To be honest, I never knew control was steeped in shame and insecurity. Before coming into real relationship with the Lord, I probably even admired control a little. Why not? Those I’d seen exercise it the best, the most, were those who at least seemed to me to be getting their way. And when they didn’t, there was a major price to pay for those who shared their company. Controlling hearts dominate.
Enter me. I walk into the Big WEAL (1510 AM Gospel station) studio with Luguzy Atkins to promote Poetic Keys, our spoken word & eclectic sounds CD due to release this March. Ditra Miller of DitraCreative had done the promotional work to get us the interview with DJ Ronnie Ron.
Yay, right? Ummmm, kind of…I mean YES, yay, definitely…but there’s some revelation I had to experience before I could share this yay. Here it goes…
The CD skipped. From the beginning, several times, on each of the first three songs. We had to cut Drink before it even got to the best part. I was devastated. Visibly devastated. Tearfully devastated to be more accurate. Everyone, Ditra, Luguzy, and DJ Ron kept trying to talk me down from the ledge, or I guess I should say up from the floor because that’s where I found myself less than 15 minutes into the interview. I ended up where I always go, banished myself to the corner. There I was on my first big deal to me radio interview sitting on the floor, crossed legged in the corner, crying, and frantically fanning my frustrated inability to do anything about what was happening.
Why was I acting that way? In fact, DJ Ron even asked me if I was sure I wasn’t an actress. “Yes. I am” I said, “but that’s beside the point.” I admit I’m a very dramatic woman. Drama for me is natural, it’s how God made me. How He didn’t make me, however, is to be controlling.
So, I echo Rebekah from Genesis 25:22 in saying ‘Why am I thus?”
I’m hearing several things. My controlling nature bends toward perfectionism, which has deep roots in the shame of being and feeling wrong. There’s a truth that I’m realizing about myself: I generally feel wrong about everything. Somewhere along the way I accepted the notion and false belief that everything was my fault.
Well maybe not everything, but certainly any and all the energetic/emotional weirdness anyone felt in close proximity to me was all my doing. There was this pervasive idea that I just “shouldn’t be here”. And so this is how I internalized people’s hurt feelings, insecurities, and shallow connections to me and/or others in my presence. It didn’t take long to begin making a parallel in ‘who I was’ to ‘what I did’. This is one of the reasons I’m so prone to shutting myself down in certain companies. Here’s the mantra my perfectionist’s heart cried all day long:
Let there be ANY flaw found ANYwhere in ANYthing I do and suddenly, I’m uncovered. I’m at risk!!!
So the CD wasn’t just skipping. My right to be was in question. What made it worse was I had no words to explain the attack. All I had was a feeling of panic in my body, pressure in my throat, and a pair of sweaty palms that held my need to try my best to hold it all together. I’ll give you a behind the behind scenes peek into what happened next.
(I ask you in advance to please not hold this against me going forward. Thank you…)
I blamed the Body of Christ. Yep, I did it. I whipped my fan shut and told DJ Ron, who wasn’t offering the exact words of explanation to the listeners I thought he should be saying, that he was ignoring the problem. He was acting like nothing was happening, I said, which is an exact replica of what’s happening in the Body of Christ. Who’s saying enough about what’s really going on, about the ‘for real for real’ issues? We keep going ‘on the air’ on Sundays giving these commercialized religious anecdotes to keep the pot of placation stirring while we ignore the fact that somewhere along the way, we Christians have gotten our hands on a bad copy.
See what I mean? It’s disgusting how I craftily found a way to shamelessly justify and connect my little personal problem to the global issue of salvation just so I could control and protect my self image. The even sadder part is that my self image wasn’t being attacked by anyone other than ME to begin with!!!
And so how does that work, exactly? Protecting myself from self inflicted wounds? That can’t even be called friendly fire. Friendly fire makes sense…this, this is just insanity! Gee whiz, Alaina. Get yourself together. I did. Kinda. I mean I started to feel a little better when we laid group hands and prayed over the radio station equipment. And so a series of things started happening that made it all better. Yay… 🙂 That’s good news but it ain’t the gospel….
The gospel is this…:
I see myself differently and so subsequently accept the gift of God’s repentance. He used the situation to show me a side of myself I sorta thought was there, but never knew was ruling. Was I wearing a mask? A bodysuit?
Nope. I think I have to call this thing what it is in order to have victory over it. Freaky perfectionistic control is a little god, quick handed and sneaky. He who stole his way into my heart before I ever knew The Way to guard my heart and tell him no.
But now I do. Now I see, not only the little god in the flesh and bone, but also how and why he came. And I hear my Father telling me that I can be free of this thing…this shame…this control, and blame, and other habits of the perfectionist’s heart because the weight of perfection was never mine to bear. Christ bore that burden beautifully without me, yet on my behalf.
The fear of being exposed as imperfect is such an irrational fear. Religiosity could teach the senselessness of that to any listening ear, but it’s listening hearts that need to hear.
Because I’m telling you, the heart unchecked by the convictions of the Holy Spirit, the heart unwashed by the cleansing, sin exposing truths in the Word of God, will ever continue to do its own thing. And that, unrighteously.