Devotion: What We Can Change

As I stared down at the email my jaw clenched as my fists rolled into white knuckle balls. I could feel my breathing growing heavier as I started to mutter, my anger and frustration palpable.

I’m not a quick-tempered person. More often than not I tend to be rather even keeled finding that though things may phase me little phases me much. Maybe that wasn’t always the case, but time and age has a way of tempering many of us, doesn’t it? Still, at that moment, my composure melted under the heat of the moment.

To be blamed for something you are responsible, that I get. When I find that I am at fault I am always quick to apologize as I start to try and figure out ways to improve. I may beat myself up about it for a few days, but I appreciate it because I want to do better in everything I do. When I am blamed for something I had nothing to do with, or, more accurately, has nothing to do with me, I struggle. Now, to be blamed like I was being blamed, talked to the way I was being talked to, I knew if I didn’t step back, I was going to blow.

That’s the way it is sometimes, isn’t it? No matter how hard we try, no matter the standard we try to hold ourselves to, something we have no control over suddenly hits us from behind as we’re held accountable for something that, in the end, had little to do with us. It’s not fair, it’s not right, but it is life.

No one promised us life was going to be fair. In fact, more often than not we are reminded of the fact that life can be ultimately unfair. That we can’t change. Yet, what we can change, what we control, is how we respond and react to it. What we can change, what we can control is the power that these situations and circumstances have over us.

God reminds us of this throughout the Scriptures. Whether it is through the story of the thorn that Paul had to carry in his flash, or the reminder we receive in 1 Thessalonians to “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” we are told time and time again that not everything in this world is going to be easy but God’s grace is ultimately sufficient for our joy and our thanksgiving. We just need to be willing to accept that there are going to be times when we are put to the test, but that ultimately the only power these challenges have over us are the power that we give them. Yet, when we focus our eyes, and our minds on Christ we see the perfect reminder that whatever cross may be bore we are ultimately victorious over them in the love of God.

Yes, this can be difficult for us to remember at times as we find ourselves angry or bitter, sad or struggling, as we find ourselves grappling with things we have no ability to sway or change along the way. We find it just weighs down at us or builds up in us as it seems to spill over. But the truth is that what we need to perhaps remember is that it doesn’t do us any good. The world is going to continue to be unfair, we are going to keep finding that things we have no power over are pushing us, or causing us trouble, we are going to keep finding that life, it’s harder and that there are times when it is just harder than others. But when focus on God, when we focus on His message of peace, when we look to the hope that He offers us, we have the chance for peace, as we are reminded, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”

It may not be easy or simple, but let it go and don’t give it power over you. Let go of the anger or the resentment, the bitterness or the cynicism, the hurt and the pain. God has so much more planned for you in the love He has for you.

You just need to remember that there are things that can’t be changed, and work on that which can. In the end it will make all the difference in the world.

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