Are things organized and running smoothly or are you mired in a mess? Regardless of your present circumstances, be assured that our God is with you and for you. Trust Him with all your concerns today.
For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling,
Isaiah 30:15 – ESV
My husband paid me a compliment the other day. A man of few words, he is not particularly free with his compliments, so when they come, I take notice. Here’s what he said: “I like how clean you keep the camper. You do a really good job. It still feels new.”
Wow! I smiled as I thanked him for both noticing and voicing his appreciation. The funny thing is that I hadn’t even given the subject much thought. Clean is the way I roll. Neat, orderly, organized…that’s how I like it. Keeping the camper clean is as natural as taking my next breath.
No doubt my affinity for order is linked to my Mama’s raising, but I wonder if there is a deeper, more subconscious reason for my cleanliness. When everything is in order, I feel in control. There… there it is. I like control. I like things my way. I like to be in charge.
So do I hear an “Amen” from you? I would be surprised if you couldn’t relate to my true confessions.
The fact is that most of us like being in control. We spend an inordinate amount of time trying to orchestrate our circumstances. Here’s the typical thought trail: “If I work harder…go faster…do more…say the right thing…well, maybe then, things will be the way I want them to be. Maybe then, I will have it all under control.”
In this incessant quest for control, we push ourselves harder. We do more and more, until our lives are so busy that we are exhausted. We nag our children, boss our spouses around. If they will just do it this way, things will work out fine. We worry and fret, trying to figure out a better way to make something happen the way we want it to. We find ourselves awake in the middle of the night, plagued by fear and anxiety, panicked to figure out how to fix it, how to make things work out right.
We want to be in control, and the hard cold truth is… We are not.
Several years ago, I heard my former pastor Kevin Baker describe it this way, “We all suffer from the illusion of personal control.” We think we can have what we want, when we want it. We think we know best how to make it all work. We think that if we plan and plot and fret, we can make things work out the way we want them to be. But it turns out that all that is magical thinking. It’s an illusion, and we are deluding ourselves. There’s no ruby red slippers to tap together and make all our dreams come true.
The reality is that we don’t have any idea what will happen next. We can hope. We can approach a situation with honesty, integrity and a positive attitude, but the truth is, we do not know what the outcome will be. Jeremiah 10:23 states an important truth, “Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.”
No matter how hard we try, we don’t get to orchestrate our circumstances. Only God is in control. Only God knows what is coming next. Only God sees our tomorrow’s.
We can keep up the illusion, continue our cleaning frenzy trying to keep our lives in pristine order while making ourselves and everyone around us miserable, or we can accept that God is sovereign over all things, and only God knows the way forward. We don’t get to control our circumstances, but we can respond to those circumstances with a stance of trust and thankfulness. We can dust off our laundry list of problems and lift them up to our good, loving and gracious God who is fully capable of making all things right in due time. We can trust Him with our futures and stop our fretting.
It won’t be easy. It’s hard to change ingrained habits. But if we are willing to lift our hands and hearts in faith, God will meet us here and help us clean up our mess.
“How great you are, Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.
2 Samuel 7:22 – NIV
Sovereign Lord, we come to you fearful, anxious and frustrated because we are concerned about the circumstances we find ourselves in today. We so want to control them, to make things better, but these circumstances are beyond our control. We turn to you, Lord, for you are a loving and gracious God, who only wants what is best for us, for our ultimate good. You alone are in control. Help us rest in that assurance. Help us respond to our circumstances in the right way, making the best possible choices. We trust you, Lord, and we thank you for your unfailing love for us.