincinnati, correct?). You will have to talk Tim into taking a road trip out her way! Thanks for your sweet support, my friend!

  • NanaHood

    Such sweet, sweet pictures! And what a truth filled story. Blessings to you my new blogger friend!

    • Thank you, Teresa. I appreciate your kind words and encouragement!

  • Mary

    You are so courageous Beth! Sharing the deepest pieces of who you are and the vulnerability that comes with the territory is a blessing. We need to show others who we really are and use that to encourage others in their own walks.

    I loved meeting you as you know! It was such a sweet gift last week. Praying June and preparations go smoothly. Love you!

    • I do hope so, Mary. It was done with great trepidation, but trusting that God knows what He’s doing by encouraging me to share. I do think it could minister to those who had no idea of that kind of struggle for, of all people, a pastor’s wife! But we are human too!

      And it was our pleasure to meet with you! We loved that park that we met at as well. It was a beautiful spot and great restaurant. Btw, I’m encouraging Linda to talk Tim into a road trip out to Ohio! Maybe that meeting will happen one day! Love ya!

  • Ugh—you had to mention self-pity. 🙁 That’s something I struggle with, too. I can usually catch myself earlier on diving into it now than I could when I was younger, but it still doesn’t mean that I don’t indulge it periodically anyway. Lord, have mercy. Blessings to you as you prepare getting your house on the market! Congrats to your son on his MDiv degree!!!

    • Oh yes, that’s been a problem for me for quite some time, Lisa. I’m still trying to retrain my brain to go from the negative to the positive through gratitude to God. That may take me many years to even feel as if there’s movement, but I trust that God can solidify my efforts with His power and my persistence. I’m glad that you’ve been learning, as I have, how to nip those pesky pity-filled thoughts in the bud. And thank you for your kind words about my son. We are super proud of him and his wife Sarah (who got her bachelors the week before!).

  • Marie

    Good morning sweet friend! I’m so proud of you and admire you for your transparency and honesty. You are a true blessing and I’m thankful that God put you in my path those many years ago. I struggle still with self-pity because it takes me so long to give control over to God. Oh the pain I would be spared if I would come to Him first! Praying for you & Gary as you prepare your house to sell. Love you Beth

    • Thank you so much for stopping by, Marie! You are one of those select friends that knows about this, aren’t you?! Thank you for your kind words to me and the friendship and support that you’ve given me over the years. I don’t know what I would do without you! And yes, I agree that we both should wise up and realize that God’s got our backs–no need to worry or feel sorry for ourselves. Thank you for your prayer support through the years and as I work on our house. I’ll sure need you to pray daily for that, my friend! Hugs to you and looking forward to our lunch together tomorrow, birthday girl! 😉

  • Beth, Your honesty and openness always encourage me. I understand your escape mechanism all to well. It is something that I had to recognize as warfare on my mind and ask God to capture my thoughts and not let my thoughts capture me. Thank you always for sharing with us at #SittingAmongFriends and for hosting this linkup. You will be missed this month. Blessed travel and packing to you and your family. Thanks for sharing your travel adventures with us.

    • Thank you for your encouragement here, Jaime. It’s always great to have you join the conversation. And I’m glad you understand this problem. It’s helpful to me. Lessens my sense of shame, though I know that God has forgiven me.

      I’m glad to be a part of your linkup and blogging community. And will miss you and so many others as I venture into June with scrub and paint brush in hand! Hugs to you!

  • Peggy

    Oh WOW Beth … was this God’s divine interception and destination for me or what?

    I follow your link-up at Lori’s and this whole concept and series IS meant for me … and probably your entire blog on “Messy Marriages” … mine certainly meets that criteria. However, I came here just following Lori’s rules and yet I know God had yours in particular in mind for me. Need I say more. I’m really reflecting on your questions but not answering here.

    Self-control or lack …speaking to the choir here. Where do I begin to tell you how your “real, raw and redemptive” writing here and others that I peeked at … speak volumes of such pure transparency and honesty that certainly invite us to do the same!!!?

    Hoping this with all my heart: “God used my brokenness and honesty over these horrible sins to break me free from their chains.” My failures and my messes in my own marriage come up over and over again.

    Such profound points and wisdom! Thank you so much! Hopefully, I’ll have more time to explore the rest of this series and pass by here again. May God continue to bless you and your marriage (and ministry to others like me). Oh, and I too, love the photos. Congrats to your son! WOW!

    ~Peggy

    • I’m so glad you found this to be helpful and encouraging, Peggy. You are the kind of person I was hoping God might draw here. And so glad that Lori’s blog was a catalyst for us to meet. She’s a sweetheart! Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words to me. You’ve made my day, my newfound friend!

  • pioneerpat1

    Very interesting. Something I have to remember about other people who are always trying to control me. They do it because they think that they need to control something and it much easier to control others than myself. I have always said that I can run your life really good but I really need to remember that I have three or four tractor trailers of stuff of mine own I need to deal with.

    • Yes, you’re right, Patrick. They are really trying to control something or someone because they feel so out of control in their own hearts. Agreed about the load we each carry. We are not equipped to carry our problems and someone else’s. We can help, but never control or take over both their load and ours. Thanks for your kind words and joining the conversation, my friend!

  • Beth, thank you for your honesty, it ministers to me today. Bless you, sister.

    • I’m so glad that it did, Lora. Thanks for joining the conversation.

  • Andrea Hester

    Thanks for beingredients so honest! If we were all so honest, we wouldn’t feel as lost and lonely and would probably find the help or support we desperately need.

    • Glad to be able to help, Andrea! I agree. I think there are many others who’ve struggled in this same or similar way but would fear the shame or consequences of divulging it openly. I totally get that and feel like that’s part of my calling–to go where others fear to tread. Thanks for your kind words.

