Is your life exactly how you imagined or hoped it would be? If it is, I want to know your secret! Or you are Oprah or Tony Robbins, in which case, HOLY CRAP OPRAH AND TONY ROBBINS READ MY BLOG!!! I’ll be honest, my life doesn’t look anything like I had imagined it would. Part of the reason is because I am terrible at goal setting. I acknowledge that. The other reason is, well, most of life does truly seem like it is out of my control.
The truth is we simply cannot control people, circumstances, or events. I can exercise and eat healthy every day and potentially still get cancer. That’s a cheery thought, isn’t it? I can pour my heart and soul into a business or a ministry and it can fail. Or I can invest in a relationship and it can fail. People can walk away and leave you holding the bag. Life has a way of keeping us on our toes, playing a constant game of bait and switch. We’re trucking along in one direction, only later to find ourselves sidetracked, the path twisting and turning, and we look up and have no idea where we are or how we got there. And I don’t know about you, but whenever I start feeling this way, out of control, I start feeling panicky. And when I feel panicky, I start making bad decisions. I freak out. I lash out.I backtrack.
We are bombarded every day with messages that we are the captains of our destiny. Carpe diem. We need to have better boundaries. We need to say no more. We need to say yes more. We need to choose ourselves. None of these messages are bad or wrong by themselves. But I have noticed that when I let these ideas become my focus, it produces a feeling in me that is very much the opposite of feeling in control. It’s like playing Whack-A-Mole; the minute I think I have one area under control something else pops up! I feel overwhelmed because there is truly so much in this world that I cannot control, that is beyond my meager grasp. In other words, the more I try to gain control over my life, the more I lose my grip.
What if, whenever life starts to pick up speed and starts slipping away from us, instead of grasping for control, the answer to peace and happiness is found in surrender? Take a look at this:
So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; He’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; He is most careful.
(1 Peter 5:6-7 Msg)
The first verse is pretty revolutionary, especially this time of year: Be content with who you are. In a world that is constantly trying to change us, telling us who we should be instead of allowing us to become who we truly are, this almost seems counter-intuitive.
Letting go of the reigns goes against every fiber of our beings. However, the illusion is control itself. We are not in control, and we never were. Now, I am not saying we should give up on life, stop making plans, and drift aimlessly without direction or goals! But I think the point of this verse is to remind us to stop focusing so much on ourselves, and instead focus on the One who knows us better than we know ourselves. God’s strong hand is on us, He is with us, and He is most careful with us. I love that. Live carefree before God, because He busies Himself with every detail of our lives. Simply because He loves us.
Maybe the idea of giving God a try, and letting Him in frightens you, because you think that He secretly hates you and wants to change everything about you and make you vote Republican! I used to think that. I thought that once I let God into my life, that He was going to come in, set up camp, and start ordering me around like a dictator. God, who knows our hearts, who made us and everything else we see, is in control, but He is not a control freak. Talking to Him, praying to Him, and listening to His voice feels like coming home. It’s where our hearts belong. And it’s where I can truly let go, be myself, and surrender, and trust and know that He knows me, loves me, and will always be careful with me. I can lose control and give it up to the One who has always been in control, and whose intentions are always pure, loving, and kind.
If last year didn’t turn out like you hoped it would, and for many of us it didn’t – you are not alone. Invite God into this new year, knowing that He can work everything that happens this year together for your good. God’s got you and He’s got 2017. He is most careful and doesn’t miss a beat.