At two different writing conferences, I spotted women who looked familiar. God kept crossing our paths. In both instances, we did not know each other, although it felt like we did. The first woman was Gina, the second woman was Shannon. The common factor? We were writing books about control.
Maybe our souls recognized that common thread? Or more likely, God drew us together for encouragement on the journey to freedom.
Do you struggle with control issues? Today’s guest, on the Interview Series, has hope for you!
Today, I’m interviewing Shannon Popkin, who recently released the book: Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the Bible.
Interview with Shannon Popkin:
The title of your new book is Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the Bible, but the initial inspiration came from your own life. When did you first realize you had a control issue?
Before I got married, I didn’t realize I was a Control Girl, probably because I could control most everything in my little life. Then I got married, and my husband was messing up all of my plans. He wanted to stay in, and I wanted to go out. He wanted to save our money, and I wanted to spend it. He wanted to get up early, and I wanted to stay up late. These were my first tastes of giving up control, and I didn’t like it. When we added children, houses, dogs and jobs to our lives, my control issues really began to mushroom. There was so much I couldn’t control! God used the chaos of family life to press me to consider my heart’s unhealthy craving for control.
Do you think “Control Girls” readily recognize their problem with control?
I didn’t. Even as I was behaving like a complete Control Girl, I didn’t see control as my problem. I thought my problem was anger. I was reading books about anger and asking my friends to pray for me. Then one day I was driving in the car, and I heard Dee Brestin on the radio talking about the “sin beneath the sin.” She said we often recognize our surface-level sins, such as anger, but we fail to connect them to the deeper sin. Then she mentioned the sin of control. In an instant, I knew this was my problem.
I’ve found my anger, anxiety and perfectionism often stem from this deep, insatiable, unhealthy craving I have for control. When I see these other things (losing my temper, trying to be seen as perfect, anxiety over safety, etc.) rising to the surface, I’ve found it’s helpful to ask, “OK, Shannon. What are you trying to control? What do you fear losing control of?”
Tell us the story of your son and a broken video game remote. How does that example relate to our own illusions of control?
Years ago, I bought a video game controller at a garage sale. When I got it home, I realized it didn’t work. I kept it because at that time, Cade, my youngest son, was about two years old and constantly trying to wrestle the controllers out of the big kids’ hands while they played video games. They would put this broken controller in his hands, and he was completely content, jamming his thumbs on the buttons and watching the guys on the screen jump around. He had no idea that not only was it broken, but it wasn’t plugged in!
This is such a good picture of me. As I watch life playing out all around me, I feel as though I’m in control, like I’m the one keeping everything from running off the rails. Then there are these moments when it becomes painfully obvious I’m not in control. It’s as if God leans low from heaven and dangles the cord of my teeny weeny controller in front of me, saying, “You know what, honey? You’re not plugged in!” God isn’t taunting me; He’s inviting me to lay down the burden of trying to control everything. This whole big world, with all of its shifting variables, does not rest in my hands. God is in control, not me. He invites me to live like I believe this is true.Grasping for control never brings the peaceful satisfaction we imagine it will. #ControlGirl #Interview Click To Tweet
How can we relinquish control in times when God seems distant and quiet?
Sometimes God does seem far away. We wonder if He sees us or if He cares. Leah felt that way. So did Hagar. Both of them faced desperate, horrific situations. It must have seemed as though God hadn’t even taken notice of them. But there’s a little phrase that punches a hole into the darkness of Leah’s story. Genesis 29:31 says God saw Leah was unloved. He saw her. When Hagar was in the wilderness, crying in desperation, powerless to save her son, Genesis 21:17 says God heard Ishmael. He was dying of dehydration, so I can’t imagine his cries were loud, yet God was close enough to hear him.
If I’m convinced God doesn’t see or hear and if I’m suspicious of God’s motives or wonder if He cares, I won’t surrender to Him. I’ll trust myself instead and resort to my Control Girl tactics. What if I just open God’s Word and remind myself of what’s true: God is not only enthroned above the universe, but He also cares about me and is working all things together for my good? Well, then. I’ve readied my heart to say, “God, I might not see you or hear you in this moment, but I know you see, you hear me and you are intricately involved in the details of my life. I surrender even the hardships and struggle to your good, God hands.”
Control Girl has a very intentional structure. How is this book designed to be used?
Each chapter is divided into lessons. I want the woman on a time-budget to be able to read a Bible passage, read a complete train of thought related to the topic of control and then make the content personal, all in one sitting. The chapters will be best digested one lesson at a time, rather than all at once.
The book can be used by individuals or groups. There is a free downloadable leader’s discussion guide on my website, www.shannonpopkin.com, along with other resources and freebies.
Thank you for being with us today, Shannon. Purchase Control Girl here!
Bestselling author and speaker Shannon Popkin loves to blend her gifts for storytelling and humor with her passion for God’s Word. Shannon is the author of Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the Bible. Go to ControlGirl.com for free downloadable resources.
Shannon is happy to be sharing life with Ken, who makes her laugh every single day. Together, they live the fast-paced life of parenting three teens. For more from Shannon, please go to shannonpopkin.com, or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.
Catch up on the rest of the Interview Series here.
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