It is so easy to try to take control of situations. I like being in control, knowing what to expect, how to prepare for what’s coming next, and feeling accomplished when I am successful. Through it all, I have to remember that I only have so much power. I can be proud of my academic, professional, and social accomplishments, but that should never get in the way of my thanks and reliance upon God. He has done so much from waking me up to see another day, giving me the opportunities to share my life with others to help them through tough situations, and granting me the ability to get through my own tough times and enjoy the fun and exciting things in life. Sure, my hard work, dedication, and commitment to my success has contributed to all of this, but the things that are beyond my control are all God’s doing.
By choice, I work in a very demanding and consuming environment that poses the challenges of time management, organization, and multi-tasking at all times of the day. This makes it hard to keep a definite separation between work and my personal life, but I manage to do it. Recently, so much has been happening in my personal life that have caused me to really question how much faith I really am putting into God and all that He is preparing me for. My uncle passed away, a friend recently fell ill, and I was also dealing with my own workload with grad school, teaching, and applying to Ph.D. programs. Needless to say, there was potential for a lot of stress, but I knew that keeping my prayer and bible study life was essential to making sure that I stayed on track.
I was in a situation at work that caused me to take God’s hand in things into consideration. To make a long story short, I had a disagreement with a superior, and although I was in the right, the way in which the situation was rectified took patience, wisdom, and a sound mind on my part. I could have handled our issue in the same way in which she did- emotion-fueled, angry, and overall unprofessional, but the first thing I did after reading each one of her emails was stop and pray. It sounds silly, but yes, my hands were on my laptop keys, and I closed my eyes as I felt my ears getting hot, and simply prayed to God to guide my heart and my hands. I specifically remember saying “Lord, thank you so much for this job, and I pray that you will guide me to season my words appropriately.” And that is exactly what He did. We went back and forth, and as her messages became increasingly frustrated and frustrating, I was able to read them, understand her message, and respond with words that were not exactly those which I wanted to say, but what needed to be said to solve the issue. In the end, despite the back and forth and the dragging in of my boss to help facilitate a civil in-person conversation, God worked it out.
This situation in particular made me remember to thank God for all He has done and continues to do in my life. I tend to go through seasons of personal and spiritual difficulty. Things will seem great- almost perfect- and then all at once, my world seems to come tumbling down. Whether it is the death of a loved one, feeling overwhelmed or frustrated, or dealing with thinking that maybe I made a wrong decision, negative things seem to compound themselves when they all come at once. Learning to rely on prayer and my Christian family has become a sine qua non. Where would I be without those who speak sense into me when I’m feeling low? How else would I continue to remember who is completely in control if it weren’t for answered prayers and the confidence that God is watching over me and working everything out for good? Even after the times when I thought that there was no solution, no way out, and no possible way that things would end on a high note, my faith in God has brought me through. I could say that I saw myself through and did it all on my own, but that would be the biggest lie I ever told. Even in my lowest moments, I always find the time to give thanks and praise to the God I serve, and wait for Him to put everything into place when it was beyond my control.
I have friends who don’t believe in God, and I cannot fathom how hard it would be for me to get through everything without believing that it is being taken care of by someone more powerful, more able, and more understanding than I. I pray for myself, my friends, my family, my enemies, and everyone I encounter because I don’t know what they are going through, but I know that the same is true for me. I do a good job at hiding the depths of my struggle when I am in the midst of something challenging, but through it all, I rely on God to work in His own time to make it all come together. It isn’t about whether or not I understand what He is doing, why He is doing it, or how long before I can say that I have made it through. It is about the things in life that increase my faith so that when those hard times come, I know where to seek my strength. Christianity, faith in God, and living a life that is exemplary and encouraging is not for the weak- it takes confidence and perseverance to which not everyone can attest. I’ve chosen to check my pride and remember who is really in control, and I try to encourage everyone around me to do the same.