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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Control (01/30/06)

TITLE: Will you still love me if I tell you what toothpaste to use?
By terri tiffany
01/31/06


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It started with a touch of my hand. Innocent enough yet filled with desire. The sound of my heart rushed in my ears. I couldn’t believe I was making a decision that would change my life forever.

“Slow down!” Stretching my left hand towards the gearshift, I touched the smooth leather of the Subaru. The nagging doubt that I had overstepped my boundaries was tucked somewhere between my overwhelming desire to take control and my desire to be a trusting partner. Control won.

“Are you trying to get us killed?” My fiancée of two months swerved his compact into a parking space at the Wyalusing Rocks overlook. “What on earth were you doing?” His face contorted into a man I hadn’t yet met.

“You were going too fast and I wanted you to slow down.” I reached for my door handle, refusing to be treated this way. He immediately followed. I knew he would.

“Listen, Mark,” I stepped on a boulder to peer directly into my love’s baby blue eyes. “I’m not who you think I am!” I figured I might as well spill it all while I had his total attention. “I get stressed sometimes if events aren’t going as I think they should be. I’m not quiet and soft spoken all the time!” There. My secret was out. I craved control.


Twenty nine married years later, the battle to curb my urge to control still struggles within me. Sometimes my reasonable side wins. I suppress the urge to claim the TV remote control before my husband searches for it. I bite my lip when he flips through fifty channels during the thirty some Law and Order commercials. I rip my fingernails as he tosses my recently fluffed pillows onto the floor. But I remain stoic. I allow him a moment to enjoy a sense of ownership.

I even learned to control my urge to select my daughter’s wardrobe. If she purchases a skirt that I deem somewhat less than desirable, I focus on her hair instead and remind her that her ends could use a good trim. I even offer to call my favorite beautician for her to try.

I admit I control our diets when my husband gains too much weight. I do choose the shampoo we use or the toothpaste. After all, I do the shopping. Occasionally I control when and where I move the furniture when I decide we need a new look in the living room. If my husband hasn’t picked a shirt or tie for church on Sunday by the time he gets out of the shower, I help with the selection. I have to admit, I do get a thrill from carrying the checkbook and determining how the entries will be made…in pencil or in ink. Life is good.

Sometimes I get so focused on my need to control every detail of my life that I forget who really is in control. God often needs to remind me by allowing circumstances to occur that quickly bring me to my knees and to Him.

I recall the day the clutch went out of my car and I was put in charge of taking it to a garage of greasy men. It was a control moment I would have gladly opted out of.

I also remember when the tire went flat on my car in a dark parking lot of a mall three days before Christmas. A frantic call to my husband resulted in two words. “Call AAA.” I have obviously convinced him of my ability to control any situation.

The next time I feel the growing urge to comment on my husband’s driving or the high calorie meal he selects from the menu, I plan to offer a quick prayer to God to help my mouth with some much needed control... after I tell the waitress to hold the rolls.


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This article has been read 873 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 02/08/06
Love the title. I had a little trouble making the connections at the beginning as to "who was doing what to whom" but maybe I'm just a little slow today. I think you might have wanted to say that: "His face contorted into that of a man …" but all in all, a good job.
Jan Ackerson 02/09/06
Engaging and well-written. FYI: "fiancee" with 2 E's is a woman, with one E ("fiance") is a man. You have an interesting, easy-going style.
Rachel Rudd02/10/06
You have a very casual style of writing...very nice read! I understand that need to control!
Georgiana Daniels02/10/06
Oh my, the conviction is starting to settle in on me. You perfectly described my struggle. I like your writing style, right up to the end with the rolls!
Pat Guy 02/11/06
Aha! The trouble with having an FW for a S.S. friend is you have to look them in the eye on Sunday morning when you write a piece that has a grain of truth about yourself! ;) I'll be lookin at cha dear Terri S.S. friend! (this is really, really good by the way!)
Jan Kamp02/11/06
The title caught me and the writing kept me reading. Good piece of writing all the way through.
Marilyn Schnepp 02/12/06
I've never been a "Control Freak"(I think they call them)- so it's hard to relate. However, if the topic of "Complaining" ever comes up - I'd take the cake! I'm a Chronic Complainer! We all have faults that we take to God in prayer. Very well written and a delightful read!
Brandi Roberts02/13/06
Oh I feel this one from the tip of my toes to the top of my head! You fit me to a tee! Well written, Terri!
Valora Otis02/14/06
I just loved this Terri! You captured much of what women struggle with regarding control. Bravo! This article flows freely, and I loved it! Blessings to you! Valora