Manipulating God


I’m a new wife. I’m also a daughter, a sister, and a friend. Above all those things, I am a child of God. These are the positions I am privileged to occupy in life and these are the positions I define myself by, for better or worse.

And in each of these positions, I vie for control.

Control over my circumstances, control over those around me, control over my own attitudes and reactions, control over the relationships that effect me.

When I do not feel in control, I’m not happy. I’m left drifting, feeling discomfort in the back of my mind that builds and builds until I’m overwhelmed by the thought that I do not hold my life in my hands.

I hate this feeling. It’s itchy and worrisome and keeps me up at night. I fight against it and struggle to get out of it any way possible.

My method of choice is manipulation. And the scary thing is, a great deal of the time, I’m not even aware that I’m being manipulative.

Especial when it comes to trying to manipulate God.

Right now, I’m praying for deliverance in a certain area and it would seem that I’ll do just about anything to remove this thorn in my flesh.

I can’t figure out why God hasn’t delivered me yet.

It reminds me a lot of my single days. I didn’t get my first boyfriend (whom I have since married) until I was 24yrs old. Up until then, I watched friends go in and out of relationships, get married, have babies, etc.

And all the while it was tearing me up inside. ‘What’s wrong with me?’ I wondered. ‘Why doesn’t God have someone special out there for me?’

So I tried everything I could think of to get God to give me what I wanted.

Everyone said I would meet Mr. Right when I least expected it. So I tried not to expect it.

Well meaning people told me time and again that I should seek the kingdom of God first, and once I was content with Him alone, He would send the right guy along. So I prayed for contentment where I was and asked God to remove the desire from my heart.

Then they said it would happen when I was ready. So I did everything I could to get ready. I tried to press into God more, and be a Godly woman, and act my age… basically, I tried to be perfect.

I read that I should let my request be known to God so I tried to be ‘refreshingly honest’ with Him. I spend hours in prayer, trying to say the right thing, ask the right way, figure our which sin was blocking the path, etc.

I wanted to learn the lesson God had for me not so I could be satisfied with Him, but so that He would stop teaching me and give into my demands.

I did all I could in my own power to get control of God’s plan and bend it to mine.

It didn’t work.

I finally sat in one ‘give up your desire and that’s when God will fulfill it’ sermon too many and said enough was enough.

This was just another piece of advice that I was using to try to manipulate God. Like I could trade Him control over my dream in exchange for fulfillment of it.

The problem with manipulation is that you have to have a shred of control to start with in order for it to work.

I have no control over God.

That’s the way it was then, that’s the way it is now. God is in control. Complete control. And I am not.

So decided  to stop ‘trying’ with my singleness. I decided on no more advice, no more trying to ‘be the right person,’ no more impressing God with my patience and faith and spiritual growth. No more manipulation.

Cards on the table, I told Him what I wanted, why I wanted it, that if He wanted me to stop wanting it, He’d have to make me.

I told Him it was His move.

And I accepted that it was His move.

“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today…The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:13-14

So that’s what I did. As much as it pained me, and as much as I struggled over letting go of that illusion of manipulative control, I died to myself, hourly (sometimes minute-ly) and gave over to that uncomfortable sensation that someone else was keeping my head above water.

Sadly, I’m up to my old tricks and I haven’t been still lately. I’ve been trying to figure out how to get God to give me what I want again.

But this time I know that it’s not about what I want, it’s about what HE wants.

This time I know that HE is in control, not me.

This time I know that come what may, I’ve been called to stand firm, to be still, and to see the deliverance of the Lord.


About Leah Ness

I am a self-professed story addict. Ever since I was little, I've had an overactive imagination and a passion for a well-spun yarn. When I grew up, I was blessed with a passion for God as well. It was then that I noticed a relative shortage of unique Christian fiction, the kind that can both captivate you and glorify God. So, despite the hurdles of things like commas and homonyms, I am endeavoring to write some of my own. Check out my Books page for updates on current and future books. View all posts by Leah Ness

3 responses to “Manipulating God

  • bring bread

    Thank you for such an honest post! I had a vision once, in which I was clenching my hand in a fist. Two nail-scarred hands took hold of mine and gently but firmly, unclenched my fist, one finger at a time, until finally, my hand was open and, to my surprise, empty. Then a whisper,”What are you trying so hard to hold on to?” And a realization: God alone holds all things in the palm of His hand.


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