Control, Fear, Perspective

Control: 4 Truths to Hold Onto in Uncertain Times

@JeanneTakenaka

Who knew a headline would set my heart to racing? “California Orders Lockdown for State’s 40 Million Residents.”

How long before other states follow California’s example?

I’m not a woman normally given to fear. And yet, with all the talk of the high toll on human life this virus has the potential to steal, my heart is on edge. With all the uncertainty of this time, my mind has trouble shutting off. I’m trying not to fear, and to trust the Lord. And the smallest happenings seem to amplify my feelings, unsettling my thoughts.

I mean, since when does it stress me out if our trash can isn’t out as the garbage truck rolls down the opposite side of the street?

Literally, I heard the truck and my mind went to, “What if we miss them picking up the trash? Where will we take it? We can’t wait another week for a pick up.”

I kind of wonder if God was shaking His head at me with a half-smile on His face, thinking, “Jeanne, Jeanne. Do you think this is that big of a problem?”

Of course, I don’t. But I’m realizing I feel out of control of everything right now. I can’t control the virus (duh). I can’t control how our city, state, and national leaders respond to what’s happening. 

We’re behind the curve on this one. I think everyone would love to be the force shaping the outcome of this time rather than being shaped/controlled by where the virus is spreading. 

The average person has no control over whether or not we go to work, keep doctor’s appointments, drive our kids to activities. 

That’s all been controlled for us. I’m not complaining. We want to see this virus eradicated. But one small mama can’t do much toward that end.

Right now, my family’s life is shaped by what’s going on. Instead of being ahead of the curve, the curve has dented the image I had of how our life would look right now. 

Here are four truths I’m learning in this uncertain season:

1. Prayer is powerful. People are joining together on social media, over text, over the phone to pray. God hears the prayers of His children. We may not see immediate results, but He hears, and He acts. Praying together calms our spirits. 

2. Though almost everything is out of our control, God’s still got each of His children. Our Father still holds us in the palm of His hand. Even though we can’t determine state/country lockdowns, we can control how we respond and interact with the world around us.

Even if that world has grown very small. 

3. Sometimes, it’s a moment-by-moment choosing to lean into the Lord and not into our feelings. When a small thing sets our heart a’ racing

…whether it’s a news story (personally, I’d recommend we turn off the news for now),

 . . . an account by a friend, 

. . . A story we read on social media

or . . . the trash truck rolling by and our trash can not being out and ready to be picked up 

We need to choose to lean into the Creator of the universe . . .

The One who’s not surprised by any of this . . .

Our Father who loves us more than words can say.

We must remember that, though this pandemic is bigger than we are and wields a lot of control over our lives,

Our Father is bigger still.

We are loved by One who watches over millions and yet still sees us.

4. Focusing on God’s character brings us peace when we remember Who He is

Our Father isn’t limited by human means. He isn’t restricted by the things this pandemic is doing. He isn’t canceling His character in fear of what this pandemic can do.

He is still God. 

He is still living and active. 

He is still omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.

When we lean into the reality of who God is—when we choose to trust Him more than what we’re seeing/hearing/reading—He gives us a broader perspective. 

And He gives us His peace. 

And don’t we all need some peace for our spirits right now? 

Let’s choose to lean into the Father who reigns above all of this. 

What about you? How are you handling the restrictions in your life right now? What’s helping you find peace in the midst of the uncertainty?

*****Life can be hard. Do you ever need a little encouragement on this journey? I’d love to walk with you.I’m excited to share a 28-day devotional ebook with my newsletter subscribers. Join the journey by clicking the image to receive this gift and uplifting thoughts monthly.

