I have been living my life giving God ultimatums.

“If this happens, I’m out.”

“If this doesn’t happen, it means I was right.”

“If this happens, I’ll finally do it.”

“If this doesn’t happen, I’ll take a step.”

I didn’t realize I was doing this until recently. A girl was sharing in small group that she has been putting timelines on things in her life and asking God to fit inside those expectations. It clicked with me that I have been giving God ultimatums for years. But what I kept doing was extending the ultimatum when it didn’t work out. So I wasn’t even holding up my end of the deal.

It’s almost like saying, “Okay God, if I lose my job, I will start that side project.” And then the day comes when you lose your job. “Okay God, if I don’t get another job soon, I’ll start the project.” You still don’t have a job, nothing seems promising, but you don’t feel like starting the project is right just yet. “Okay God, if there are literally no other options, and you provide the perfect conditions, I’ll do it.” It sounds crazy now that I’m typing it out. But I do this — we do this.

Treating God like this helps us feel like we have some control over our circumstances.

At the very least, it causes us to feel like we saw it coming. That way we don’t get caught off guard or caught looking stupid. Everyone hates looking stupid. But that’s a control issue too, isn’t it? When you feel stupid, you are no longer in control of how you appear to others.

Grasping for control is exhausting.

The reason it’s so exhausting is because you are never truly in control. There will always be something you can’t control. We expend so much energy making timelines, plans, and ultimatums for things we can’t actually make good on.

I’m not saying planning isn’t wise or goals and dreams are pointless. But what happens when you plan fails? What happens when the box you’ve put God in breaks wide open?

When you pray for a 4 month old baby in a coma to wake up and he doesn’t?

When you seek counseling for your marriage and it fails?

When you pack money into a savings account and a recession hits?

When your granddad goes into the hospital with a skin infection and dies a week later?

When you plan for 2020 to be “your year” and a pandemic wipes all of those plans away?

The moments when you realize you aren’t in control are the moments God uses to draw you close. It sounds simple, but what is the one thing you can count on to never change?

Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

But if I believe, and I do, that He loves me with a love that no one else could, not even myself, then I believe He has my best interest in mind. That’s a love that I can’t even begin to unpack. So while I plan and plot, I’ll try to hold in the back of my mind the truth that the One who is actually in control will take care of me. Maybe I’ll stop trying to make deals and start opening my hands to whatever He has for me.



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Kaley Hollingsworth

I’m about Jesus, life change, doggos, enneagram tings, and finger-gunning my way out of awkward situations.