Control: Not just a Janet Jackson song

Do you remember Janet Jackson’s song “Control” from the 80s? The song is about trying to take control of your own life. It’s catchy and my older sister did a dance to it once in a Thanksgiving video (I did very embarrassing things in said video).

I am currently working on a case study for one of my classes. We have to use an experience in ministry and reflect how we handled the situation. The idea is to find something you did wrong and then spend painstaking time pointing out each mess up.

I chose a situation that occurred this summer. The actual situation is unimportant. What is important is what the situation taught me about me.

It turns out that I like control. I know what you’re thinking, “Not you Tammy.” 🙂

I thought I was easy going. I thought I liked things organically handled but I don’t.

In some situations I can handle not being in control but in most I like having control. It is closely related to feeling safe. When I am in control I feel safe but when I am not I feel vulnerable.

I was reflecting on this case study and thinking about how I handle stress. I like to escape from stressful situations mainly because I do not have control. I sometimes drop everything I am doing when I am stressed because when I pick it back up I feel like I now have control over a situation that previously felt out of control. Does that make sense? Probably not.

It’s like when yarn gets tangled sometimes it is easier to just drop it and come back to it later. When you come back to it you can see each individual strand and your hands are relaxed and you can untangle it in no time at all.

Sometimes that is what my life and the stress feels like. If I just let go of it for a little while it might feel more manageable.

It doesn’t always work but sometimes it does.

My younger sister mentioned to me a few days ago that I am not the most easy going person. She has said this before and I have always thought it was untrue. I have just written it off as my family not knowing or understanding me.

That could be true. My family doesn’t know me because I don’t let them in or really anyone in (its sad but I’m working on it). So it could be that they don’t really know me….

Or it could be that in certain situations I feel out of control and that might make me seem high-strung.

I don’t feel high-strung. Stressed yes, frazzled yes, out of control yes but high-strung no.

But maybe I am.

Just a few weeks ago I was having tea with a friend and she said I looked tense. My first reaction was to try to hide it so that she wouldn’t have to experience me being tense. My second reaction was to realize that I was tense because I didn’t realize it until she said it and my third reaction was, “How did she see that?”

I’ve gotten really good at hiding my emotions or feelings from myself so I just kind of assumed that no one would be able to see them either. It surprises me that others can see and know things about me that I am not aware of.

So maybe I am not as easy going as I thought and perhaps my control issues go beyond where I thought they did.


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