Click to Tweet: Sometimes, it’s a moment-by-moment choosing to lean into the Lord and not into our feelings

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42 thoughts on “Control: 4 Truths to Hold Onto in Uncertain Times”

  1. I don’t mean to be an ass,
    or, still less, a troll,
    but all this crap is gonna pass,
    and I am in control.
    You know that I do not mean
    that I will the virus rule,
    but hey, baby, dig the scene:
    in my heart it’s cool
    that bad things happen for a reason
    of which we’re not aware.
    It’s God alone who sets the season,
    and up to us to breathe the air
    provided for our living breath,
    so that, like Christ, we conquer death.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Andrew, I love your poem and your message. I’m thankful the virus doesn’t have the final say in what happens in our hearts. You’re right, God knows the plans He has for us, and it’s our role to walk in obedience to Him, trusting and hoping in His goodness. Sending you a gentle hug and prayers, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I see that “half smile” on the face of God from time to time myself.
    And I think a lot of us are in panic mode when our confessional theology would indicate we should be trusting a sovereign God.
    Thanks for linking to my thougths on loss. We’re learning our way into letting go together, and it’s not pretty, but it’s what we all need.

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    1. Michele, I’m glad I’m not alone in seeing that half-smile. 😉 I’m finding trusting God is sometimes a moment-by-moment choice. I have to choose to turn my thoughts toward Jesus and away from the uncertainty of our days. Learning and growing with the Lord is rarely pretty and polished, at least not for me. I think authenticity is borne in the messiness that comes in our spirits as God refines us, if that makes sense. I always appreciate your words here and on your site, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Jeanne, thank you for your honest reflection. Yes, He is on the throne and knew about all of this before he made you and me (and even before he made the world)… “for such a time as this” comes to mind.
    Over the weekend I printed over 200 photos with verses I had put up on my blog. I made cards from card stock and bought a bunch of envelopes. Been handing out packages to people (most of them yesterday, since we just today went on a “lockdown”). I am sending packages of cards to people. I figure we all could use some stationary … There is something about a handwritten card in the mail 🙂
    Keep going, sister!

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    1. Heidi, I’m thankful we can rely on the truth that God is on His throne. And you’re right, He knew about this before the creation of the world. I love the idea of printing up photo greeting cards to share with people. What a sweet way to encourage others! This is such a great way to lift others up in this time of isolation. Hugs, friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jeanne,
    This virus crisis brings me back to the very basics…God is in control. He is good. He is love. He’s got me and those I love. Anything else beyond that, I wouldn’t place bets on. I guess I look back on all the seemingly impossible things God has brought me through and I am oddly at peace. Great post and truths to hold onto.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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    1. Yes, Bev. Remembering these basics is essential to getting through any trial. God is in control. He is good. He is love. He’s got us and those we love. TRUTH. Thanks for sharing what’s helping you in this season, my friend!

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  5. I like how you are keeping it real, Jeanne! Life has turned upside down. It is being called the “new normal” and although following the rules, my energy level seems quite low! I think that happens when we take on the burdens and uncertainty, instead of giving all up to Christ. Yes, leaning on Him especially during this time can teach me to decrease and Him to increase!

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    1. Good or ugly, “real” seems to be the only way I know how to roll. 😉 Life has indeed been turned upside down. I’m so sorry your energy level has been low. I would agree…when we take on burdens and uncertainty instead of giving it to our Father, we will become weary. Thanks for that reminder! Thank you for sharing your insights here! Sending you a hug, friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I think there is a big difference between trusting in God and trusting in the powers that be. In this case, the powers that be are controlling much more of our lives than we are used to. We must trust that they will do the right thing.

    Our living, active God is with us through this strife. He is one constant, reliable presence who will be forever unchanging.

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    1. Laurie, I LOVE the differentiation you bring out here! You’re so right. We trust in God, but we also have to trust that those who are making some of the decisions that drastically impact life as we know it are doing so after study, talking to experts, and considering what’s best based on that (and hopefully God guiding them directly or indirectly). I’m so thankful our Father is always with us! Thanks for sharing your insights here, friend!

