Most human beings strive for some semblance of control in their world. We cannot control the weather, the traffic, the way our boss treats us, or the fact that our child brings lice home from school. We can control our Facebook page, what we eat or drink, how we treat others, and the tidiness of our kitchen.
Some people have stronger control issues than others. None of us like to admit we are control freaks. Some of us (aka: me) are trying to recover from a nasty case of ECI. (Extreme Control Issues.) By the way, this is my totally made up thing! Control issues manifest themselves in domineering mothers, authoritarian fathers, manipulative sisters, and bullying brothers. Control issues can be discrete. Control issues can come in the form of eating disorders…or can create them. (Again no data, just years of observation and personal experience.)
We all battle with control issues from time to time. It is human nature to want to know what is going on in our world and have some say as to how things will play out. Extreme Control Issues can result from a person at one point in their lifetime feeling completely out of control. Therefore when given the opportunity one attempts to seize control over anything or anyone in their sphere of influence. ECI is something that I have battled all my life. It has benefits, as I am often placed in positions to lead others in a strong way…and with the right motives…great things happen. But at times it has been relationally destructive. ECI (especially the extreme part) is something I have been actively working to break free from. I have seen such negative effects in the lives of friends and others that battle with my created disorder. They have terrible relationships with their 2 year olds. They are not fun to negotiate plans with because they will always demand their way. No matter whether it is passive or aggressive, it will go down the way they desire it to go. Unfortunately a person who has ECI lacks the understanding that it is far-reaching and can cover many areas of life. A person might think it is isolated and only relates to food or friendships but they don’t realize that it affects their workplace or marriage!
The reason I am bringing all this up is that my recovery from ECI had grown progressively better over time. Unfortunately and unexpectedly it will resurface…
Our friend Jimmy came from his village for the weekend to visit our family and brought us a live ROOSTER. Typically this gift is one that you EAT. But he was kind and seemed very happy for us to do whatever we wanted with the chicken. After he left I found out that this rooster was not very old. So I began rationalizing if we are going to eat the rooster–or someone is–we should fatten him up first. Or maybe we could give him away to someone who is looking to mate their hen and have baby chicks running around their compound? This could be a great need fulfilled; it was just important to find the right recipient! I continued to find reason after reason to keep “Lucky” around. Yes, I named him…and his names tells all. We are NOT eating this rooster…he is going to likely live out his long happy lifespan of 15 years with someone in Uganda. Yep, I’ve completely lost it.
|Lucky at our (heck IN our house) on the first night!|
Recently, possibly around 5:30am when Lucky began his regular rooster routine…Chris turned to me and said, “WHAT IS GOING ON WITH YOU AND THE CHICKEN? Why have we not given him away?!?!” I could not find an answer…but I can tell you, I knew he was right: I love Lucky. I went to the feed store and bought him proper food, and I allow him to walk around the yard unsupervised to get a little exercise. In the picture below he is “roosting” on our kitchen chair?!? He is not that cute and is SUPER loud (read: annoying) much of the day. I had to really do some soul-searching as to why I was not willing to let him go or give him up???
My life most days here in Uganda is wonderful. We have wonderful weather, friends, and family time. There is little to complain about…except for the fact that we have no crystal ball to see in to the future. Will we move back to NC? And if so when? Will we stay here? If so, will we stay in K’la or move somewhere else in UG? What is our time frame? What of Chris’ job? The friendships we have formed? The friends and family at home? It all feels a BIT out of control.
Digging deeper surfaced an incredibly telling fact: I feel little to no control over any of our future–but I can control Lucky’s! If we give Lucky away, I have no say in how he will be treated. Will he sire a family or become a family dinner? BUT…if he lives with us, I can care for him. I can feed him and watch him grow. I can allow him to get exercise…and live a long healthy life.
I really don’t have (nor do I want to have) control over my children’s lives. So I guess if my control issues are resurfacing, I would prefer to have it be over a rooster and not a real human being. BUT…it made me realize how deep my issues go and how far I am from being able to be fully freed from their grasp.
The best news is, as in most disordered areas of our lives, recognizing one has a problem is the first step toward freedom. When I am able to logically recognize my desire to control another’s destiny, or to make sure things are in order the way I want them to be…I realize I must QUICKLY step away from that person and give them space. They are not mine they are His.
So now…for the real question: What will happen to Lucky? For now he will live with us and continue to provide a great conversation piece, education for my children, and reminder to me that ECI exists in my world and though I battle to be free from it every day…it is a process. The good news is that I know people are more important than poultry and at least I am starting to get that right!
Thank God we are a work in progress…laughing even as I post this photo…seriously…look how much I love Lucky!?!??
ps. Don’t let Chris fool you–I put Lucky to bed most nights!
May You Be a Blessing and May You Not Be as Crazy as ME–