We all have control issues – we want to be in control of everything. So much so that when we face a circumstance we cannot control, we experience anger or resentment or feel trapped. And yet, we are not helpless before any circumstance. We have so many choices still within our grasp.
We Own our Attitude
We own our attitude, every single day. Our attitude toward whatever circumstance we face will make all the difference in the world. It will make us despondent, or give us the tenacity to dare to live with joy despite the pain. We are not ruled by our circumstances, any more than the hands on a clock own time.
We Own our Faith
Epilepsy tries to convince everyone in my family from time to time that faith is dead. There is no God, or if he exists he does not love. A loving God does not allow seizures to happen to my precious girl.
He would also not allow Alzheimer’s, or dementia, or strokes. If he loved, he would protect us. And so it is with all of us: our busted hearts see the incongruency of pain in our world, and we feel our faith slipping out of our fingers.
At times it is fear speaking in our hearts, anger guiding our mind. Other times the piercing arrows of painful words spoken by others resurface to mock us in the midst of our brokenness and illness. And sometimes the devil is tossing his thoughts in, hoping we accept them as ours and as truth.
No matter where the source, these thoughts are simply lies.
The existence of deep sorrow can and should cause us to question where our God is, and why he isn’t showing up in the way we expect.
No circumstance has the right to take ownership of our faith, our view of God. It is ours to step away from, lean into, or radically change.
We Own our Joy
Joy is a word whose definition has been corrupted. Joy is nothing more than a deep satisfaction in the blessings of our life in the present moment. And we own our joy, no matter how bad our situation becomes.
No circumstance can steal our joy. Only we can give it away, or forget it still exists. Some days, joy will be hard to find, but we always have the choice to stay in joy.
We Control What Matters
Sometimes life will make us feel like we have lost control of everything. This is just not true. We own everything that matters: our attitude, our faith, and our joy. Nothing and nobody can take these from us. We must cling tightly to these.
Who is in your life that you KNOW you can rely on, no matter what?
We all have at least one person who will be there for us, everyday. You are not alone. If you are struggling with your attitude, reach out to this person and allow them to help you adjust your attitude. You can rest in the knowledge that your true friend will love you into a better place, and no judgment or discouragement will escape their lips.
What are the touchpoints of God’s presence in your life?
As the nation of Israel was crossing the Jordan River on dry land, each tribe took a stone from the middle of the river and placed it in their camp. These stones represented the memories of God’s faithfulness for each tribe. Each Israelite could look at the stone and remember how God had protected them and provided for them in the desert, and in this remembrance have faith for God’s future blessings stir up in their hearts. Take some time to mentally gaze upon the stones of remembrance in your own life, so that your own faith can be stirred.
Where have you seen beauty that took your breath away?
I will never forget the week I spent in Zion National Park as a high school student. Every day, I woke up surrounded by the majesty of creation. Nothing can take the memory of that beauty from me. Thinking back on the thunderstorms atop the mountains each night brings a smile to my face. Consider where you have found joy.
That was an inspiring post! LOVED it Chris. I have to share it.
Thanks for clearly mapping out we do have choices, important ones which affect our days. Great job.
in short, we control our reaction to the world. i’m a firm believer in that. excellent words, my friend. be joy-filled!
Great post Chris, so much truth here. You write with such authority & conviction. Thanks for sharing, you are really growing as a writer.
I like that–what especially resonates for me is the memory of beauty to restore joy in your heart. Memory is such a precious thing, the way a smell or a sound can transport you to a place where you felt happy and truly alive, even when you are in the midst of darker times. And of course memory can hurt you too, by bringing up mocking images of failure. Looking up to the sky nearly always helps me recover joy and wonder.
You are so right. We underestimate the power of memory, often in order to seek a new temporary thrill. Or dwell in despair over lost dreams. Certain smells or pictures immediately whisk me away to different places, some happy and some terrifying.
I wonder how our lives would change if we surrounded our daily environments with sights, smells, and sounds of those joyous moments?
James, thanks for being such a huge encourager for me.
If I said it that quickly, I couldn’t be a blogger 🙂
I have spent far too many hours and days in my life stressing and whining and being stifled by the many things I cannot control. Part of this creative rebirth I have been experiencing over the past year is making this simple decision: I WILL NOT be controlled by circumstances any longer.
No problem mate – happy to encourage you & well deserved too!
Love this Chris! Friends of mine have just lost their son and their are no words of comfort that seem adequate. People have been asking why would God let this happen and there are no answers, but we know God loves us and He will carry us through. We have to choose to believe God’s truth and not satan’s lies. Thanks for sharing!
Oh NO! I am praying for you and your friends to find some sense of peace and a sliver of God in the midst of this tragedy.
I rarely know what to say in times like this, and tend to ‘speak’ with hugs and dinners and just being quietly present.
Thanks for the prayers. They really need them.
but you could be a tweeter. isn’t twitter micro-blogging site? 🙂
I can barely say hello in 140 characters
Loved reading this Chris. Such a needed and timely reminder that we are not just aimlessly wandering this world without a clue. We are empowered. God has empowered us. We have the power to choose the life we desire. God is for us not against us. I’ll be sharing this post because it brings such hope! Keep writing friend. You’re sowing good seeds!
So glad to see you stop by Marvia. I tell you what — I was speaking to myself as much as anyone else. It is so easy in this busted up world to identify with the brokenness and allow it to define us. But we are meant for more
I really enjoyed this post Chris. Especially the part about faith. Those thoughts abotu giving up are lies. Thanks!
Chris, fantastic words on control.
One of the things that makes humans different animals is how we respond to stimuli. Like Pavlov’s dogs, and my cat whenever we open the pantry, most animals immediately respond to external stimuli.
But as humans, we have a delay and a choice between the stimulus and our response. That delay and choice gives us the control you’ve written about. Just because A happened, we don’t have to react to it. We have control over how we respond, believe, praise, worship, doubt, etc.
Control what you can control. Thanks Chris!
Thanks for the kind words Pablo…and I can’t wait to share your story about adventure next week!
The trick is to slow down during that moment of choice, rather than act like the pantry-seeking cat right?
Lol, Ya. Maximize that delay!
Great blog Chris. Love the line ‘No circumstance has the right to take ownership of our faith’ Truth…
Thanks Michelle. If only this were as easy to live as it is to write 🙂
Ooooo, this is good, real good. 🙂
Thanks Pilar. Good to see you here, I know we miss each other often
I don’t know. I think joy can happen upon us by surprise. Many times, joy is a gift. We can, however, make a practice of rejoicing, which the apostle Paul encourages (I Thessalonians 5:16).
I hear what you are saying. I think I would say a if joy took me by surprise I would think of that as happiness. I am probably just playing a game of semantics in my head though