Christian, life

When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Lately, I’ve noticed myself gripping tightly the few things I think I control: my schedule, my food, my work. When some situations spiral out of control, do we attempt to control other areas in our lives–and explode with frustration and anger when it doesn’t go our way?

I’m thankful for math. Math teaches me that I’m not God. I told my friend, “Math is a lesson in anger management.” Which begs the question: why anger? Math attracts me because of the simplicity: reality functions predictably. I manipulate this and achieve a correct result. And when I don’t? Perhaps I hold too tightly to this promise, not seeing that my failures cause math not to serve me in the way that I want. It reminds me that I can’t control it.

My differential equations exam proved as much. The final problem was not a concept on the practice test, review, or homework done in the past week. I’d forgotten the formula, and swelled with emotion when I realized I couldn’t solve it. I spent the first five minutes paralyzed, upset with the professor and the problem and everything.

It was that desire for control that led me to being so upset over the problem. Control leeches into our lives, promising greater stability, when really it sets us up for failure. In life there will be problems we can’t control. So when we face those problems, we give up and broil in anger.

Now I see that if I had not wanted control over math, I would not have been so upset when I faced that problem. If I hadn’t been upset, I could have worked on it instead of failing it. Even if it was wrong, it would be better than nothing.

Control is a lie because it leads us to powerlessness. We weren’t meant to control our lives, but submit to Jesus. He knows what we want, and it might take giving up control over our lives to receive the better things he plans for us. The less you desire control, the more you can control–because anger won’t rule you when things don’t go your way.

Whoever tries to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it. – Luke 17:33

All for now,


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