We were about to jump in a van with a whole bunch of people we didn’t know when my 18-month-old started crying so I searched for his pacifier. To my dismay, I couldn’t’ find it anywhere.
He was about to get his first taste of what if feels like to not get what he wants. For his little world to be rocked and feel out of control because he’s not getting what “he needs”.
If you’ve had a baby I don’t have to tell you the end of that story. It was a miserable time for all of us. We were on a long trip away from home and no stores nearby to purchase another one.
He threw a fit the. whole. way. home!
Sometimes I act just like him and I throw a tantrum when things are out of my control, I want to blame someone or I just go into worry mode.
I focus on what I can’t control instead of my God who is in control.
I focus on what I can’t do instead of what I can do.
I forget “He holds all things together.” (Col. 1:17) I forget I am capable through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.
We feel depleted and exhausted because our problems get bigger and God becomes smaller. We go from more than conquerors to defeated foes in a matter of seconds.
But that’s far from the truth! Because of Jesus Christ and His resurrection, we are not defeated! We have victory in Jesus but we need to lean into Him to claim that victory. We need to preach to ourselves to get out of that pit.
What are You Going to Focus on When Life is Out of Control?
When life is out of control what we focus on makes all the difference. Do you recall the story of Peter walking on water in Matthew 14:22-33. So Jesus starts walking on water while the disciples are on a lake in a boat. They see Jesus from far away and they are terrified believing it’s a ghost. So they cried out in fear. Jesus immediately responds. They hear his voice.
Don’t miss that–His voice calms your fears and reminds us of the truth.
So, He says to them, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
How often does our heart long to hear those words from our loving Heavenly Father? Take a moment and personalize that verse with your name, “Take courage____! It is I. ____ don’t be afraid.”
Well, at some point in the middle of this escalated situation Peter gets the idea in his head that he too wants to walk on water. So he goes out of the boat in the middle of the water and starts walking on water!
Can you imagine that! At this point, Peter’s eyes are intently focused on Jesus as he walks toward Him. But then he takes his eyes off of him and looks over at the wind. So guess what happens?
He takes his eyes off Jesus and looks over at the storm and He was overcome by fear and he began to sink.
Don’t miss this little detail. Do you see what happened right before he started to sink? He took his eyes off of Jesus.
He took his focus off of Jesus and was overcome by fear.
Ladies, this happens to me all the time and I’m sure you can relate as well. You’re filled with fear but God reminds you of His truth. You’re then filled with boldness and faith so you jump out of the boat to walk on water. But then our flesh, the world and/or the enemy calls you to look elsewhere and you lose focus. So you’re overcome by fear. You focus on the storm and the struggle.
Your God becomes smaller. You feel defeated. And your problem, worry, fear consume you.
The challenging times when life feels out of control, what are you going to focus on?
I love what Lamentations 3:21-24 reminds us of: “Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope…” Jeremiah goes on to tell us he has hope when he calls to mind who his Heavenly Father is and the rest of that passage tells us He is loving, compassionate, faithful and our portion.
Do you see the connection between what we call to mind and our hope?
He is the king of kings, almighty God, Jehovah-Jireh, sovereign Lord, everlasting Father, loving and gracious God. So let’s move forward remembering we are daughters of the King, not orphaned children.
Circle of Control
As you know my background is in counseling and life coaching. What I like to tell clients and to for myself is go through the Circle of Control. I often have to go through this Circle of Control in my head to remind myself of truth. I especially have to do this at night when I wake up overwhelmed with life.
You see one of our biggest fears as human beings and maybe even more as mothers is when things are out of our control. When we can’t make things better. When we can’t fix things or make them right.
So I’m going to shoot straight with you–In motherhood, there will always be things out of your control, things you can’t make better, fix or make right and it will tear your heart apart as you come to terms with it.
Here’s another vital point I don’t you to miss– God holds all things together. “He holds all things together.” (Col. 1:17) And He has equipped you with every good thing to do His will. Hebrews 13:21
The devil would love it if we focus on what is out of our control because when we camp out there we feel defeated and are much more open to believing his lies.
We move forward constantly reminding ourselves of regardless how things turn out that God is good. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
I do “truth-telling” for each thing that is robbing my joy at that moment. I focus on the truth of who God is and how He’s given me everything I need to flourish.
Here’s an example that actually happened during a time when my son was younger and getting picked on at school.
- I name my feelings. “I feel afraid.”
- I tell myself the truth. “It is 2 a.m. in the morning my son is sleeping nothing is going to happen to him tonight. I need to hand this fear over to God because He loves my son more than I do and can take care of him. If I stay awake thinking about this it will only stir my fears more.”
- I point out what I’m concerned about that I can’t control. “Lord, I feel scared that my son will get bullied tomorrow at school. I’m also mad that it is happening. I can’t control whether this bully will continue and how my son will respond.”
- Then I add what I can do and who God is and does. This opens up doors for gratitude but also reminds you that you are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus who loves you. “I can pray for him tonight and for the child bullying him. I can also remind my son in the morning that God is with him and give him some tips on how to handle the situation if the bully bothers him.”
- I end by specifically praying for that situation. “Lord, help this child that is bullying my son….”
So here’s another example, so you can see what my truth-telling sessions look like–
I feel so hurt that my co-worker would say those lies about me. I know that worrying about this isn’t going to help me one bit. I can’t control what my co-worker did but I can control how I’m going to respond to her with my words and actions. Teach me Lord to love her in the midst of this. Honestly, I don’t think I can so I need your help. You are El-Roi the God who sees. You see how hurt I feel and I know that you will bring justice in due time. It’s not my job to avenge myself, You tell me that you have and will fight for me. But I can pray for her. I can watch what I say around her. So I leave this in your hands.
Here’s another one: I am frustrated with my son. Worrying about this right now is not going to change my situation. I can’t control my child’s choices but I can love him through this, prayr for him and leave this situation at the feet of Jesus knowing that He loves him more than I do. Lord open the eyes of His heart so He may see what he’s doing and His need for you.
I’ll end with this one: I can’t control that my husband lost his job but I can control how I spend our money in this coming month. I can remember that God is Jehovah-Jireh our God who provides and never leaves us. Lord, I pray that you would open doors for him so he can find a job. Lord help us trust you.
So remember in the midst of the worry, fear-filled spiral you can focus on —
- Admitting what you can’t control and leaving it at the feet of Jesus.
- Reminding yourself of what you CAN control and that God is sovereign overall. Download the FREE Circle of Concern diagram HERE Circle of control