“What difference does it make to you what someone else becomes, or says, or does? You do not need to answer for others, only for yourself.”
Thomas a Kempis
Since responsibility is my number one strength, it’s easy for me to take on what is really other people’s responsibility. And when I do that, worry opens the door to my heart, climbs up on the couch, and makes itself right at home.
Recently I found myself fretting over a possible outcome for a loved one’s life. I would wake up a few hours before the alarm went off, unable to fall back to sleep, all because the anxiety of the ‘what ifs’ took my heart and mind hostage. What deprived me of sleep and hijacked my peace was something that might happen, but it didn’t directly involve me. It was during this time I read the following quote by Frederick Buechner. “Stop trying to protect, to rescue, to judge, to manage the lives around you…remember that the lives of others are not your business. They are their business. They are God’s business – even your own life is not your business. It is also God’s business!”
God spoke to my heart on one of these mornings, warning me there is a tug of war waging within my heart between faith/fear, peace/anxiety, and truth/lies. He encouraged me to let things rest and to not go down the ‘What If Lane’ which only led to fret. He said, “Be at peace, my daughter, knowing I’ve got this one too. Nothing slips by My notice and I alone can work all things out for the best – way beyond what you can imagine. For I’m the God who turns the bad into the best.”
God’s words reminded me of Joseph’s words in Genesis 50:20 after numerous injustices had been done to him. Joseph told his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
One night while I laid awake, I placed the situation on the altar and released it to God’s sovereign control. I recited Philippians 4:6. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Eventually verse 7 became tangible. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I only have the grace to handle what is my responsibility. When I clarify and realize what belongs to me then I am able to reside and rest within the boundary zone of peace.
“The only way to remove the fear from our lives is to listen to God’s assurance to us.”
1. In what situation have you lost your peace and grace?
2. Ask God is this is really your responsibility.
3. If it’s not, let go of it through prayer, petition, and thanksgiving. Receive His peace, knowing God can turn the bad into the best.