Monday, January 21, 2013


I receive daily devotions via email from Proverbs 31 Ministries (which I highly recommend, by the way).

This morning's devotion is called "Who Controls What?" and it talks about how God's original plan was for him to control the world and for us to control ourselves.  The author is mostly speaking about self-control.

But it got me thinking.  I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, mostly because I'm having such a hard time with this darn perfectionism and letting other people's words/actions sink in a little too deeply.

So I started thinking about what God controls and what I control.  I'm a list girl, so I started making two lists.  These are personal, but that's exactly the sort of thing I share here.  I wish I could post these side by side so you could see which items are related, but I think you can connect certain ones just because you're smart.

Things I Can't Control:
  • The genetic makeup of my body
  • People's reactions to my kids
  • What people think of my parenting
  • Who my kids are
  • What people think of me (My cousin told me, "What other people think of you is none of your business.")
  • Jared's income (which is our family's income)
  • Jared's travels for work
  • God's plan for me and my family
  • What people say to me

Things I Can Control:
  • What I eat
  • How much I exercise
  • How I parent
  • What I teach my kids
  • How I react to my kids
  • How we spend money
  • My attitude about Jared's travels
  • How much I pray
  • My study of the Bible
  • What I say to other people

I'm still prayerfully thinking about these lists and asking God to help me see which category various aspects of my life belong in.  For me, it's important to make this distinction so I can focus on things I can actually change. 

I know this isn't an earth-shattering concept.  But actually writing the lists is a helpful step for me and might be for you too.  The lists give us an idea of how to make a difference with our time and energy.

This exercise reminded me of the Serenity Prayer.  I know everyone knows it, maybe even to the point of it being trite.  I personally have a beautiful version of it (made by my great-grandma) hanging in my family room.

Overused or not, it's a helpful prayer.  I'm called to control the things on my list and surrender the things on God's.  I only have enough time and energy to work on the things God puts on my list.  No wonder I'm so exhausted:  I've been working on God's list!


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