The Destroyer of Illusion

September 20, 2022

In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 1 Peter 5:10 NLT

When things are generally moving up and to the right in life, we operate under the illusion that we are stronger and more “large and in charge” than we have any reasonable right to assume. All it takes is a sudden heart-wrenching event, a loss we didn’t see coming, a betrayal that took our breath away, a grief so gigantic it changes our normal, to show us how little control we truly have. Grief is the great destroyer of the illusion of power and control. But grief gives us an opportunity to willingly let go of what we cannot control, take charge of what IS ours to control, and give God the opportunity to do what He does best—restore, support, and strengthen us, then place us on a firm foundation that will never be shaken.

I choose to let go of my attempts to control people and circumstances. We can’t make people love us, we can’t make people stay with us, even when staying is their heart’s deepest desire. We can’t manage the world around us and the unpredictable things that happen on our broken planet. I can’t assume that all people are like me and see, feel, need, or want the same things I do. It is a waste of time and relationships to add to my or anyone else’s suffering and grief because they don’t exactly “get me.” I can be sad and disappointed about situations and the behavior of people within them, but I can’t control them. I can control what I do with my sadness and disappointment. Instead of being upset about what others do and don’t do, realize that God is your greatest source of comfort, the One who truly gets you, and anything else that anyone is able to add to your life is an undeserved blessing.

I choose to realize I can’t control my unpredictable emotions from arising; I can control how I treat myself and others in them. When we are grieving, our emotions come and go like waves. They are all over the place and we can’t even predict what will trigger them. God created us with the capacity to feel deeply, and our emotions help us process the changes in our lives. I must focus my thoughts on God’s help as my emotions arise and release the full range of them to God. I ask for His help in keeping me from hurting myself or others in my pain. Grief is not a reason to say or do anything I want without regard for the effect on others or my healing.

I choose to let go of my fierce grip on my plans for life and realize that God will work even the worst for my good if I choose to trust Him (Romans 8:28). Sometimes it’s a shock to realize that the way I saw life working out was not a plan God was committed to making happen. But He IS committed to my ultimate good. I can trust that and hold on to Him. He will lead me.

  • Father God, help me know when to hold on and when to let go and to simply trust You. Amen.