Control…


iStock-1055448892.2e16d0ba.fill-735x490It doesn’t take too many negative circumstances before it becomes apparent how much of our lives we don’t actually control. Oh we think we do! We drive ourselves bonkers trying to think through every possible variable to maximize our chances at success. We plan and exercise diligence. We read up and study, and if it’s dangerous, we put in extra time. And all we are really after is some safety and some security. The illusion of control is what sends a person over the edge when they fall victim to a robbery or something worse. We all like to feel secure and we all seek out circumstances that aid in that pursuit. But, have you ever considered how much of our lives we actually do control? Or, to put it another way, are we spending maybe too much time trying to control something that we never controlled in the first place?

Certain things happen in our lives that we didn’t see coming. People get sick or are diagnosed with diseases that despite their best efforts in maintaining healthy habits, happened anyway. People lose their secure jobs and find themselves unemployed. Time and chance happen to them all, as the saying goes. When these events happen, I think it teaches us that our reliance cannot be based entirely on our human efforts. Sure we should do our best and we all know that if you play with fire long enough, you are going to get burned. But, some folks do play with fire and nothing seems to happen at all. Other folks cannot seem to catch a break. This alone instructs us that there is often more to situations than meets the eye. There are forces at work outside of us, perpetually plotting and scheming to bring about negative results. For this the world is usually blind. Instead people try to take on more than they can actually control and are the worse off because of it. You can literally worry yourself to an early grave. You can be so afraid of some potential negative outcome that you end up working to bring it to pass in your own life. There must be a better way. There must be something we can do to multiply our chances for success while minimizing our chances at failure or defeat. Notwithstanding, all of us are going to be punched in the mouth at times and how we respond will ultimately define the result of the contest.

If you really think about it, was is it that we actually control? We cannot exercise control over the economy. We do not control health or healing. We can make healthy choices, but we do not control it. Physicians do not cure, they help facilitate cures. We do not control the weather. We cannot control mechanical things or ensure their continued operation. Ask anyone whose air conditioning goes out in the middle of summer. We alone cannot guarantee our children’s safety. We cannot guarantee anyone’s safety. We cannot control the people we have relationships with, though we are loathe to admit it. In short, most of life, most of our lives we do not control at all. Why spend another moment in futile worries and frets over things we never controlled in the first place. Why run the multitude of foul thoughts through our minds threatening this disaster or the next? Why drive ourselves to the brink making sure we do everything in the right way and at the right time, terrified if we misstep that calamity is right around the corner? There actually is Someone that has control over every variable and we owe it to ourselves to find who He is and then relinquish all back over to Him. Grasping and clutching, hanging on and clinging to our illusions of safety do nothing but exhaust us and take our energy for doing anything good. Relinquish the control you have been trying so desperately to maintain and learn how to trust Him instead. Do your best and let God do the rest! Or as life has taught me thus far, God will do His best for me despite my efforts, good or bad. Maybe the good just helps me feel better.

There is literally only one thing we as humans can control and that is our thinking. (Please read that again!) Stuff is going to come at us. Negative events will take place. At times, we will suffer losses. But, no matter what is going on, we can still control our thinking. We can decide, though all hell paints another picture, that what God said is true, is true. The enemy of mankind is the master of deception. He seeks to persuade you of things that are not true so that you will cooperate with his devious plans for your life. If you don’t fold, you cannot lose as another great man once remarked. Your job, my job is to stop wasting away our lives thinking about things that are not true and focus instead on things that are true. All of your very best thinking does not heal your body, God does. Your discipline of will does not cause you to prosper, God does. Your tortuous exercise routine doesn’t guarantee your longevity, God does. All of that mind boggling stuff you are putting yourself through day by day in an effort to be safe, to stay safe, does not keep you safe, God does! Controlling your thinking means keeping things straight in your mind. You control what you will and what you will not think about. You decide what you will believe and what you refuse to believe. If God can feed one of His guys with a raven, I am sure He can take care of you. Instead of investing all of that effort in your to do list, invest that effort in learning what He says He will do and then in learning how to trust Him. Can you imagine how much easier your life will become when you finally let go of all those things you didn’t control anyway? Control the one thing you can control and see how much better things get for you.

God knows all, sees all, is omnipotent and all powerful. Shoot, He can see the future! He knew what you needed long before you knew. He made provisions for you well in advance. He knows how to heal you. He knows how to prosper you. He knows how to solve all of your heart needs; every single one of them. He is everything you will ever need. And, all He wants from you is your love. He wants you trust Him. He wants you to reach out to Him and lay your heart out before Him. He doesn’t need your good behaviors, He wants your heart. His design for life was that you would go to Him for everything you ever needed. He knows all of the variables and His thoughts are above, far above your thoughts. He wants to do for you what you cannot do for yourself. When you finally turn it all over to Him, you can rest a bit. You can relax. You can start to enjoy your life instead of wasting it away worrying over a million things you cannot control. And best of all, when negative stuff happens to you, He will turn it around for your good and show you things you could have never imagined before. He is a God of abundance and it is all there for you.

