Controlling What You Can, Leaving the Rest to God

Hello again there! How has your year been so far? Keeping up with the goals and words to focus on? I know for me; the year has already begun to throw challenges our way. From the job searching that feels like I’m hitting walls, to our apartment complex that won’t contact us about our deposit (Yikes!), and my second semester of my Master’s Degree kicked off. There is a lot going on, it feels like my head is constantly spinning and thinking. In these moments, I find it difficult to focus on what I can control when so much of what I can’t control is all around me.

The thing is, I know God has me, I just have to trust him.

I feel like life has these cycles, where things are all together and make sense, then you enter a season where nothing is clear. These are difficult seasons for me, I tend to forget that God has shown up in the past and he will show up again. I completely understand why the Israelites continued to stray away from a God who literally made water move so they could be free. Younger me used to laugh at that, saying, “why would they ever wander away from trusting God?!” But the truth is, I do that, and the other truth is, you do it too.

I chose the word, “faithful,” this year to help me focus my mind on trusting God, and that has already been tested. The thing about remaining faithful is, I don’t have to have it all figured out. I simply need to begin controlling the things I can, while leaving the rest to God.

Purpose is better than plans.

In college, I went with my Dad on a trip to New York City. I had been dealing with a lot over the first year of college and my Dad wanted to help me get away and have some adventure. Now, I normally like having a plan, I like to know what’s going on and not be too surprised, but in this trip, I wanted to not have a plan. We had a hotel and transportation ready, but other than that, I had a list of places that I thought would be fun to check out. No time schedule and no focus on hitting everything. What I found was that we were able to see some really cool stuff and wander a big city, all while being able to talk and have great conversations. I still remember that trip because it showed me that purpose is better than having all kinds of detailed plans.

To look at this biblically, Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” We can easily get caught up in our own plans. The need to have “everything figured out,” is common in culture. Especially for young people, there is a pressure to find a career and if it isn’t flashy or amazing you haven’t made it. It always stinks to see someone on Instagram share a picture-perfect life and seemingly have figured out the secret. We can’t fall into comparison and we can’t get caught up in the plans that don’t lead to a fulfilling life.

This scripture is addressing the fact that you may indeed have a lot of plans, but the only thing that really matters is who God has called you to be. In other words, God has called you to live with purpose, not plans.

What living with purpose looks like, is controlling what you can, leaving the rest to God. I can control my attitude, being loving even when my old apartment doesn’t answer the phone. I can control my mind, focusing on God and spending intentional time with him. I can control the amount of sleep, what I eat, and how I use my free time. I can’t control the future, or the speed of the season I find myself in; I leave that up to God’s timing. I want to live a purposeful life, being able to lift up others around me and truly live the way Jesus called me to. God’s purpose is better than my plans, which is why I choose to control what I can, and leave the rest to God.

God’s got this and God’s got you.

-Joshua Thomas

About the Author: Joshua Thomas is a writer by day and superhero by night. When he’s not writing and crimefighting, you can find him reading a good book, sipping warm tea, taking pictures, or dreaming. The young writer doesn’t fully know what he’s doing, but is enjoying the journey of it all. You can follow his hipster photos and Jack Kerouac musings on Instagram @joshua_thomas__

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