I was one of the hopefuls that started last year with a brand-new planner. 2020 was full of promise, and I thought I had some control over the direction of the year. I had a long planned/postponed trip to see my family slotted for early spring, some home improvement plans, a saving/financial plan, plans for family vacations, etc.
But then, the world changed, and we were left dealing with the new reality!
I’ve thought a lot about change in the context of recognizing the need for a change and committing to making a change, but what about changes that are forced on us? A war, a divorce, a terminal diagnosis, a loss—all these things bring tremendous change that even the most recalcitrant are forced to adapt to. How do you wrap your head around a change that you absolutely do not want? What do you allow to change, and what do you fight to keep unchanged? And what do you hold onto while it’s all spinning out of control?
You may have heard the saying “All things change, but Jesus never.” As a wife, a mom, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a homeowner, an employee, and a healthy, financially stable, free person, I don’t like the implication that any one of those things can change without my consent. How do you sit with that?
If 2020 showed me anything, it’s how small my ability to control anything is. And how much my happiness has been actually a satisfaction derived from controlling “my world.” This is a hard thing to wrestle with, as the things I’m trying to control and protect are good, beautiful things that should be protected, like my family, our home and loved ones, etc. But, ultimately, I have very little control over anything but my own heart, mind, and actions.
I always love reading the epistles in the Bible. Paul will be exhorting on big subjects like the persecution and other hardships he and the church were enduring, and he’ll throw in something like this: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”1
It’s really that simple.
1. Philippians 4:6–8