This past week I was reading in Mark 14, where a woman anointed Jesus. She broke her alabaster bottle of very expensive perfume and poured it on Jesus’ head. Those present in the room were incredulous! “Such a waste of money! What is she thinking? Scandalous!” Jesus, however, tells everyone to stop bothering her and that she is preparing His body for the upcoming burial. Then Jesus says these profound words, “She did what she could” (Mark 14:8). I have those words circled in my Bible because they are such a great reminder of how God calls me, in the words of Peter Scazzero, to “Embrace my limits.”

There will often be circumstances in our lives that are out of our control; Natural disasters, sickness, an adult child who wanders from their faith, or a husband who chooses to walk out the door. In those moments, we must understand our limits. However, we do have choices. We can do what we can.

3 Choices for When Life Is Out of Control

Praise God that He is in control. I have learned in my own life that the times when I feel least like worshipping and praising God are the moments when I need to pour out my praise most. Why? As we praise and worship Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit strengthens our faith to trust God more. Make no mistake. Whenever you intentionally choose to praise God despite difficult circumstances, your faith will increase.

Pause and pour out your heart in prayer. When circumstances feel out of control, the natural instinct is to take control. In those moments we might say too much to the adult child who has walked away from their faith. Or we might try to manipulate the husband who we want to change. Instead, pause and pray. There are times when your only influence and involvement in a situation is prayer. Intercede with Scripture. In other words, pray Scripture back to God on behalf of those who are struggling. God’s Word does not return void of accomplishing the purposes of God (Isaiah 55:11). Using Scriptures in your prayers is one way to be sure you are praying in God’s will.

Put the work into changing what you can. For example, if you have a broken relationship, don’t just assume it’s out of your control. Take responsibility for what you can. Change the way you communicate and listen more intentionally.  Show the other person that the relationship is important to you. Ask the Holy Spirit to change you and then cooperate with Him. If your debt is out of control, get some financial counseling and cut up your credit cards. Take responsibility for what you can and leave the rest in God’s hands.

Friends, as I close out this week’s devotional blog post, here’s a prayer to pray the next time life feels out of control:

Lord Jesus, I worship You as the blessed controller of all things. Honestly, Lord, life feels terribly out of control right now. I need Your wisdom. Holy Spirit, renew my trust in God alone, strengthen my prayer life through this season and show me what I can take responsibility for. Remind me every time I feel tempted to take matters into my own hands that You alone are sovereign. You will lead me as I press into You. Help me to remember to do what I can do and no more. I trust You, Lord, because You are good, faithful, and sovereignly in control.