  • Beth,
    I love your transparency and honesty. Thank you for sharing pieces of your story, and for the opportunity to share and connect in the link-up too. Congrats to your son on graduating with his MDiv–that is awesome and quite the accomplishment! Wishing you and your family a very blessed week!

    • Thank you for stopping by to encourage me, Jed. This wasn’t easy to do, but God’s been gently nudging me to come out with it for many, many years. As a pastor’s wife, there’s double the consequences involved. But I’m trusting God to protect me and provide for others through my story. And yes, we are so proud of our son’s accomplishments. We can’t wait to see what God does with him and his sweet wife in the days ahead!

  • betty-wiseheartedwomen.blogspo

    Great points on controlling.. I battle it daily, when to control,who to control, what to control, each areas takes a little different perspective. One thing i remind myself it’s never ever wrong timing, wrong way, wrong person to allow to control my life and trust Him to control others. Perfect post for me today. Thanks.

    • Yes, letting God control those people in our lives is the way to go, Betty! Thanks so much for joining the conversation and encouraging me!

  • I will miss you while you are gone! But know I am praying for a smooth transition and for God to give you rest and peace throughout it all!

    Taking captive every thought. Amen! That slow fade starts right there in the depths of those thoughts. Thank you for this reminder, friend!

    And thank you so much for sharing your hope-filled posts with us at #MomentsofHope!
    Hugs,
    Lori

    • I’ve missed you, Lori, and so many of my other bloggy friends this past June, but it was soooo needed! Not just for my house but for my heart. I’ll be sharing about a piece of it tonight when my linkup returns–only this time as “From Messes to Messages” instead of Wedded Wed. I hope you’ll join me! And thanks so much for your prayers. I’m certain that God used those to soften my heart over this very monumental month.

      Agreed, on taking captive the thoughts. It’s a constant battle, especially if you’ve let it become a habit in your life. But I’m here to testify that God can change that mindset–if only day-by-day, moment-by-moment.

      You’re quite welcome and thanks so much for coming by to encourage me, my friend! I can’t wait to visit your place and see how things have been going for you!

  • Beth, I had surgery last week, so I’m a week behind. I appreciate your openness and courage in sharing. I’m reminded of Paul who poured himself out like a drink offering. I’ve also noticed that we work the hardest to control others when we feel out of control. A good reminder that self-control—not other control—is a fruit of the Spirit! May God do more than you can ask or imagine during your time off!

    • From last I heard, your lump was not cancerous, correct? I do hope that is the case and will be checking in on you again tomorrow for sure! But yes, that’s a perfect example of what I want this post to do going forward–be a drink offering poured out for others to learn from and avoid my bad choices. Agreed on the issue of control. Funny how that works! 😉 Will be pursuing that “fruit of the Spirit” alongside you, my friend. It’s summertime so the “fruit” should be plentiful! ha! Thank you for your kind encouragement to me! Can’t wait to reconnect! Btw, my linkup returns this evening but with a new name “From Messes to Messages.” I hope you’ll join me!

      • Yes, so thankful that it was a honey dew-sized benign cystic mass. All gone, 6 weeks today! I filled up the extra space with ice cream while I was recovering!

  • Dear Beth

    Well I can identify with this! Self-pity, withdrawal, and certainly nursing those tempting indulgences. I can’t imagine confessing out loud – to anyone. I’ve blogged all kinds of things but I don’t think I’ve ever actually *said*.

    I am going to be on the road next week and I’m taking a little pocket New Testament to read. I love the Gospels and I’d like to create new indulgences like reading Scriptures I just like, praying, wearing my cross.

    Best of luck with the house! I’ll pray for you every night — regular task, good for building concentration.

    David

    • I’m sure you can, David. And confessing out loud is perhaps a challenge that’s down the road for you as you gain strength and faith. But know that it is sooo freeing! This post probably was instrumental in God moving in my heart this past month in a HUGE way–unexpected way too. I thought I was only getting my “house” in order and not my heart too! 😉 I’ll have to stop by your blog to see if there’s anything new you’ve shared.

      And don’t worry about how much or how often you respond here or elsewhere. I know you get to it when you can. But I’m thrilled that you are taking a NT with you to read on the road. Yes, the gospels are great. I loved studying Matthew last year, but have to say that I’m actually enjoying 1 Samuel a bit more. I suppose I relate to much of it, is why. Keep on focusing your eyes on the Lord, especially when you feel weak.

      Thank you for the well-wishes. I appreciate and I’m certain benefited from the prayers. I’ll be sharing a snapshot each week starting tonight regarding my month long “purge” here at MM. So I hope you’ll check back when you can. Thanks for your friendship and support!

  • bluecottonmemory

    Praying that there is room in your June for refreshing – and that you have contentment with the progress of your projects! Sending hugs your way!

    • There was a bit of refreshing here and there, especially once the biggest push near the beginning of the month was done–culminating in, of all dreaded things, a garage sale! ha! I’ll be sharing more about my month long purge/project tonight as I return with a newly renamed linkup – “From Messes to Messages.” I hope you’ll stop by and linkup if you’re actively blogging. Thank you, Maryleigh, for your kind words and “cyber-hugs!” They are greatly appreciated and sent back to you on the eastern facing winds! 😉

  • Beth, just wanted you to know I’m praying for you this morning! Blessings, my friend!

    • Thank you so much, Donna! I appreciated and valued every prayer sent up for me this past month. God did some major changes on my heart and not just my house! I’ll be back with a newly named linkup, “From Messes to Message” that I hope you’ll be a part of! Hugs to you!