A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog used this little quote – “Life is not like Burger King. We can’t always have it our way.” (Randi Zuckerberg)
One can imagine that life is unfolding in front of us in a totally random way; or, perhaps, take the approach that the things that are happening are God’s grand plan for how things are supposed to happen. I’m not a believer that God somehow micromanages everything that happens to everyone. Taking that position would seem to go against the concept of free will, which is an important tenant of Christian faith. There are sayings like “Everything happens for a reason”, which seem to be pointing towards God having a say in everything that happens. I don’t buy that either.
What I can buy into is God’s hand in how we react to the things that happen to us in life. The ability to accept things and move on and the ability to forgive those who may have caused us pain or harm and move on with life are different ways to react in which a strong belief in God plays a key role. In both cases, a key requirement is the ability to give up the self-delusion that we are in control of things.
If we admit that we cannot control the things that happen in life; then, what’s left for us to do? The main thing that we do control is how we react to those things that happen to us or around us. Some people spend a great deal of time and energy (mental and physical) preparing for things that they imagine might happen. The recent fascination with the concept of a zombie apocalypse is an extreme example; however, there is a huge contingent of “survivalists” in every corner of the country who are planning and preparing for apocalyptic events that they “see” coming. They have stockpiles of food, water and guns to provide for and protect their families when the imagined worst happens.
A more likely day-to-day happening in life is for one to be faced with some disappointment that comes our way. It may be a social snub of some sort, a loss at a game, or perhaps something at work that doesn’t play out as we had hoped. No matter what the disappointment or defeat is; we have a choice of how we react to it. The best reaction may be one in which you say to yourself, “Oh well, I guess that wasn’t meant to be” and move on. The worst reaction is one in which you wallow in self-pity, self-recrimination or self-doubt. Those reactions are all the first steps toward self-loathing and depression. Don’t go there. There may well have been things that you could have done differently; but, you didn’t; so get over it, learn from it and get on with it.
How do you find the strength to deal with adversity and move on in life? That’s where your faith comes into play. Accompanying most setbacks in life is a sense (fear) of being alone. Sometimes this is self-imposed isolation, because we try to keep our remorse or regret or shame or hurt to ourselves. Perhaps we have no “significant other” with whom we can share these feelings. In either case, don’t forget that you are ever alone. God is there with you and ready to share and offload your burden. All you have to do is ask God for help and accept that help; in order to experience the peace that surpasses all understanding. Try it. Use the little prayer that I often use – “Not my will but Thy will be done”. Let God lift your burden from your shoulders. Let it go.
Peace be with you. Move on.