I’ve noticed that, the older I get, the more I give second thought to aspects of life that I once upon some time ago accepted as fact. I think about some of the “truths” I have accepted over the years and think, “Wow… I didn’t even feel the hook set in my mouth!” Maybe it’s because I am gaining the sage wisdom of middle age (or just the simple fact that I am finally starting to grow up). But I am beginning to truly realize just how little control I have over my life.
It can be a little nerve-wracking for a control freak like myself to realize just how little control I truly have. I can choose how I react. I can choose how I perceive life (to an extent – but even perception has it’s influences). But, ultimately, I cannot force my will on every area of my life. I have to accept that I am not master of my own domain, nor can I be anyone I want to be in life. Despite what we were taught in school, that simply isn’t the case.
Don’t believe me? Ask someone who has been sidelined by a tragedy. Talk to someone whose dreams have inexplicably vaporized before their very eyes. Watch someone who keeps trying to shove open a locked door.
Do not misunderstand me. I am not saying we should not dream. I am not saying we should not strive. I am not saying to roll over and let life roll all over you. Before anyone picks up on that particular negative vibe, I’d best get to the point.
The point: we put our hope in so many things – so many desires and wishes and hopes for a bright future brimming with meaning and joy and promise. But we tend to skew our priorities. As I’ve been going over Malachi 1 the past couple of days, I understand that the cause of most misery is the flip-flop of our life goals toward self (self-achievement, self-worth, self-gratification, self-this, self-that…) and away from God. I see it in myself and feel, quite frankly, like a hypocrite writing about it. (I hope people understand that, when I am writing about a particular topic, I have most likely faced it at some point or am still dealing with it. Either way, God is speaking to me as much as anyone else.)
There is nothing of deep profundity here. The message I’m being so wordy at sharing really boils down to this: if you want to be filled with joy, follow God, What you do is not nearly as important as why. If Jesus is at the center of your life, circumstances will matter far less. Life is going to have it’s pains and disappointments and hardships and trials, right along with it’s joys and happiness and good times.
But don’t bank on your abilities in life. Don’t expect what God doesn’t promise. Because the only surety we have in life is God and Him alone. And that’s good news! Sure takes away a lot of the burden of trying to run everything.