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That control problem"
January 17, 2024

January 2024
Issue 214

Being a control freak is self-sabotaging

Want more stress in your life? Try being a control freak.

We singles sometimes act like little dictators, demanding that everything goes our way. The trouble, of course, is that the world refuses to cooperate.

Things break. We get sick. Work becomes one mess after another. Inflation bites into our paycheck. Someone we love dies.

What's the answer? How can we achieve any kind of security and calm when things are so chaotic?

This problem seems more relevant than ever in 2024. Jesus promised to give us peace, but he never said the solution is for us to be in control.

Let's look at the one thing we can control, and how to do it.

Don't let

I have known loneliness
and I have known pain.
I never want
to go through that again.

But I know that I will.

This lesson I learned.
Please listen to me
because you are concerned.

We always have trouble
and bad weather, it's true.
Don't follow your instinct
whatever you do.

Don't let suffering
torment your mind.
Hold on to Jesus
and here's what you'll find.
He'll be your defense
when trials come to destroy.
Don't let your circumstances
steal your joy.

Don't let the outer
affect you within,
Jesus Christ died
to save you from sin.

No matter what happens
or how your heart grieves.
Jesus comes in
and he never leaves.

Savior and Helper,
true peace inside.
Your fortress of safety
in which to abide.

So don't let your suffering
torment your mind.
Hold on to Jesus
and here's what you'll find.
He'll be your protector
when trials come to destroy.
Don't let your circumstances
steal your joy.

~ Jack Zavada,, 2024 ~

"You can't be happy by making yourself miserable."

Well, that's pretty obvious, isn't it?

No. It's not.

I would argue that we all do it: make ourselves miserable. We beat ourselves up emotionally. We look in the mirror and hate our appearance. We replay our mistakes over and over. We chronically underestimate ourselves and argue with the God who finds us lovable.

Why do we do it? That's what I spent nearly 50 years asking, and I came up with some surprising reasons. Hope for Hurting Singles is the result of that search. The real news is that this book gives proven steps to escape from that rut and build a positive, satisfying life. What makes the difference? Jesus Christ. Having a clear, solid understanding of how he feels about you and what he wants to do through you changes your life. It changed mine and can change yours too.

It starts with salvation and a stone-guaranteed beautiful afterlife. Then it unfolds into a Spirit-filled Christian walk, like the original apostles had. I can brag about this because it's not about me. It's all about Jesus and what he wants to do for you.

Hope for Hurting Singles is an eye-opener. You'll discover new things about loneliness, anger, depression, fear and bitterness. You'll learn what didn't work for me (an enormous time-saver), and what did. You'll unlock the secret that when you get on God's side, life takes on a whole new meaning.

If you're serious about a new start in 2024, Hope for Hurting Singles can help you break fre/e—by pointing you to Jesus, the true emancipator.

Hope for Hurting Singles is only $10.99 in paperback and $3.99 for the Kindle edition. Get on the sane train!

QOTM: New way to pray in 2024?

January's Quote of the Month comes from Norwegian theologian Ole Hallesby, from his book, Prayer:

"We try everything before we finally resort to prayer…Prayer and helplessness are inseparable. Only those who are helpless can truly pray."

~ Ole Hallsby (1879 - 1961) ~

My own biggest fault in praying is that I have rarely wanted to accept what God decides. I want what I want, when I want it and how I want it. I give my order to God, as I would a waiter.

It never works.

Single friend, this is an embarrassing sin for me to admit, but I suspect there may be some others out there guilty of the same thing. And, it has taken me a long time to realize I am completely helpless when it comes to prayer. God is in control of it; I'm not.

What's more, I have no power to change the things I pray about. But God does. I'll try to remember that in 2024 when I get down on my knees, or when I'm walking the dog and praying.

God is God. I am not. I am helpless. God is almighty. God's response to my prayers is always driven by love. Thank you for loving me, God.

Put the brakes on runaway thoughts

You know the situation—runaway thoughts racing through your mind one after another, making you more anxious by the minute.

The creativity of the human mind can turn on us, inventing a scary sequence of What ifs? that seem to have a life of their own. Being single and home alone gives us plenty of opportunities to play this nerve-racking game.

Like many of the games of singlehood, this one is self-destructive and doesn't fit who we are as Christians. Stopping it is not so easy, though. We need to enlist the power of the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes runaway thoughts need the attention of a medical professional. Other times, we can put the brakes on them with the help of God. Here are some tips on doing just that.

The common thread running through this month's newsletter

All the articles in this newsletter are about your mind. Instead of a long list of New Year's resolutions, how about just one? Let God renew your mind:

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:2, NIV)

The patterns of this world are pretty powerful: social media, advertising, peer pressure, cultural expectations, and political propaganda. The Apostle Paul (above) tells us not to be influenced by such things. God wants to transform us to think like him so we can discern his will for our life.

What is his will for your life? It's different for every person because God created us as individuals with unique personalities. Generally, however, God's will for you is your salvation, then conforming you to the character of his Son, Jesus. His specific will for you includes your talents and interests.

A good goal for the coming year is to follow Jesus instead of the world. His commands are found in the gospels, and with the Holy Spirit's help, you can obey them.

How to claw back your time

Where do the hours go? If you're like millions of Americans, you spend an average of four and a half hours on your phone every day, according to a survey by If you spend only three hours, don't congratulate yourself too quickly.

It's scary. Do we really need to race to the latest viral cat video? Can we live without knowing what our BFF had for lunch? Will we have some kind of conniption if we don't join the discussion about some loopy TV show? Yeah, I'm old. No, I don't understand the fascination with phones. And yeah, I definitely can't see why people fail to recognize this as a problem.

If you need a wake-up call from somebody besides me, read this article from The Guardian: "You have one life. Do you really want to spend it looking at your phone?"

There's your January Inspire-O-Gram, fellow singleton, complete with lecture. If you agree or disagree, you can send me an email using our secure contact form. If you're too busy to email me, is it because you're watching that cat video?

We're in for a doozy in 2024, but with Jesus in our heads, we can think right, see right, and live right.

Until February then,

Jack Zavada

PS: Not a Christian? Find out how to become one!

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