by Andrea Renee Cox
A mother raises her voice to get her toddler to stop scuffing his feet when he walks.
She sighs heavily when her teenaged daughter won’t put down her phone while they’re out eating lunch.
A woman asks her husband a question that undercuts his authority in front of their friends.
She decides the discipline her husband doled out to the children was too harsh and changes it.
A young lady whispers to her friend all the bad things someone else said about her and claims to be the person’s only real friend.
We’ve all known controlling women in our lives. For some it may be their mother or mother-in-law. For others, it may be their “best” friend. Sometimes it’s the people we work with or members of our book clubs. But have we stopped to consider that we may be the controlling ones too?
One of my favorite quotes from Control Girl came in the last chapter: “Our words are the primary way we try to control the people we love. We raise our voices, insert a sigh, ask manipulative questions, use an inflammatory tone, criticize, undermine, demoralize, and gossip.” It’s one of my favorites because it’s true. How many times have we tried to manipulate others with our words? Tried to make them feel bad so that we’d feel good? (Can’t we both feel good?) Attempted to win every argument or force others to believe the same opinions we do? (Opinions can be different and neither are wrong, by the way; they are how we see the world rather than facts.)
That quote made me stop and think closer about how the words and the way in which I speak them might affect other people. It made me consider my motives for saying and acting the way I do. Sometimes my motives are buried so deep I can’t even find them. But once I start digging, I’m certain to uncover a monster.
But I can’t let that scare me away.
Not if I want to defeat it.
The monster named a “controlling spirit” is one that, unfortunately, tends to carry down through generations. But it doesn’t have to. As Shannon Popkin shares in her new book Control Girl, this trend can be broken. It isn’t easy, by any means, but with God, we know all things are possible. (Philippians 4:13)
In Control Girl, Shannon Popkin shows us, through personal anecdotes and Bible passages, that cycles of controlling actions destroy healthy relationships. But the opposite could be said too: Destroying cycles of controlling actions creates healthy relationships.
I don’t know about you, but I want to break the cycle. A few of my ancestors were controlling women, and the damage they left in their wake was catastrophic. Demolished self-esteem, layers of guilt, eating disorders, and torn-apart families are only a few of the signs that a controlling woman had been there.
But what if those women had chosen to build up their loved ones with their words and actions rather than tear them down? What if they chose positivity over negativity? What if they chose kindness and true love rather than condemnation and irritation? Can you imagine the confidence the children would have grown up to have? The loving spirit that would saturate their homes? The smiles on their faces, and those on the people around them when that habit of love carried through to the next generation … and the next?
Now that’s a legacy worth fighting for.
And I plan to.
Through reading this book, I have seen the ways in which the legacy of control has wreaked havoc in generations before and up to mine. But the book also helped me discover ways in which to begin stopping the trend of control and offer love in its place. If I start building up a legacy of love and patience and kindness now, with God’s help and guidance, there’s no telling how powerful it could be one, two, even ten generations from mine. Loads of prayer and hard work will go into this journey, but a little hard work and knee-mail never hurt anyone. Honestly, I think fighting for a legacy of love is worth every achy joint and sore muscle in my entire body, a hundred times over.
So I’m praying for a change of heart in myself. The cool thing? I’m already seeing a difference. The rest of the world (or my family, for that matter) might not yet see the change as clearly as I do, but they will. Because this journey is just beginning. And I am becoming a more peaceful, joy-filled, and submissive-to-God woman.
Have you known a controlling woman in your life?
Have you been a controlling woman toward someone else?
What type of legacy are you working on that will impact the generations after you?
What steps may you take today to fight for that legacy of love?
I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, authors, and sites like Netgalley, Litfuse Publicity Group, and Blogging for Books. They do not require me to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
About Shannon Popkin:
About Control Girl:
Are you trying to stay in control of your quest for peace, joy, and security . . . and you're exhausted? Shannon Popkin's debut book, Control Girl, is a must-read for anyone with a heart that craves control. Join Shannon as she shares what she has discovered about her own control struggles and about God from studying seven Control Girls in the Bible. Whether it was Eve's desire to know instead of trust, Sarah's inability to wait for God to move, or Rebekah's controlling hand on her family's future, each of these women's stories contain warnings and lessons for us today.
Learn how to give up control to God and become a Jesus girl! Enter to win a prize pack that will help you give up your Control Girl tendencies.
One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on February 21. The winner will be announced February 22 on Shannon's blog.