Timeless Advice

Recently Jaden came home from school complaining about an unfair situation in which he had received a consequence but the “truly offending party” had gotten off without even a rebuke! He was frustrated and his internal sense of justice was crying out for an answer. I listened to his story, bearing in mind that it truly was his story and perhaps not a completely unbiased version of the events. But as a mom my heart went out to him in his frustration. I could understand the anxiety he felt at being singled out for correction when someone else had incited the situation to begin with. Interestingly I found myself sharing with him the timeless advice of my father from my own childhood: “Jaden, you can only control you.” No matter what someone else does, no matter what they attempt against us, we can only control our own actions and responses.

As I talked through the situation with Jaden I was reminded again how essential this truth is in life. My dad’s wise words have come back to me over and over again in times of frustration when I am unable to control others around me or the resulting situations. Often it can feel as though other individuals determine the course of my life. And this injustice can leave me with a sense of unsteadiness. It is as if my equilibrium is determined by issues out of my control. But that need not, nor should it be the case. Many things in life are completely out of the realm of my control, but that does not mean I have no control. Ultimately, I have control of one thing, and one thing only: me. And because God’s Spirit lives inside of me I can relinquish that control to Him, which means, I am not at the mercy of others. Rather I am at the mercy of my Savior. This and only this re-establishes my equilibrium.

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