What to Do When You Feel Out of Control

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There’s nothing quite like uncertainty to make us feel out of control. In those moments, we feel as though we are freefalling. We grasp at any tangible promise of control to steady us and recenter us.

I wonder if this is how the disciples felt when Jesus began talking about how the Son of Man was going to suffer and die. Jesus warned them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, he said, and the Son of man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Then three days later he will rise” (Mark 10:33-34). The disciples must have felt the sting of uncertainty and confusion. In their minds, Jesus had come to set up his kingdom, but now He was talking about death.

How we handle uncertainty reveals a lot about our need for control. Right after Jesus foretells his death, James and John ask if they might sit on Jesus’ right and left side in heaven (Mark 10:35-37). When the other disciples heard James and John’s outrageous request, they became indignant. While their bold request was for a position of power and authority, underneath things felt out of control, and this was their way of trying to take control.

Ah, control issues hit all of us, don’t they? They show up as:

Eating issues
Power
Jealousy
Inability of leaders to delegate effectively

What should we do when we feel out of control?

Consider What Can You Control? There’s a tiny verse tucked in the story of the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears. Scripture tells us “she did what she could” (Mark 14:8-9). When I feel out of control, I often stop and reflect on if there is anything I can do in the situation. Often there is nothing I can do except pray. When I come to that conclusion, I pull out the scriptures and determine that I will do what I am able to do – which is interceded persistently.

Remind Yourself that We Walk by Faith Not Explanations. Often when we feel out of control it has been triggered because what God has allowed doesn’t make sense in our thinking. However, if we understood everything about God, He would not be big enough for us to trust. God’s ways are mysterious and beyond us. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” (Romans 11:34). Our western minds worship rationalism. God wants us to worship Him, even when we feel out of control.

Abide in Christ. Life is going to feel out of control often. However, when we are firmly rooted – abiding in Christ – we can find rest for our souls even when life is uncertain. When we abide in Christ, we as Andrew Murray writes, “trust Him to keep us secure”.

Friend, when life feels out of control, as it often will, consider what you can control, Remind yourself to walk by faith, not explanation and finally focus on abiding in Christ. You will discover that He Himself will hold you secure and ultimately your seasons of feeling out of control, will become seasons of knowing more of His presence.

Big News! When you pre-order your copy of Tethered Trust, You will receive a free e-book called, Practical Practices to Strengthen Your Trust In God.

This week on The Connected Mom Podcast, we are talking to stroke survivor Lori Vober about the choices she made in her inspiring journey to adopt kids even though she is disabled.

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