“Who’s in charge around here?”

That’s a very good question. For any endeavor to succeed, someone must take responsibility.

Yes, teams can accomplish so much more than one individual can, but there must be a team leader. In any military endeavor there must be a commanding officer in charge of each mission. A book written by a group of authors has an editor in chief. Great minds may think alike, but one of them must be “thinker in chief.”

If your life is a project, or an expedition, or a book, who’s in charge? If you are playing a part in some great drama, who’s directing? It makes a difference.

There are three basic choices when it comes to who’s in charge:

  1. Someone other than you is in charge. Early in life that someone is your parents. As an adult this roll could be played by a boss, church leader, extended family member, an institution such as government, or even circumstances such as education, poverty, or abuse.
  2. YOU are in charge. You know stories of people who have overcome incredible odds in becoming successful in some way, refusing to allow a disability, lack of education, circumstances of birth, or any other element to define their life story. They choose to be the director of their own lives. Perhaps that someone is you.
  3. God is in charge. As a Christian you may agree with this in some nebulous way. But I’m talking about the day-by-day direction for the decisions you make, the big and small goals you reach toward, and the formation of who you are on the inside.

Something becomes clear as you contemplate those three options for who is in charge of your life. And here it is:


You can choose to let other people or circumstances or institutions define who you are and how you live your life, what is most important, and what you will accomplish. Many people understandably live this way. It’s easier in some ways. And it’s what psychologists call an external locus of control.

But if you don’t like that option, you can choose to personally take charge. This comes easier to some personalities than others, but anyone can do it. Someone growing up with abuse or neglect can decide to grow strong and make something of themselves anyway. Someone struggling with an addiction can do the hard work of recovery and live free. Someone who suffers a disabling injury can retrain, regroup, and create a whole new life of meaning. This is an internal locus of control.

God has given you an amazing amount of freedom. He does have a plan for you, but that does not mean He simply creates you as a machine and you mindlessly do what He wants. You can choose how much control to let Him have, and whether to cooperate in fulfilling His plan for you or not.

Even if you choose to be in charge, there are times you are brought face-to-face with things you cannot control. Taking personal responsibility for everything you can is important, but it’s not the end of the story. It’s also important to know Who you can turn things over to when life presents more than you can deal with on your own. And God’s the only One with big enough shoulders to handle that job.

There are two important steps here:

  1. Make God the One who is first in charge of your life. Put Him in the driver’s seat.
  2. Put your whole heart into cooperating with God. Play the roll you have with all the courage, passion, and persistence that you can.

Perhaps the Serenity Prayer puts it in perspective best: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Your turn: Who is in charge of your life? Are you happy with your answer? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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