Finding Your Control
Usually, the beginning of a new year is a time of reflection and setting of new goals. The new year is an opportunity to correct what went wrong in the past and instill hope for the future. These are needed reflections and good things to contemplate. One of the most important aspects of finding your control in life is to examine what causes your anger, frustration, distress and anxiety. Anger, simply defined, is your reaction to the inability to get what you want. People are constantly angry about trivial things and it destroys their progress in life. For example, you go to the grocery store and there is a long line at the checkout — you get angry. You do a favor for someone and they don’t say thank you — you get angry. Someone makes a snide comment about your clothes — you get angry. Everyone has triggers that stir their anger, but most people have too many of them. Moreover, these anger triggers are rarely examined and tend to affect a person their entire life. Same thing goes for anxiety, fear and every other emotion that holds you back. One way to correct this is to get to the root of the issue by asking yourself why. Why does this make me angry? When you drill down to the root cause, often times, you will discover it really isn’t worth your time and shouldn’t affect your life. Jesus says in John 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." And Peter says in 1 Peter 4:12-13, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.” These scriptures are telling us to not be surprised that the world will despise and persecute us for being Christians. When you read this, it highlights how immature and ridiculous the everyday temper tantrums people throw over very trivial things. We aren’t facing a stoning on the streets because we profess Christ. Instead, people get angry because someone took their parking spot. People who are quick to anger are very spoiled and foolish in their way of life. Proverbs 29:11 “A fool always loses his temper, but a wise man holds it back.”
It’s Not Fair: Realize this — The world’s not fair. People will act up, do horrible and stupid things, treat you bad, call you names, cut you off in traffic, et cetera, et cetera. The way other people act is out of your control, but how you respond is within your control. Don’t be naive, instead, expect that the nature of other people will not always look out for your best interest. This isn’t to say you need to have a negative outlook towards people, but to simply be aware, that in life, other people aren’t always going to treat you fairly. As you start to apply this mindset, you won’t be shocked when someone does or says something negative to you. You will learn to let the little things slide and your mindset will be a lot calmer. For the most part, things are always a lot worse in your head than they actually are in real-life. You must adjust your thinking and realize life goes on.
Getting Over Yourself: Most people are so stuck on themselves, they fail to realize there is more to life than their troubles. Many of the anxieties that plague people are of their own fancy and imagination. Instead, a person should let their thoughts sweep into the vast and wonderful nature of God when anxieties arise. Likewise, worship takes you out of the focus of yourself and puts it directly on the creator of the universe — the Lord our God. This is why people feel so refreshed after they worship the Lord in songs and praise. It’s because they are relinquishing their troubles and selfish thoughts, and instead, focusing on God. Psalms 100:1-5 “Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth. Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.”
Peace in the Mind: The earth is a large place and people are suffering death, poverty and sickness all around the world. Think for a moment what you have in life, and then think about what so many other people do not have in comparison. Often times, when we feel frustrated, we are reminded of the war zones, famine areas and refugee camps we have visited on our journeys. How could we ever complain when others have suffered and are suffering so much? It’s this overview perspective that recalibrates your thoughts from one of distress to one of gratitude.
Faith over Fear: You must decide what thoughts will rule your life. Examine yourself and explore what’s holding you back. If you have a fear, ask yourself the question: what’s the worst that could happen? When you think about it, you’ll soon find out your worst fears aren’t all that bad. So why should fear rule your life? The people who change the world are the one’s who chose faith over fear and then apply action to their faith. Challenges will arise and setbacks do occur, but if you are only willing to step out in faith when everything is perfect you will never act. Life isn’t as hard or depressing as our minds would have us believe. You simply have to make a choice on how those thoughts will affect you. Take the time to examine yourself and learn to rule your mind according to the Word of God. When you do this, you will begin to live according to the Spirit.