(Do you ever just feel like a puppet being turned and tossed about whenever something happens that is out of your control and seems like it is affecting your life in every sense?!)
Today I want to talk about how we allow other people/situations/things affect our hearts, and ultimately, our contentment.
What belongs to others?
Each person is individually responsible for their own:
I can not control another person in any of these things, and they can not control me in any one of these things.
Each person is responsible for their own feelings, decisions, thoughts, actions, and attitudes.
But what happens when another person makes a decision, or has an attitude or feelings that SEEM to affect us or have some kind of power over us? Maybe they are provoking us in some way, or sinning against us, and our heart is stirred up, and we find in our hearts some feeling of discontentment, or perhaps worry and anxiety—— what happens then?
Certainly other people can “provoke” us at times, and it is a lot harder for us to keep our cool—-but ultimately—-we are responsible for how we act, what we say, how we feel, etc. And the essence of spirituality is when other people, circumstances, or anything else has no power over us.
That is the defeat of the enemy—–when he can not stir our hearts in any way from the outside.
Realizing what belongs to us is the key to contentment!
Even if someone else makes a decision that ultimately affects my life in some way——-
- husband quits a job
- child doesn’t listen and gets hurt
- person cuts me off on the highway
Or whatever may happen—–if another person decides to do something that affects my life—– I still have the power and responsibility to keep my own emotions, contentment, thoughts, actions, and attitudes under control. Another person’s decisions can not “make” me feel stressed, upset, angry, etc. I am the only one who can control my emotions.
Even in a given circumstance where things are out of my control—— no circumstance has the power to make me feel a certain way. The way I feel comes out of my own heart—whether it is good or bad!
Jesus said, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evils things come from within, and defile the man.” Mark 7:21-23
EVALUATE BEFORE YOU REACT
If I am going to be a satisfied, contented wife, I need to make sure I am evalutating things before I react.
Let’s say someone decides something that affects my life in some way—-I need to ask myself:
- Am I expecting this person to do/be a certain way and right now they are going opposite to my personal desires and interests?
- Why am I upset about X? Is it because I wanted things to go a different way?
- Am I getting overly worried because I can not control X?
- Am I feeling scared because I feel responsible for another person’s decisions/life/emotions and I have trouble letting them suffer their own consequences for their own choices and feel like I need to fix their life?
Most times, I will realize that the reason I am stressed, upset, angry, etc—is not because of what the person is doing or how the circumstance is playing out—-but rather it is because in my own heart—-there are personal interests and desires that are being crossed by this person’s decisions, or I feel responsible for that other peron’s life and I feel it is my job to fix their mistakes/problems.
(Of course—I am not saying that if you are in a dangerous, abusive situation that you should just be “Fine”. In that situation, I would encourage someone to seek help immediately and to flee from that!)
To be content—-I need to own my own feelings, choices, attitudes, and actions—–and I need to leave other people’s feelings, choices, attitudes, and actions with them.
I CAN NOT SAVE PEOPLE
If someone is making a terrible decision—– I can not save them. If they decide something that brings with it some consequences—it is not my responsibility to “fix” their decisions and to take on all the stress of the consequences. Those belong to the person who made the choice.
When I take on other people’s consequences—-I will not be content. I will be stressed and become bitter!!!!!!!!
If I am going to be content—-I need to leave that other person with their own choices, even if I am afraid of what might happen to me as a result of it all.
This is where trust and faith in God alone come into play, and I cling to Him to work all things out for the good. Freedom comes when we surrender all to Christ Jesus as Lord, and we rest in His great Love!!!!
I pray we will all grow in learning to recognize how we are allowing outside things to affect our hearts and our contentment—–and that we realize that nothing and no one has any power over our hearts—– and that when we are filled with the Spirit of God—- we will be kept in peace no matter what might happen on the outside of us!
What it really all comes down to, for me, is whether my trust is fully in Christ as Lord over my life—my WHOLE life—or whether my own interests, my own plans, or my own desires are governing my whole life.
When I am fearful and trying to control things, I usually find that it is because my own personal interests and desires are not being fulfilled in some way, and I am not willing to accept the Lord’s will in whatever the sitation is!