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  7. Jeanne, your comments resonate with me. I vacillate between moments of calm with moments of fear and worry. I am trying to lean into God’s love, provision and protection during this time. As you might be aware of I have been studying the Book of Job and writing a book on it, focusing on what it can teach us about suffering. I have turned my thoughts many times to God’s speeches in the last chapters of the book and the vision or image I get of God is beautiful and reassuring. He speaks to Job about how he is the Creator and how he intimately manages all he creates. He is a mighty, all-knowing, all-seeing, ever present God. Leaning into him is what gives me peace, strength and hope during this challenging time.

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    1. Anne, I’m finding more moments of calm, but there are bits of time when my breaths come shallow. I’m choosing to lean into God more quickly now, and what really helps is remembering His character. the book of Job is really good for this time. Like you, I love those last few chapters. Where are you sharing your writings? I’d love to read them. God reminds us of His greatness in those chapters, and His words can be a great reassurance in this season. Thanks so much for visiting!

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  8. Jeanne, yes, yes, yes. I take comfort in remembering God’s faithfulness and knowing that none of this is a surprise to Him. He loves us so much.

    I find the less the TV is on and the less I’m on my phone checking out what’s happening, the more peaceful I am. So much is out of our control, but I’m trying to control what is mine to do.

    One day at a time, friend …

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    1. Yes, Linda, so much is out of our control. I think that has been the more challenging element of this whole thing for me. I am only checking the news about once a day. And yes, limited TV and phone checking does help with our peace of mind and heart, doesn’t it? We can always control how we respond, and Who we turn to in times like these. Yes indeed, one day at a time…Hugs.

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  9. Great reminders and I know everyone is trying to find a way not to panic over so many things we cannot control. I have been battling some of it but God has begin to calm my heart. Wait, let me rephrase that, I am allowing God to calm my heart by believing all those things you wrote on. Oh, I did have alittle meltdown a few days ago, not over catching the virus but some plans we had to cancel and some future plans are so uncertain because of the change. Had to apologize to my husband for my meltdown. the reality is, I could have another meltdown, for sure I am as human as anyone and this is a stressful time. then my thankful heart kicked in and reminded me God is not shook up about my meltdown and still pours out his grace and love daily on me. I claimed His new mercies this morning and here I am writing all this on your blog. Thanks for a good post.

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    1. Betty, I suspect many of us have had at least one meltdown since all this started. Sometimes, it’s. all. too. much. We’ve all been forced to deal with disappointments, and it’s healthy to give ourselves time to grieve the loss of some of the things we’ve looked forward to. Thank goodness our meltdowns don’t shake up God! He’s big enough to handle any and every emotion. I’m grateful for His grace and love too. I’m so glad you shared your thoughts. They made me smile.

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  10. I’m definitely feeling the restrictions, right here in California! I’m also nervous. But you bring up some good points. It’s been helpful to me to remind myself that God is in control even if the world isn’t.

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    1. Christina, I imagine you’ve had your share of stress in California with the onset of COVID-19 and the impact it’s had on your state, and most likely, your city. You’re right, reminding ourselves of Who’s really in control can remove some of the burdens from our shoulders. Thanks so much for that reminder!

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  11. Yes, yes, yes, Jeanne! We’re under a stay-at-home order in the Kansas City area, so this is extremely timely. Especially this: “Sometimes, it’s a moment-by-moment choosing to lean into the Lord and not into our feelings.” Although for me, “sometimes” needs to be replaced with “most of the time.” 🙂 I’m praying for you and yours, my friend.

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    1. Lois, you made me smile. For me, the “sometimes” or the “most of the time” depends on the day. Today is a “most of the time” day. 😉 May God bless your family’s time together as you stay at home. Sending prayers up for you too!

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  12. We’ve been in lockdown here since Monday night, and while it’s been ok so far it’s the uncertainty about how long it will last which bothers me… which comes back to a desire to be in control. These are great truths to hold onto. It is so comforting to know that God is still in control and that he is greater than this. Hope you and your family are safe.

