There is so much we can’t control no matter what we do.

I think I could stand outside all day. Soaking in the sun and letting the cool breezes wash over me while enjoying this, unusual for the South, incredible fall weather.

It’s refreshing and I’ll take these outdoor “fall moments” any day, even if it’s only for a few minutes in between work.

Just like we can’t see or control when humidity comes and goes, you and I can’t see the big picture of our lives before it arrives either. We can’t envision the connections. The people God is bringing into our lives. How God can take the place we are and the experience we’re getting and use it all for so much more than we think. 

Don’t underestimate what God is up to in the mundane, when it looks like NOTHING is happening. 

In other words, watch your thoughts. 

Pay attention to what you are agreeing to.

There is so much that we don’t have control over in our lives, such as how others act, what others think of us and the unexpected situations that get thrown our direction.

We can easily feel out of control, or try to control what we really have no control over.

So much of the time we step out of bounds either one way or the other instead of actually utilizing, to the best of our ability, the things we can control.

This is exhausting.

This leads to frustration.

And the illusion of control keeps us in a never ending pattern.

Going straight to the negative spectrum of thinking never accomplishes what we intend it to. Our reasoning doesn’t justify what’s happening, repeating the problem isn’t solving it, and whatever sense of control we feel from telling ourselves how bad it is doesn’t ever make it better.

If we are going to exert energy and effort, let’s do it in a way that changes our experience for the good, whether the circumstances we’re facing shift or not. 

If we’re going to go “all in” we might as well throw ourselves wholeheartedly into something we can control, that will give us positive results. 

I like winning and honestly, negative thinking never leaves me on the winning side of anything at all. It actually wears me out, steals whatever joy I have, and leaves me feeling desperate and alone.

Yes, absolutely process through your emotions. We often can’t move forward until we uncover where we’re at, allow our minds to process how we got there, and gain clarity on how to get from where we are to where we want to go. God will be with us every step of the way. 

If we’re walking through trauma or grief this may take a while, be kind to yourself. 

Grace yourself. 

And, don’t give up my friend. A process is exactly that, a process. 

May this be an ever gentle reminder to those of us who need to hear it: God is the giver of good gifts and His intentions are to give us abundant LIFE, not death. Knowing God’s character and reminding ourselves of who God is can help align our thoughts with His. 

It can help us surrender when we’d rather ignore His promptings.

What if we became determined to see the best in every situation? To master what we can control.

Not because it is easy, or we’re crazy, but because the benefits it reaps in our lives actually change the construct of our minds. This can revolutionize our ability to experience life. 

“Epigenetics means that you are born with certain genes, but you get to sculpt these genes and how they express themselves through your thoughts, choices, and habits. You have a lot of control over your biology!” – Dr. Rudolph Tanzi on Dr. Caroline Leaf’s Cleaning Up The Mental Mess Podcast

Dr. Amy Johnson says this, “Thought is the ability to experience.” 

Twenty people can be invited into the same exact life event and walk away telling very different stories of their experience. The human mind is magnificent in how we can choose to be aware of what we’re thinking, re-conceptualize it and not be controlled by it. 

Dr. Tanzi says this, “You are not your brain, you are the user of your brain.”

I love how science backs up God’s Word in beautiful and amazing ways. We don’t have to follow the patterns of this world or the habitual defaults of the human mind. We can carve out new patterns of thinking if we’re intentional. 

Patterns and grooves of repeated activity in the mind can save our lives (when it’s positive or necessary) and rip our lives a part (when it’s toxic or negative). Patterns are a gift when they are stewarded well. We can retrain our brains and change our life’s experiences one thought at a time.

Over the past few years I’ve become more determined than ever to flip the script of how I process life, people and problems. 

This has NOT been easy y’all, but it is worth every bit of effort. 

Escaping hardship isn’t an option, how we handle it is. Three years ago this came to a head in my life. Our home was bombarded with an ongoing, extremely stressful situation and a person’s poor choices. 

The punches in the gut seemed to come harder than ever on Saturday nights. 

My husband and I were involved in leading and teaching in our local church on Sunday mornings, so this made complete sense. The enemy knows the perfect timing to assault our peace and sleep to bring the most destruction. 

It happened again. The sinking feeling washed over me.

Immediately I started down the road of, “I can’t believe this, this is too hard, I can’t handle this, God why are you letting this happen.” 

These weren’t just words. Are they ever? I could literally feel the attack of desperation and heaviness taking over. 

It was like a switch flipped in my heart and soul that evening. Internally God spoke. “You are allowing the enemy to win. You are agreeing with His plan of destruction. You are accepting defeat. Others may be making poor choices, but so are you.

Put it all in my hands. You can’t control others choices, so why are you trying? Here’s what you can control.

You can trust me. 

You can pray. 

You can let my peace be the atmosphere of your heart. 

You can go to sleep and rest in me. 

You can stop letting the enemy win in your life.” 

– God

“Okay.” That’s all I could say.

God was right. Is He ever not? I had overcome in so many areas of my life, yet in this one place I kept doing things my way. It was a cycle that needed breaking. 

I walked into my husband’s office to share with him the news. Then I told him exactly what God impressed upon me. 

We prayed together.

I laid down in bed determined to be on the winning side. 

Of course I had thoughts popping and trying to invade. I refused. I carved out a new pattern of thinking. I repeated God’s words, not my own. 

Chains broke off. I was free.  

Free to choose my experience. Free to take God at His word. Free to NOT make agreements, no matter how subtle, with the enemy. I was free to go to sleep in peace, knowing that God had the situation in His hands. My worried state of overwhelm was of no use to God, me or my family.

I don’t know who this word is for, or what you are going through. But I know this: you can be free too. 

God is no respecter of persons. Favoritism isn’t His way. Freedom is.

Cheering you on friend!

With so much love and grace,

Joelle Povolni 

P.S. None of us are good enough on our own. I hope the posts, We Are Not Enough and This Is Okay, encourages you right where you are. 

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