Mastering Your Circumstances
When I think of mastering something or mastering your circumstances, I think of someone who is in charge and on top of everything. Then, as I consider some of the circumstances of my life, I know I definitely was not in charge and on top of everything. Instead, it felt just the opposite.
Life can roll some pretty awful circumstances through our lives and we may feel powerless in the face of them because we cannot stop or change them. In 2015, on a beautiful day in July, my husband of 49 years was killed in a motorcycle accident. I was not in the accident but was with him when he took his last breath. I had absolutely no control over this circumstance or the fact that my entire life was shattered that day.
We Can’t Always Change our Circumstances
Being the master of your circumstances does not mean preventing or changing them because, as in my situation, sometimes you can’t. I was powerless and that powerlessness was one of the things I had to master. There was only one place I could find the power to do that – from the Master Himself.
Being the master of your circumstances means that you first must be master of yourself. But, on that day, I was in complete shock. The pain was unimaginable, horrible and as close to hell as I ever want to come. I was not the master of anything, much less myself!
Self-control is Holy Spirit Control
Though I did not ‘feel’ in control, the Holy Spirit inside me was. On the way home from the accident, I found myself singing “It Is Well.” Some of the words are:
“Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on You.
Through it all, through it all, it is well.
Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on You
And it is well with me.”
Even as I was singing it in my heart, my mind was saying, “Nothing is well.” I could barely think. I was shaking uncontrollably, crying, sobbing, and just trying to breathe. Nothing made sense and I felt paralyzed inside.
Yet, inside, the voice of the Holy Spirit spoke. He talked to me about the future. I remembered what He said but, at the time, could not understand why He was even talking to me about those things right then. My world had just exploded. My life as I knew it had just ended. I had no control over what had happened and no control over much of what would come.
Mastering our Circumstances is a ChoiceAs time passed, I realized I had one area of control - my will to turn to my Savior for help in my time of deepest need. In this black hole, I knew to look toward His light. I could not control anything else - just that. It was all… Click To Tweet
For months, I lived moment-by-moment. I felt as if I had literally, physically been ripped in half. As if I was bleeding and my insides were hanging out and no one could see or help me. It was as if I had accidentally stepped through a hole in time with a transparent wall. I could see my previous life, but could never return to it. The helplessness was horrible. There was absolutely nothing I could do to change what had happened. And, with all of it came fear. Sometimes I felt as if it would all swallow me. Grief is an extremely powerful thing and it can swallow you. Grief and fear do their best work when they are together. Both are spirits which can exert tremendous influence and control.
Fear and Grief Want to Control Us
Fear is a liar. Its message is always hopelessness and devastation. Grief is a vacuum created by separation. The problem with grief is that we must experience it. We must go through it. There can be value and beauty that arises out of it. However, when fear shows up grief can become destructive as we begin to believe we must remain in its hold because fear has told us our circumstances are hopeless. All of this takes place as we are at our weakest and most vulnerable.
Each day, I controlled what I could. I would get up, get ready and go forward to make whatever decisions I had to make. I prayed, and cried, screamed and prayed again. While my whole world was wrecked, I made decisions I didn’t want to make. I knew I had to keep my eyes on Jesus and not on my circumstances. I was not pretending they didn’t exist, they were just not going to be the focus of my decisions and daily life.
This is where ‘mastery’ comes into play. I had to become the master of fear and grief
or they were going to master me.
Tearing Down Strongholds
For months, I felt as if there was a huge black hole next to me, It was particularly real when I was in the car alone. It was as if the hole was the place where my husband used to be. It was his absence. I thought this was how things would always be. I had never experienced this level of grief before and so I didn’t know what normal was. One day, I was driving and praying and my black hole was there with me as I cried and grieved. Suddenly, the Holy Spirit asked me a question, “Do you believe you have to live with that?”
The two of us then had a conversation and I suddenly realized that the black hole was torment. There is a difference between test and torment. God never torments. I knew at that moment I had to master this. I immediately began to pray. Then I called some close friends and they came to my house the next day, prayed with me, and we broke down those spiritual strongholds. While I was weak and vulnerable, fear had entered into my life through the door of grief and had begun building up those strongholds to trap me.
“For though we walk in the world, we do not fight according to this world’s rules of warfare. The weapons of the war we’re fighting are not of this world but are powered by God and effective at tearing down the strongholds erected against His truth. We are demolishing arguments and ideas, every high-and-mighty philosophy that pits itself against the knowledge of the one true God. We are taking prisoners of every thought, every emotion, and subduing them into obedience to the Anointed One.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 The Voice
Mastering Our Circumstances Means Taking Them Prisoner
This is how we master our circumstances. Through the Holy Spirit, we determine how they will affect us and to what extent. We are not taken prisoner by our circumstance because the circumstance is now our prisoner!
In the beginning, I did not want to hope. I didn’t want a life without my husband so I didn’t want to plan or dream of a life he was not part of. That is normal. However, it would not have been normal to remain in that. Grief is a place to visit – not a permanent place to live.
Emotions Can Be Felt and Mastered
Negative circumstances will come. Not all are as extreme as this and some are much worse. We will grieve, cry, feel hopeless, be afraid, be in pain, feel depressed and confused, and want to give up. It’s ok to have all of that come. It’s not ok to stay there. Mastering our circumstances is not just smiling and saying praise God as our lives are whisked away by a tornado. Mastering our circumstances is the process of ‘going through’ and gradually taking over – one thought and one emotion at a time.
You can feel the feelings and still be their master. The thoughts may come but you are their master. You are not some unfeeling robot. Jesus felt emotions and fought with His thoughts in the garden. He didn’t want to die on the cross. The fact that He said so was not a sin! He mastered His emotions and thoughts through obedience.
Mastering Your Circumstances Happens Through Choices
It is our choice regarding what the circumstances can and cannot do to us. I decided I would not be destroyed by this. I knew I still had purpose. It took time to heal and be ready to embrace it, but as I was healing, I fought. It is the same as physical healing. You fight through the pain to regain your strength. You make choices to move even when it hurts. This is mastery.
One of the verses to It is Well says, “So let go my soul and trust in Him, the waves and wind still know His name.” In my deepest despair, the blessed Holy Spirit reminded me that God was with me.
Mastering our circumstances is possible because Christ lives in us and we live in Him.
“for in Him we live and move and [a]exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.” Acts 17:28 NASB
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me,” Philippians 4:8 NASB
“The one thing I want from God, the thing I seek most of all, is the privilege of meditating in his Temple, living in his presence every day of my life, delighting in his incomparable perfections and glory. There I’ll be when troubles come. He will hide me. He will set me on a high rock out of reach of all my enemies. Then I will bring him sacrifices and sing his praises with much joy.” Psalm 27:4-6 TLB
I am and always have been a woman in ministry. For the majority of my life, I served beside my husband. After his death, I chose to continue and not allow the enemy to steal that from me. If you are a woman in ministry, circumstances are going to come and fear will tell you to stop. I’m encouraging you not to let that happen. Your ministry may change but it does not have to end because of negative circumstances. You have the power to master your circumstances!
- We can’t always change our circumstances
- Self-control is Holy Spirit control.
- We choose to master our circumstances.
- We do not let fear control us.
- We tear down strongholds and take our circumstances prisoner.
We never stop because Christ in us never stops!
You might also enjoy reading – The Benefits of Rejoicing in the Lord