Tag Archives: control

What Choices Do We Have?

20 Mar

So much in life is beyond our control and choice. Flood, fire, earthquake, tornado, hurricane—each powerful and demanding. We’re forced to kneel before Nature’s fury. Other situations may trap us and deny our power to choose.

Consider other people’s choices. Children have no choice regarding frequent moves due to a parent’s occupation or military service. Emotional, physical, and sexual abuse rob many of dignity and hope. Thieves “choose” precious possessions in the dead of night and hijack our treasured security. A spouse decides he/she no longer wants to remain married consequently jeopardizing our financial and relational world. Someone drives drunk on the Interstate, creating orphans and heartbreak.

Another category:  choices we make but can’t choose resulting consequences. We abuse our sedentary bodies with food, alcohol, and tobacco despite the doctor’s warning. We now face hospitalization, perhaps long term care. We practice shopping therapy—clothes hang in our closets still wearing price tags, a “keeping-up-appearances car” fills the garage. Yet we’re helpless to control a plunging credit score and high interest credit card bills. We take our spouse for granted refusing support, affection, and attention. Unfortunately, we can’t control the response of “too little, too late” and the divorce that follows.

At these times, life seems to offer no alternatives, no choices.

Don’t despair. We were created to choose. The first thing God did was to give mankind work and a choice (Genesis 2:15–18). He designed humanity with the ability to choose between good and evil.

Choosing God brings life.

Deuteronomy 30:19 Today I ask heaven and earth to be witnesses. I am offering you life or death, blessings or curses. Now, choose life! Then you and your children may live (NCV).

There are several kinds of death other than physical. We can experience mental, spiritual, emotional, and/or intellectual death.

When other people’s choices threaten to destroy us, we can choose bitterness and anger, resentment and revenge. We can ask “why me” and wonder “if only.”

Or we can choose life and trust .

Romans 8:28a We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him (NCV).God

This isn’t a promise for everyone; it’s only for those who love and trust God. With His help we can rebuild after a disaster. We can choose to exercise, eat healthy, and give up harmful habits. We can decide to get counseling rather than rely on shopping therapy. We can learn to communicate and cherish loved ones even if we can’t undo past mistakes. We can trust God to bring justice in His time and His way, even if we don’t see it (Romans 12:19).

Most of all, we can choose to forgive—forgive others and ourselves. When we pray the prayer Jesus taught, we say, “Forgive us our debt as we forgive our debtors.” That may be the secret to living fully—continual confession and continual forgiveness, accepting and offering the forgiveness found in Jesus Christ. Let’s choose wisely, friend.

Control

7 Jun

I may be a slow learner, but one thing I know: I have no control over another human being. I can’t make someone love me. I can’t control someone else’s drinking, spending, risk-taking, or attitude. I can influence, guide, instruct, even threaten or beg, but I cannot control. Neither can you. There’s freedom as well as frustration in that realization.

As a teacher and parent, I attempted to motivate obedience through teaching personal responsibility and intrinsic benefits. I wanted my children and students to know the joy of learning and the rewards of commitment and hard work. However, failing that, I dispensed consequences. Faced with consequences, most people comply with rules and standards. But not always. Sometimes we try to get between our loved ones and life, but that eventually becomes impossible. Life overflows with consequences—everything from a damaged relationship to life in prison.

I control only one person. I can choose my thoughts and my behavior and emotions will follow. Excluding physical restrictions, so can you.
“Like a city that is broken into and without walls
Is a man who has no control over his spirit” (Proverbs 25:28 NASB95).

I require God’s help controlling my spirit; it’s not an option. His faithfulness is my stability and strength for living. I need Christ’s love as my motivation and purpose.

“For the love of Christ controls us. . .so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him. . .” (2 Corinthians 5:14–15 NASB95).

As we grow in knowledge and love for God, we’re changed. We’re able to give God control when we remain focused on His character and compassion rather than our fears or needs. Then, like a fruit-producing vine, the Holy Spirit reproduces Christ’s nature in us.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things (Galatians 5:22–23 NRSV).