Things We Can Control

I was in a small group setting recently, and we were talking about self-awareness and knowing our identity. The question was asked, “What are things you say to yourself that define you?”

It made me laugh, because I am known for having a few little common sayings that are a regular part of my life. For example, when someone makes a negative statement about themselves or a task they have to complete, I’ll say, “Well, with that attitude . . .” in hopes that it will point out the negative approach someone is taking on their situation.

I will often shout (at least, in my mind), “I do whatever I want!” because I am confident that I have control over my own actions. Not everyone is fortunate enough to exercise this kind of freedom, and we should not take it for granted. I have found that where we have control, we do what we want, and this leads to another one of my little ‘life mottos.’

Probably the biggest motto in my life has been, “I only worry about things I can control.” It’s not very unique or original. You hear it gaining popularity amongst athletes and the business world, but it can be a very uplifting statement for anyone.It serves to remind me that there are things completely out of my control, while keeping in perspective the things I can control.

Examples of this happen on a daily basis in our life. In Lesotho, we cannot control whether the water will go out for the day (or a week), but I can control my response to that situation. Will I let it ruin my day (or week), or will I choose to have a positive attitude regardless?

When I am spending time with the kids in our  childcare program, I am constantly reminding them of the things they control: studying, honesty, listening, saying thank you, and trusting and loving one another. When something comes along that is out of our control, I am reminded that, “In all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28).

Bryan Nix, Africa Director

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