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    1. Lesley, I see we both have “control issues.” The not knowing can make us feel so helpless, can’t it? I’m so glad we can trust our Father, who knows all things, including how long this will last. And I’m relieved that He’s bigger than any trial we face. I’m saying a prayer for you, friend. And yes, my family is all home and safe. I’m sending a social-distancing hug. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you, Jeanne. I wrote about control last week on my blog. I’m so thankful to know who God is and that He is still in control, on His throne, and with us. Truth is: We have no control over so many things in life. I especially like how you remind us to lean into the Lord instead of our feelings.

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    1. Ahhh, Karen. I suspect control—or the lack of it—is on the minds of many, especially as more states transition to Stay-at-Home orders. I’m grateful God is the One who’s in control. Even when we can’t see the way forward because of uncertainty, He’s already paved the path and cleared the way. We just need to walk it, hand-in-hand with Him, one step at a time. Thanks for your words, friend.

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  14. Thank you for these reminders, Jeanne. I’m so grateful that God’s character always remains faithful and He is “bigger still” than this virus! Love and blessings of safety, strength, and peace in this crisis to all your family!

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    1. Trudy, I’m with you, so grateful our Father’s character is always faithful and unchanging and consistent. That’s what gives me the confidence to place my trust in Him. Thank you for those love and blessings. I’m sending them right back atcha, friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I spent years on the job, graphing data to tell a story. I understand the bell curve, flattening the curve and getting ahead of the curve. Funny thing, to plot a curve, you need a formula to calculate the rate over time. Both numerator and denominator must be accurate and reliable. We can count how many die, but we don’t know how many have been infected, because many aren’t sick enough to be tested. Only God knows the true shape of our curve.

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    1. I loved how you put this into a graph that tells a story. And though we can’t always read the curve, much less get ahead of it, we know the One who knows all and will guide us through this time. And yes, we rarely hear about all the people who have recovered from COVID, and I suspect there are many. Thanks for your reminders here, friend.

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  16. So grateful that, yes, God is still in control. I am trying hard to monitor (even eliminate) those things that set my heart to racing. One of the things that I can control:) Doing all I can to keep my eyes – and my heart – fixed on His truth and His promises. I certainly have been encouraged by the wise words I have found in the blogs I enjoy. Your posts – here and on IG – always are a blessing. I pray that you and your family have had a blessed, and healthy, week!

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    1. Jennifer, I’m doing what you are, limiting or eliminating those things that raise anxiety in me. We must choose to keep our eyes on and fix our hearts on Jesus, right? I’m so thankful God keeps sharing messages through blogs I enjoy too. Thanks for your encouragement, friend!

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    1. Of course, Kathy! I know there are so many non-COVID circumstances that ramp up anxiety too. I guess we always come back to Who we’re trusting to get us through those times. So thankful for you, friend.

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  17. Thank you for your honesty. I know that naming my fears or the things that make me anxious helps to bring perspective to the situation.

    I have noticed that my prayer time is more intentional and so much deeper and sweeter now. That’s God’s gift to me.

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    1. Mary, you are right. There is something about naming our fears–putting those hidden thoughts into words that can help alleviate their power in our hearts and minds. Thanks for reminding me about that. I’ve had more intentional prayer time too. I hope you have a good weekend, friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I had family in NYC and in NJ as everything was shutting down east coast to southern gulf. We had family crises up in the air in more than one place. My momma-bear gene was triggered and ready to take on the world. Like you, I turned off the news at that point, focusing on my own family’s safety in all the spots all over the country occupied by our tribe. And, it continues. If God wasn’t God, we would have much to fear. But since he is, we are blessed to be his people in this pandemic. He will see us through, no matter what the future holds.

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    1. Melinda, there have been so many other crises in peoples’ lives that have had to be navigated. I’m sorry you’re family is dealing with so much right now. I agree with you, there is great comfort in knowing God’s got us in the palm of His hands. He isn’t surprised by anything that’s happening right now. We are blessed to be His “kids.” I’m saying a prayer for your family today.

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