Wisdom to Know the Difference

Wisdom to Know the Difference

“God is in control.”

What statement could be more spiritual, more mature than that?

Certainly God is in control. As the song says, “He’s got the whole world in His hands.” For many, that’s a matter of faith. I share that faith, and I’m glad that’s settled.

But is there anything God is NOT in control of?

That may sound sacreligious, and we’re not going to get overly theological here. But think about it: is God in control of YOU?

I’m not talking here about your eternal destiny: that’s another discussion. But think about it. Is God in control of what you had for dinner last night? How about what you said to your children yesterday? Or what time you came home from work? Or the balance on your credit card? Or how long it’s been since you had a date night with your spouse?

Sure, our faith should be a part of every aspect of our life. God DOES care about your dinner menu, your financial health, and your marriage.

But He won’t take the fork out of your hand to prevent you from overeating. He won’t make your credit card vanish to keep you from overcharging. He won’t “beam you up” home from work if you need to spend some quality time with your wife and children.

And He won’t take your medications for you if you need them. In a study of a group of HIV-positive patients, those who believed God was in primary control of their health and HIV disease actually did poorly in taking their medication as directed. They didn’t take as much responsibility for doing what they could to get healthy. That study triggered some of my thoughts for today.

Remember the Serenity prayer: “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.”

Among the people I know, it seems there’s an acute lack of courage to change what can be changed.

What can I change?

  • I can’t change the past, but I can do something different today.
  • I can’t change someone else, but I can choose how I myself will act.
  • I can’t change my genetic background, but I can take the necessary precautions to live healthier today.
  • I can’t change my upbringing, but I can decide to take the best and leave the rest.
  • I can’t change when feelings come, but I can choose how I act as a result.

Remember the adage: You can’t keep the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from making a nest in your hair. Yes, that really is the way it is with thoughts.

This might be a good time to say the Serenity Prayer again. Focus on the things you CAN change, and take some action step today.

Your turn: Which part of the Serenity Prayer do you find the hardest? What have you found the courage to change? I’d love to hear from you!

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