Trials, disagreeable people, and frustrating circumstances are potentially upsetting—and the bad news is, they’re not going away anytime soon. However, the good news is, they’re not your problem! The fact is, it’s not what happens to you that determines your mood; it’s what happens in you! We imagine life would immediately change for the better if we could alter people and circumstances, but there would be new people and circumstances to deal with, right?
Solomon had it right; it’s not about controlling the world on the outside—it’s controlling the world on the inside. Proverbs tells us, ‘A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls’; in other words, a city that’s open to attack. The only way to guarantee your security is to forget about controlling people and things, and to focus on maintaining your protective walls.
‘But people and circumstances can make me feel inadequate and vulnerable,’ you say. The Bible tells us that ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ (1 Peter 5:5 NRS) In fact, recognising your own inadequacies is step one on the journey to wholeness. Step two is accepting that only God can empower you with self-control (see Philippians 2:13). Step three lies in understanding that self-control doesn’t come from teeth-gritting determination; it’s a product of the Holy Spirit—a fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22–23). When you submit to the Spirit who lives in you, He will strengthen your walls and empower you to stand strong against the enemy.