For those of you that know me well, you are probably well-aware of my love for Ralph Waldo Emerson. The way he writes-so straight forward, yet so poetically, captures my attention in ways unimaginable. There is one point of his, however, that I do not agree with. These 11 words that he strung together used to be what I believed to be true. I built my actions around them and in a way-used them as an excuse. These words defined my outlook on life and in return, they defined me.
“Men do not rule themselves, but allow circumstances to rule them.”
Friends, what would we be if we allowed the events happening around us to dictate our lives? When I believed these words to be the truest things in my life, I found myself growing upset at every little thing. And who wouldn’t? I wholeheartedly believed that my life was ruled by circumstances beyond my control. And that, dear readers, is no way to live.
All my life, I have been told that life is what we make of it. But wasn’t it really that circumstances were making it? There is so so so much wrong with that. We cannot go through this journey believing that every aspect of our life is dependent upon another circumstance. We have the power, the opportunities, to do whatever we chose with our lives. I chose to channel my excess stress into writing and I don’t know for sure-but it seems to be working out pretty well.
During a talk at camp this summer, someone told me that God doesn’t have a blueprint for my life. This hit me like a bullet. I mean, He’s GOD. He created us. Shouldn’t He know exactly what I’m doing at all times? But that wasn’t the end of the talk. God doesn’t have a blueprint, He has a game plan. God cannot control the BAD things going on in our lives. He doesn’t throw something terrible, some tragic event, at us. He can’t, because God is the definition of all things good. C. S. Lewis made a point in Mere Christianity,
“If a good God made the world, then why has it gone wrong?”
God gave us free will. We are constantly tempted. What He does do, is prepare us for these adversities. He places GOOD people in our lives in times of crisis. He shows us the GOOD in the world around us when we are walking through darkness. God gives us opportunities to make the right choice and then helps us if we don’t.
Circumstances don’t determine who we are, faith does. Where we place our faith is who we are. It is what we do and how we live. Our lives are not made by a series of coincidences that shape us. It is by God’s grace that we are saved, and by His love that we can make the decisions that dictate our life.
A verse that I have held strong to for the past few months of adversities is Hebrews 11:1
“Now faith is being sure of the things that you hope for and believing in what you cannot see”
This verse has lead me to some pretty great people and it has undoubtedly kept me on track when going haywire would have been so much easier. Faith. Our lives are built by faith, they are built by Him.
There is a pretty popular quote that goes along the lines of “pray hardest when it’s hardest to pray”. I think that should be extended farther. We need to trust most when there seems to be nothing left to hope for. There should be an overwhelming amount of assurance that He can and will provide for us.
Our lives are anything but a series of conjoining circumstances slowly making a beautiful mess. The good things in life are purposefully, hand-placed there by God to give us hope.The not-so-fabulous events are all pieces of the story that are not uplifting, but build us all the same. Life is not random. It isn’t thrown together in an instant, but we seem to let them fall apart just as fast. If we believe that our lives are defined by circumstances, it is easy to fall to pieces.
Circumstances do not define our lives, our faith in those circumstances does.
Hold true to your faith. Pray when you are struggling and thank Him with all your power when life is going good.
He will provide and He will save.