Life is frustrating. Just about the time things appear to be in order, something goes wrong. Often it seems as if all we do is crisis management, running from one fire to the next, just trying to keep our head above the water. And then when everything is going smoothly, we start to worry because we know something is about to go wrong. So even the enjoyment of these moments is robbed from us.

If this describes your situation, then I have a suggestion. Instead of worrying about what could go wrong and instead of being overwhelmed by the impossible task of trying to fix and control everything in your life, give that up. Seriously. Stop trying to fix and control the things that you can’t.

We don’t like this suggestion because we generally prefer to live in the fantasy where we are able to control and carry everything. We tell ourselves that if we just keep moving, keep talking, keep working, and keep fixing, then things won’t fall apart. But we need to remember that very often we are just afraid of being still as we obsessively nag and manipulate those around us in order to create the world that we want.

Sorry if I stepped on your toes there.

So stop focusing on the things that you can’t control in the first place. Stop worrying about all the stuff you can’t even do anything about. The Bible’s advice is to take the things you are worried about and turn them into prayers and God will give you peace in exchange for anxiety:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. — Philippians 4:6-7

Instead of focusing on things you can’t do, focus on the things you can do! We often ignore the things we actually can do, failing to realize the incredible power these things have. Instead of worrying about whether or not you are going to lose your job and being paralyzed by it, you can talk to your boss, show up earlier and work your hardest. Instead of worrying about your marriage or your relationship with your kids, you can plan a date, write a note, or do something special for them. And instead of wishing things were different so you could finally do “x”, maybe it’s time do actually do something about it.

Above all, we should never think prayer is not doing something. Very often prayer is exactly the thing we need to do, but because prayer involves us slowing down and talking to God, we feel like it doesn’t really “do” anything. Prayer has the power to change both us and the situation. It is the process of inviting the supernatural into the natural.

We should never underestimate that.

Andrew Cromwell is the executive pastor at Koinonia Church in Hanford. E-mail him at andrew@kcfchurch.org or call 582-1528.

 

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