As I grow in leadership, I’ve been forced to come to grips with what I want to control. The more I understand about what I was designed by God to control and what I wasn’t, the better I am able to bounce back when my world doesn’t go as I would like. This concept is super-important for us as pastors’ wives, because we sit in a position of influence, that we can often confuse with control.

The idea that our desire for control is bad is simplistic and untrue. It’s what we desire to control that gets us into trouble. It’s about power. We know that God is omnipotent and that we are totally not. But He did design us to exert power over certain things as we bear His image. The biggest thing I am to exert power and control over is myself.

You might be saying, “Of course, self-control is obvious. This isn’t complicated.” But the living out of it often is.

Dr. Henry Cloud compares it to driving a car. The things you have control over are the steering wheel, the gas and the brakes. In this season where I’m driving a car that feels like it is on a sheet of ice in a snowstorm, I need to be intentional about these three elements: the steering wheel, the gas and the brakes.

Here’s what it looks like for me:

Steering wheel

  • I need to choose what I am looking at because “my feet follow my focus” (my hubby’s words).
  • I need to choose to listen for the Spirit’s voice prompting me to walk alongside those that are hurting since they might not be in my face.


  • I need to be diligent about seeking God’s face in His Word and prayer to fuel my spiritual health.
  • I need to guard my walk with Him and seek His presence, not so that I have something to speak to others, but so that I can walk through this storm well.


  • I need to know when to stop and listen, and be obedient in it.
  • I need to practice restraint when it comes to offering my opinion in a very complex season.


For more on this, go to:

Carey Nieuwhof with Dr. Henry Cloud”