You Can’t Always Control What Happens To You, But You Can Control What Happens In You


pine 1Sunday, October 19th, shortly after 4pm, Kathy was in the kitchen preparing us an early supper.  Suddenly, it began to rain, a downpour with hail. In an instant, the wind picked up and the power went out.

Then, as we were standing in the kitchen with flashlights in hand, we heard an extremely loud bang that sounded like the loudest thunderclap I’ve ever heard, but it wasn’t thunder. At first we thought lightning hit the house.

We moved from the kitchen into the dining room and with wide eyes saw a good sized tree branch poking through the ceiling.  “Was that what we just heard?” we wondered. It was much more.

The wind literally uprooted our gigantic 40 year old pine tree and it fell into our home.

Thankfully, no one was hurt. Thankfully, all the damage was confined to one end of our home, with the garage getting the brunt of it.  Thankfully, and unbelievably to most, the garage door still worked and we were able to get our cars out, mostly undamaged!

Now What Are We Gonna Do?

I’ve written about it, preached on it, and shared it with many people.  Now it’s my turn to practice what I preach.  It’s been said in different ways by different people, but it carries the same truth: what’s important is not what happens to you, but rather how you react to what has happened.

So how am I going to react?  Of course there’s the initial, “Well it could have been worse,” which almost everyone says in almost every situation.

Yes, it could have been worse.  The tree could have fallen in a different direction and taken out the main part of the house.  My neighbor three doors down lost his roof and most of his possessions, and needs to move out for months while they rebuild his whole house.

But the event is over. Moving forward, where is my mindset? What kind of thoughts will I think?  Does it really matter?

I’m reminded of the story of when Thomas Edison’s plant burned down in 1914. In today’s economy it is estimated at around a 23 million dollar loss.  Some accounts say he had no insurance, while others say his insurance only covered part of it.

What’s remarkable is what he said about the event.  Edison was quoted in the New York Times as saying, “Although I am over 67 years old, I’ll start all over again tomorrow.” He stuck to his word and immediately began rebuilding the next morning without firing any of his employees.

I Do Have a Choice

Regardless of what thoughts I entertain, the work will get done.  There’s going to be hammering and sawing, interruptions and inconveniences, items to move out of the way and then back again. There’s no getting around it.

I can choose to think whatever thoughts I want to think.  I know there are things outside of my control, but that which is in my control is my thinking.  How am I mentally seeing all this?

Well I could moan and whine about how terrible all this is. Look at all the damage!  Oh what a mess!  This is just awful. I’m so stressed by all of this.

And now all these workers are coming over, and all the noise and inconvenience.  I’m too old for this.  Why me?  Oh the devil is just so mean.  This is just so terrible.

No! No! No! I choose to think differently.  Instead of being a victim, I have decided to be the project manager of our remodeling project.  This company called Farmers is giving us some money, and we are going to do some remodeling around here!

I’m in charge!  I am coordinating with the general contractor and the remodeling process is moving forward.  We’re starting with the garage because it really needs some attention!

Both ways of thinking are choices in my control.  I do believe the latter will give me much more peace of mind, much less stress, and keep my heart in the right place for God to work in me and help me through the process.

The choice of how we think, regardless of the situation or challenge we face will always play a big factor in overcoming obstacles.

You Can’t Always Control What Happens To You,
But You Can Control What Happens In You.

You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you. Brian Tracy

We can’t always control what happens in our lives – things will go well, things will go poorly – but what we can control is our response to those events. Kenneth H. Blanchard

It’s not the situation, but whether we react negative or respond positive to the situation that is important. Zig Ziglar


Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:5-7

So, what do you think?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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10 thoughts on “GUESS WHAT HAPPENED TO ME?

  1. God has a lot in store for You and Kathy! His protection around you is wonderfully manifested! I thank God for you, Mike and Kathy! I remember the times with you, and the children-Paula, and Michael. You instructed us in right believing and required action! Thank you for your faithfulness to the Father, in the name of Jesus Christ!

  2. Hi Mike,
    You and Kathy are an inspiration to all. I so appreciate your love for God and how you live your life! David and I are praying for you always.
    Much love,
    Betty Winn

  3. Well said! Very inspiring attitude. Your house is going to be better than before. I will be sharing that inspiration at my 10:00am business meeting this morning. Glad I open my Facebook early today. Have a blessed day!

    • Sylvester,
      Glad it inspired you, and I hope it brought some inspiration to your business meeting too!
      God bless you,

  4. OH MY !!! Isn’t it something !!! We can see why everyday is enough for us to handle !! Your change in thought attitude after being shocked and overwhelmed in such a short amount of time is excellent and allows God to go to work immediately !! You both are a wonderful example to follow !!! YOU have NOT allowed it to become overwhelming !! For that I am so thankful for both of you as is God as he does not want any of us to be overwhelmed. He is with us in everything and will take the brundt of what we need 🙂 And whats more, He is thankful to do it for His children ! Everyday I wake up, I thank God for the day and that I might be right in on the huddle to keep my thoughts in the right place rather than 10′ outside of the huddle .
    And then to sum it all up to think what is the Word in the smallest and most concise way telling it to us by God so we can do it. The Word is true, honest,just,pure,lovely, and of good report. Virtue and praise; THINK on these things. It is not the circumstances that make or break our honest thought life, it is our own thoughts according to the huddle we have in the Word with God, that WE DO as WE WILL 🙂 And it seems to me, you got up right off the bench and joined the huddle…for that I am so thankful and I can’t wait to see all this turned around into something you have thought about for years every now and then to do a little remodeling 🙂 I would put a sure pick on you two to be my Project Manager as you walk and talk with God on various ideas!! 🙂 Is it work? For sure! But anything worth anything takes some work… In fact in the morning when I wake up, it is like I have to pick all my brains up off the floor and put them back in my head…they must fall out at night sometimes 🙂 🙂 I am praying for both of you !!! And I can’t wait to receive my invitation of coming to a gigantic party of dogs and chicken and one or two burgers on the patio/lawn after the remodeling is complete !! 🙂 Love you both so much and your terrific stand through a lot more than this in your lives!!! A barbecue pit sounds nice with the sawing of the pine tree for some lovely logs of which you will have most likely have more than three cords of wood 🙂 God bless you !!! Carol xo PS. You could plant another small tree for others to sit under and enjoy after you and Kathy have watched him grow and sit under it yourselves….just don’t plant a ficus, oh those roots, Yike !! 🙂 Hugs and prayers !!!! 🙂