From a recent post on the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this bit of good advice – “If you get caught up in the things you have no control over it will affect adversely the things you do have control over.” (Duffy Daugherty)
Jack went on to write about the article that he read that quote in and how the author used two lists side by side to give examples of those things. That is called a Franklin Chart because Ben Franklin made popular the idea of making comparisons of alternatives using lists like their attributes or the good and bad of a decision for either alternative. I often use a Franklin Chart in me real estate business to show sellers the pluses and minuses that I see for their houses, as a method of justifying my assessment of its market value.
In life we are often confronted by situations or events over which we really have no control. Unfortunately, our innate curiosity and ego-driven belief in our ability to find a solution, often drive us to expend enormous amounts of time and energy in pursuit of understanding and controlling things that we really have no control over at all. In times like that, we need to get over to the right side of the lists, to the things that we can control.
On the left side of the list (the things that we can’t control) are some obvious entries – the weather, political elections, the stock market, a loved one’s death, things that have already happened, and someone else’s actions. One the right side of the chart (the things we do control), you should find this entry at or near the top of the list – how you react to things that happen. That is really one thing that you have total control over.
Desperately trying to find answers to why things happen on the left side of the list or seeking solutions to things on that list that cannot be solved leads only to frustration, anger and depression. Letting go of those fixations about knowing or solving life’s mysteries frees you to get on with your life; it allows you to focus upon the things that you can control – how you deal with things in life. If you get the reaction part right, that will also allow you to spend more time on the pro-active parts of life – doing good with your life, instead of just reacting to bad.
Maybe you have been worrying about a bunch of things, or perhaps you have been struggling to understand some bad things that have happened in your life (maybe the breakup of a relationship or marriage or even a death in the family). Perhaps you have been stubbornly beating your head against the frustrating wall of denial or disbelief in search for answers or solutions. Maybe it’s time to right those things down. Put them all on the left hand side of your chart. Now, look over to the right hand side of the chart and focus upon the enties there.
I wrote recently about the best advice for dealing with these situations and that advice should be there, on the right hand side of your chart (probably right at the top), and it should be in bolded font and underlined – Not my will, but thy will be done. See my post – https://normsmilfordblog.com/2016/11/10/take-care-of-yourself/
The bedrock of focusing upon how you react to things that happen to you in your life is to accept God’s role and God’s will in those things. Trying to understand why they happened or to change what has happened is fighting a losing battle against God’s will. Accepting that those events were God’s will, that they have happened and that they cannot be changed is a key step towards the right side of the chart. Once there you can ask for God’s help with how you react to them.
Some of the most amazing stories that I’ve ever read or seen were about people who had every reason in the world to be angry, sad, frustrated and mad at the loss of a loved one at the hand of another person. The amazing part came when they forgave that person who took the life of their loved one. I’m sure that most of you have heard of those stories, too. Which side of the chart do you think their forgiveness came from? Did you notice the sense of peace and closure that they exuded as they told of their decision to forgive that person? Were you even able to relate to their decision?
As you start out a new week, let go of the issues of your past and get on the right side of the chart. Get focused upon the things that you can control and leave the rest in God’s hands.