Until recently I had a saying that I would joke about, especially with my husband and kids. It was, “If everyone would just listen to me, and do what I say everything would work out just fine”.
We have six children, we pastor a church, and homeschool our 3 youngest children. That means that I have to be organised, and have some sort of structure to keep things flowing nicely. However as with everyone who is an “organiser” there can be a tendency to over-organise. There is a fine line between being organised and someone who has to be in control, micromanaging everything and everyone.
Micromanagement is a problem in our relationships, home life and at work. When we micro manage we pay excessive attention to details and avoid delegation of tasks and decisions to others. Anywhere where people gather together there is going to be those who want to take control, and these people can micromanage everyone and everything. Unfortunately when we have to have control of situations we are sending the message to others that we don’t trust them to make good decisions, and that nobody can do anything to our standards. Worse still we are telling God we don’t trust Him, and instead dictate how things are going to happen. God is not in control, we are.
When we micromanage we often think we are simply helping, and being loving and caring. But regardless of our purpose and calling in life, when it comes to people it is never our role to “manage” people. All God ever asks of us is to set an example, and equip and impart to those we are sharing our lives with. Whether that is our children, family members, at our place of employment, or wherever we may be involved with people. Even at work where we may be called a “manager” – the task is not to “manage people” but to lead and encourage them to take initiative and be more productive and successful in their roles and lives.
If we don’t learn the difference between control and leading by example and imparting into people’s lives we will end up doing several things:
We will drive ourselves a little crazy. We will constantly be exhausted and stressed from having to keep everything and everyone under control. Things won’t get done, and people will be slow and unproductive, lacking initiative and vision for themselves. Your kids, family, colleagues, and anyone else you have anything to do with will resent you because you send out the message you don’t trust them, and doubt their abilities. It’s not a great way to live and nobody will thank you for controlling and micromanaging them.
Those who you micromanage will go one of two ways. Those with big ideas, skills and knowledge will remove themselves from situations with us, or the other extreme is they will always wait to be told what to do, resulting in them lacking initiative and get up and go. Rather than having the freedom to dream and have ideas of their own, they will constantly wait around for instructions.
The saying “if I want something done properly I have to do it myself” is a classic micro manager statement. Sadly though this doesn’t allow people to grow, to make mistakes, and live their dreams. Any innovation is stifled, and people and places quickly become stagnant because people won’t come up with new ideas or ways of doing things themselves.
Micromanagers get far too busy juggling multiple tasks themselves; they put on hold everyone else’s ideas and contributions because they can’t get to everyone quickly enough to check up on what people are doing.
I’m facing my tendency to micromanage. It’s not healthy and it doesn’t allow us to live a full abundant life that Jesus wants for us. Usually when we control it’s because we are afraid. We fear what will happen if we don’t keep everything under control. We fear the kids will end up failing, fighting with each other, and not get things done. We fear others will let us down, won’t get the job done and that it will reflect badly on us. We fear we won’t be needed anymore, and so we keep everyone needing us.
But God hasn’t called us to live in fear. He wants us to live free. He wants us to wake up in the morning not feeling stressed and thinking “where we have to be, what we have to do, and who do we need to check up on?” God wants us instead to wake up and listen to what he wants us to be occupying our day with; He wants us to trust Him to work everything out and to help us to relate lovingly to those around us. He wants to use us to encourage others to achieve their dreams, to take initiate and to grow into all that God has purposed them to be.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to Go. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
He doesn’t want us taking the control and dictating to others. He is the one who leads, guides and directs, not us.
Today if you know you have been mircomanaging or trying to control others, ask God to help you. Let go and allow God to take care of your loved ones, to help you at work etc. Ask for wisdom on how to set an example; how to come along side people and bring the best out of those in your world.
If you need a good role model of how to do that, then check out what Jesus did. (Read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the bible). He was and is the greatest encourager, role model and leader the world has ever seen. His friendship and leadership with 12 mostly uneducated men resulted in them changing the world.
Prayer: Lord forgive me for trying to be in control all the time. Help me to trust you and also trust others more. You are in charge, so please give me wisdom on how to positively influence and encourage my family, colleagues and other people in my life. In Jesus Name Amen.