As a child, I remember growing up with so much love. We weren’t rich but I was secure in knowing I was provided for. As a teenager, things were challenging in our home. There were times we had abundance and other times when we struggled. When things were really hard, I remember feeling as if God abandoned me, abandoned us. It was so painful to go through such difficulty.
As an adult, those memories are with me. It’s easy to become fearful because there are situations that happen when I’m not in control. Life happens and there are things that come up that no matter how much I prepare, they don’t always turn out the way I want or even expect. As a child, I didn’t have much control—but the expectation as an adult is that I can make things happen.
We are taught that we have control. There is a term called ‘locus of control.’ “Locus of control is the degree to which people believe that they, as opposed to external forces (beyond their influence), have control over the outcome of events in their lives.” There are two types of loci of control—internal and external. “People who develop an internal locus of control believe that they are responsible for their own success. Those with an external locus of control believe that external forces, like luck, determine their outcomes.”
The reality is that as much as we’d like to believe we have control no matter if it’s external or internal, we don’t always have the ability to manipulate the variables in our favor. It can be exhausting in trying to make things always happen. Many of us are burned out, filled with anxiety and worry, because we are trying so desperately to make things happen.
Maybe you are like me: In your life, there were times of instability, and as a result, you’re ‘go to’ mode of operation is either to make things happen or to become overcome with frustration and caution. What I have learned to rely upon is that God is in control, no matter what is going on or how I feel.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for us,” 1 Peter 5:7. When times were rough as a child, I knew that I couldn’t do it alone. As an adult, I realize that even more. Life is hard. It’s important to know—that the God who made you and I—is there even when it doesn’t feel, look or seem like it. Don’t shut God out because things are not going your way.
“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes,” Matthew 6:34, MSG.
We live in a time that we are so driven by our needs and wants. We believe that we can just make things happen. The problem is that when we depend solely upon ourselves to do everything, the weight of the responsibilities can be overwhelming. It also means that we are edging God out (EGO) when we think we are in control.
Often, we make life more difficult because we choose to be the master of our destiny when we move God out. Jesus reminds us that there is a better way: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light,” Matthew 11:28-30. To do this requires us to let go and let God.
Worry and anxiety happens, but it doesn’t have to dominate your life. Trust God instead of believing in the havoc and hopelessness that may appear. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God,” Philippians 4:6.
(Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew is the host of the Tapestry podcast and the author of three books for women. She is also the vice president of Community Affairs for the State Fair of Texas. To learn more, visit <drfroswa.com>.)