Loosen your grip brother. Relax your hands sister. God is in control no matter what it looks like. Control the one thing you can control and see how wonderful this life can be.

Just some good thoughts…

You Already Know…


YAKWTD-lead-portraitlookingtooceanWe are all living our lives here on this planet sharing a similar quest for happiness and fulfillment. As a first world nation, we have both the resources and time to carefully consider our plight in an attempt to craft our existence into something we want. We can study books, watch specials, listen to podcasts, you name it. The information is literally all around us. But, what if we already know what to do?

I believe in many cases, if you’re honest with yourself, you already know what to do about the problems that are plaguing you. You know why things are the way they are and you know the actions you need to take to resolve them. Yet, you don’t take the action! It’s like there is this sacred lynchpin sitting between knowing what to do and actually doing it. Human beings with all of their capacity for thinking are loathe to move those thoughts into heartfelt action. The question then becomes, “why?”

Have you noticed how good you feel when you finally take some required action that you knew you should have taken long ago? Or, when you finally decide to take back control some aspect of your life that you weren’t controlling? How fantastic it was when you cleaned out that back room, or put mulch in those flowerbeds, or finally got yourself extricated from that one-sided relationship! It’s as if our feelings are looking to reward us for not only making the right move, but to encourage us to keep making right moves.

Inaction, like inactivity is unnatural for us. Letting things go or pile up and multiply serves only to weigh us down, like the pounds we’ve allowed to load up on our bodies when we saw them coming on long ago. Each day carries with it an expectation. The expectation is that your requirements for the day be completed. Honestly living each day handling your own responsibilities will produce happiness for you. You already know what you need to do in the day, so just do those things.

Often we have developed a good grip on our lives in most areas except for that one area or those few annoying aspects. You may not realize it, but those seemingly insignificant parts of your life may be sucking away or leaking out your precious life force. More and more, happiness seems to follow control; knowing what you can control and controlling those things. Freely experiencing and enjoying life is necessary, but equally required is the need to reign in and limit on occasion. In the converse, sometimes people need to let the reigns out or break a rule or two. In the end, life is about balance. What part of your life may be out of balance? Or said another way, what aspect of your existence seems most connected to the difficulties and hardships you experience? Where there is smoke, there is fire. If every time you partake of A, you have to suffer with B, maybe it’s time to get rid of A. Maybe you’ve known for a long time that you need to stop fooling with A! Remove the lynch pin and say goodbye to A! Or just decide to control A better. You already know! Do what you already know to do!

Distraction is the opposite of focus. When you are distracted, you know what to do, but you never quite make the move you know you need to make. Distraction comes from being lured out of the present moment into other inviting moments. Maybe you’re living for the weekend, but it’s shame to waste those other four and a half days leading up to it. Imagine what great moves you could have made towards your goals while still ending up with ample time to pursue your Sunday Fun Day! Focus does its best to remain in the moment called ‘now.’ Focus knows exactly what needs to be done next. Focus brings your feelings up and asks you why you are feeling the way you are feeling with suggestions on something you could do next. Why trouble yourself with the expectations of yesterday and tomorrow, when the day at hand has enough to be done, today?

Don’t confuse handling the expectations of a day with the incessant nagging of anxiety or whatever else it is that drives us around against our will. There are many things that don’t need to be done today. The same applies to work expectations. Everything isn’t an emergency and everything isn’t right now! What we’re after are the good feelings that accompany handling our stuff. In contrast, some folks find themselves driven from thing to thing. Some cannot sit down without some sound, some activity, some requirement to do and do and do. Actually refusing to do in the midst of some boredom feeling or otherwise unpleasant mood, leads us to the real driver; generally fear acting upon us in non-specific or vague ways. Maybe all of the added attractions to our environments are really an attempt at not dealing with certain thoughts or unreasonable feelings.

It seems we have the capacity to untangle our lives immeasurably by making the simple decision to accomplish what the day demands! Don’t spend too much time in endless analysis and introspection. When you take action on the things that need to be done, including your mental state, the things you need to do next seem to come right into focus. When it comes to knowing what to do, it isn’t about finding new solutions as it is about acting on what you already know! Take the action you’ve been putting off for the past five years and just see how you feel. It works because you already know what to do!

Just some good thoughts…