November 5, 2021

Guest Column / Richard Etienne

Schedule time, listen for God’s direction each day in life

Richard EtienneDo you struggle with control issues in your life? Everyone falls on a continuum somewhere between accepting that they have little or no control over the direction of their life (the victim card) or attempting to control every tiny piece of their existence (a control freak).

Few people would accomplish any major achievements in life if there was no planning about the future and setting goals to strive toward daily, weekly and yearly.

At what point does one trust that God is ultimately in control of so much in life and eventually surrender to God’s plan?

I have worked with individuals who attempt to micro-manage every subordinate that he or she supervises. It can be quite maddening. At some point, it is necessary for an individual to delegate and trust that others can perform the task for which they have been hired or assigned.

A person must not always approach a task assuming that no other person can perform it as well or, minimally, in any acceptable manner as doing it themself.

Similarly, I have also observed persons who refuse to take any responsibility for the direction that lies ahead in their life. They seem to live life like a bumper car at an amusement park—subject to every impact with seemingly little or no ability to maneuver around any oncoming issue or to strive in preparing for a better future.

These people seem to see life as one tempest after another that tosses them around completely beyond any power within their grasp. In the Gospel of Luke, we read, “If even the smallest things are beyond your control, why are you anxious about the rest?” (Lk 12:26) It later continues, “… Your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these other things will be given you besides” (Lk 12:30-31).

What lesson can be extracted from this Scripture? Is it not that we should refrain from anxiety over the future? Shouldn’t each of us plan for the future? And as we plan, isn’t it important to trust that God is in control and that he will create the desired outcome—his will—if we will only cooperate?

This approach requires regular time for prayer and staying open to God’s direction.

Do you have time in your schedule to be still and listen for God’s direction in your life?

(Richard Etienne has a degree in theology from Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad and resides in Newburgh, Ind.)

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