One of the cartoons my boys like to watch has a bumbling scientist who tries to be evil but fails miserably in his schemes. One of his many downfalls is the self-destruct button he installs on his contraptions.
I look around me (and in the mirror) and I see that humans also have self-destruct buttons. We say teenagers think they're invincible but I'm not sure it is a trait that is only held by the young. Once people (myself included) start to feel a little bit of success, we start to expect more success. How could anything go wrong? I am a confirmed "cup half empty" woman and even I start to feel invincible. All that positive thinking sometimes clouds my judgement. I start to believe it's all about me and my "doing" and I lose sight of all that goes into success. When I do that, it's like I hit a self-destruct button and things begin to go downhill.
Now, you may think that I am about to tell you that all the gifts we have are from God and we have to give Him credit. I do believe that, but that isn't really my point, even if that is the most important point.
No, instead, I'm going to suggest that too many things need to fall into place to give me (or you or anyone else, for that matter) success. Our successes (and failures) do not happen in a vacuum and if I am being honest, a lot of other people need to do things in order for my piece of goodness to work out. This does not mean I am without power or influence or that I cannot control my own destiny. It just changes the way I view controlling said destiny. I cannot control everything that happens. I can, however, control my responses.
Recently, I started thinking about how I could make something work out. I figured out all of my possibilities BUT I cannot control any other person's possibilities, behaviors or responses. Ignoring all of the other unknowns would be a lot like hitting a self-destruct button. They are called "unknown" for a reason. If I walk through life thinking because I've got a plan that 1. the plan will come off without a hitch and 2. everyone else is going to behave exactly as I expect....I might as well save myself the trouble and just hit the self-destruct button now because self-destruction is inevitable.
"Gee, thanks for that uplifting thought, Stacey!" Wait..there is good news here. First it helps to recognize that we are not the center of the universe (that would be the big glowing orb in the sky we call the sun) and therefore we need to realize that there are lots of things we cannot control or even anticipate. Second...and this is the really good part, even if it all goes south, (as in we mess up big time and hit that self-destruct button with both hands) God can use it all for good.
He can and He does.
That doesn't mean we should go around self-destructing willy nilly, because "using it for good" is not synonymous with "painless". We can learn and grow from self-destructing, but it might hurt us and those we love and if we can't predict what would happen when we think we have it all figured out, then we can't expect to predict what will happen when we self-destruct.
No, my point is that when we mess up, which is a when not an if, we can face forward, look toward the future and experience how life will unfold in new and unexpected ways. With vision and expectation, we can see the gifts that rise out of the ashes of our self-destruction. Again, what caused those ashes is probably going to hurt, so I'm not advocating running headfirst into those flames screaming like that scene from Braveheart as you press the destruct button...I'm saying we seem to be wired to occasionally self-destruct and we can come out on the other side. Thank You, Jesus!