I am a planner. I think through my schedule carefully, usually projecting my life up to months in advance. I work through self-directed exercises that dream about the life I most desire decade from now. In my mind, I operate as if I am in control of all around me. Yet, no matter how much I try, life constantly throws detours and interruptions into my best-laid plans. I come to realize that control is an illusion that I cling to feel safe. Yes, I make decisions and plan directions with well-devised goals, as I should. Ultimately, though, God is in control. Surprises happen. Hardship comes unexpected. Even blessings arrive out of the blue. This is true whether I pretend I have everything tightly managed or not. The question is, what will I do with this truth of the unpredictability of life? Will I crumble in a ball of anxiety waiting for the next shoe to drop? Or will I choose to trust in the goodness of God who I believe loves me beyond my wildest imagination?
I fully realize that many people struggle with believing in a good God who is on our side. The hardships that our family has faced over the last many years could easily crush such a belief. Yet, fully trusting in a good God is often more than we can muster. Sometimes the best we can do is lean in the direction of trust. As we choose to lean toward trust, often in spite of conflicting evidence, I believe God leans toward us. This modest lean makes all the difference.
Many years ago, prior to hardships that I could have never imagined, I taught a group at church about what I called “Mind-Renewers” that help us move positively in faith through life’s storms. Today, I believe in these more than ever. I share these now in hopes that they will help you as they have me.•
#1 – God is in control and He is on my side.•
#2 – God passionately loves me and wants to be my first and greatest love.•
#3 – The Holy Spirit counsels me, indwells me, and empowers me now and forever.•
#4 – Prayer changes everything, inside and out.
If these affirmations of faith are hard for you to accept or a struggle for you to believe, then that is okay. We are all on a journey that is far from easy or perfect. Accept these as my own personal expression of faith, imperfectly practiced. If possible, though, lean into these truths and enjoy the freedom of releasing control.
Each day events outside of my control cause me to admit that I am not in control of so much in life, … and that is okay. I can relax, do the next right thing, and try to lean into trust, even when trust seems so impossible to reach.