I love the phrases “drop your hands!” and “own your life!” These two short phrases pack a lot of power and represent the fifth step in problem solving.
“Dropping your hands” refers to letting go of and taking my/your/our focus off things that are NOT my/your/our responsibility, business or control. It could mean someone else’s attitude, behavior or opinion, the weather, politics, a downturn in the economy and so on……
“Owning your life” refers to being responsible for the things we can control or “do something about” like attitude, outlook, emotions, thoughts, or what can be done about matters of the Heart.
When encountering a problem, it is easy to fail to “guard our heart”. In fact, our focus can quickly switch to trying to control events and anything that will stop the problem or potentially relieve the stress. We initially ignore what is on the inside while just trying to gain ground on the external. Remember, our inner thoughts…..are what lead to actions…..so the scripture to really understand……. Proverbs 4:23, where it says guard your heart, because EVERYTHING you do flows from it…….is a very serious scripture for us to obey all the time……but especially when we face problems! So what does it look like to “drop our hands” and “own our life”?
First, Stopping to think before we act…..goes straight to our heart and God. I love the scripture, “BE still and know that I am God”. I believe applying this verse involves STOPPING…..GETTING STILL…..TAKING EVERY THOUGHT CAPTIVE….AND ALLOWING GOD TO SPEAK TO OUR HEART…….our inner self and thoughts. Then the appropriate actions can follow. Too many times we react without…..without that guarding of the heart.
Second, our values….. the core beliefs and principles that we lead and live our lives from are key! Stopping in the midst of a problem to reexamine our values can serve as an anchor, a guide with boundaries on choices and decisions…….I love maps, especially “Google maps and navigation systems”. STRONG UNWAVERING VALUES act as a map or navigation system for us when we encounter problems. Values such as:
- God is the source of all things. He will guide me. I must not only listen but obey, even when it doesn’t make sense to me.
- Honesty rules, even if it hurts.
- My responsibility is to do the very best that I can with my God-given strengths and talents.
- Be a God pleaser and not a man pleaser.
- Value people and relationships. Those are the things that last.
- Consistently check the price tags I place on things, making sure I don’t value the wrong things.
- Take the opportunities given to share Christ with others.
I have found that sometimes I am able to solve problems that arise just by going through my core values…………. It definitely gets me on the right road.
Third, choices…… the choice we have. The only choice we have is what we can control! So take note when facing problems, especially those involving other people: do not spend energy on a problem person. The bulk of our energy needs to be spent on how we may be contributing to the problem or the problem person’s behavior and how we can have a good life with a person who isn’t healthy. There are healthy ways to respond to the words, actions and attitudes of a problem person that keeps their problems from holding our joy hostage.
NOTE to SELF: When I focus on my choices, it changes my focus. I have to let something go…….that something is the wish to fix, control, rescue, enable or choose for someone else. The redirection gives me the only thing I am responsible for and that is MY CHOICES!!!
Fourth is time! Time is the one thing we cannot get back. I doubt any of us will live past age 120 or so. So time is limited. Value it!!! Don’t waste it! Most people can do two things with time and problems. Avoidance or denial….wasting time……..doesn’t make our problems get better. The second thing we do is orbit the problem instead of organizing a plan to address it as discussed in previous posts. Everyone is busy. Everyone has problems. Everyone has time to devote to what they deem important. In other words, if it is important, take the TIME to address, plan and attack the problem.
Psalm 105:4 reminds us to always seek the Lord. How important this is when we are problem solving! “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!”
I pray that as we “drop our hands” and “own our life,” we will seek the Lord and not wander from His word. Allow God to speak to you today about whatever situation you are facing. Psalm 119:10, “With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!”