We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall. (Proverbs 16:33).
Growing up, when my mother would ask me to do something around the house and I would pretend not to hear her (you know what I'm talkin' about!), she would playfully mutter to herself with a sigh; “self-help is the best help.” It’s a phrase that I took to heart and lived by. “If you wanna get something right, you gotta do it yourself!”
Except this "self" is human and is therefore extremely flawed.
A few of my many flaws:
- Some friends call me a control-freak; I prefer the term “assertive.”
- I am a perfectionist.
- I love to pretend that I’m fully independent and that I don’t need anyone’s help.
- I try way too hard to make people happy (aka people-pleaser).
If your family is anything like mine, disagreements are a common occurrence (we make fights on Jersey Shore look tame in comparison!). The smallest arguments can often escalate into full-blown battles. Being “assertive,” I often find myself playing the role of middleman—always struggling to keep the peace. I relentlessly try to push the “right” buttons, and when I fail, which I do quite often, the results leave me with a heart full of disappointment and anger at myself.
The Lord alone led him; no foreign god was with him. (Deuteronomy 32:12).
In my case, my controlling-nature, my need for perfection, and my meddling to “fix” things, were my foreign gods. Instead of trusting the Almighty and loving Creator, who gave His life on the cross for me, I was relying on my sinful self to do the things only God can do! I was rolling the dice with the belief that I was somehow in control, all the while forgetting that it is God who is in control and it is He alone who ultimately determines how the dice fall. By overlooking this, these foreign gods [needs] became the biggest obstacle in my relationship with God. Learning to let go of my pride and let God lead me has been challenging, but with God’s patience and guidance, it also been the most uplifting and freeing.
‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity…’ (Jeremiah 29:11-14).
The struggles we face in our daily lives, whether it be relationships, school, or work, have the potential to mould us into the people God intended us to be, but that can only happen when we set aside our “foreign gods” and let him lead. By letting go and letting God, we allow Him to be in control and lead us closer to Him.