The most liberating words I ever heard from the pulpit are these . . . “You are not in control of the outcome, so the best you can do is to love others well.” Those words are vastly different from so many messages I have heard over the years — messages that I need to try harder, do better, pray longer or perform in some other way to bring about a desired outcome.
Yet, the truth is, we are not in control of the outcome. In fact, we are not in control of anything, except perhaps our attitude. Sure, we can make decisions and take actions hoping to create the life we want, but often things don’t turn out the way we had envisioned, even if we followed our plan exactly.
I used to be so hard on myself. If something “bad” happened to me, I thought it was the direct result of a decision I had made and that if only I hadn’t made that decision, then things would have turned out better. It took a very long time for me to see that this is not how life works.
The truth is that nothing depends on me and everything depends on God. It is he who created the universe and everything in it and it is he who is in control, not me. It makes sense, then, that if I am not in control of how things turn out, then I am certainly not responsible for how things turn out.
The best I can do, then, is to focus my energies on loving others well. I can also trust that when “bad” things happen that God will use them all for good, just like he promised. This is liberating indeed!
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. ~ Romans 8:28