Sometimes it feels as if time moves in milestones; sometimes in heavy stones. And yet, time moves the same for all — according to God’s plan.

Although we have the free will to follow God, and this is our most significant decision, we do not have the ability to command with certainty if our goals will succeed, if our healthy habits will carry us to a certain age of dignified function, or if our relationships of today will be our relationships of tomorrow. So much touches us, moves through us and beyond us, which is simply out of our control.

So, whose control is our life in? Or is this world in a stirring pot of insistent free will with no executive chef?

Thankfully, we know God is the executive chef over all, even when we may feel like he has misplaced the recipe for our future. Feelings don’t make an obedient life — practicing living out the words of the Bible, being humble, persevering through suffering, not getting ahead of God, serving from a position of love, being grateful and praising God are some indicators of an obedient life. Does your life exhibit obedience?

When we trust in God and obey his word, we begin to see God work in the details of our lives. Psalm 18:32 says, “It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.”

Even still, there are days when my health wanes despite my best efforts and my motivation to do more in this thick world makes me feel more drained than I expect my body and mind desires to admit. I am left with my free will wondering what it all matters? What am I doing or should I be doing differently to really make a difference? I try to succeed, but there are days I feel simply defeated. Goals I thought would have been accomplished for God’s glory by now have not come to fruition. Changes made to improve certain areas didn’t make the vast improvements I envisioned.

Ever feel this way?

And then I think, who am I to decide what difference I am to make? Who am I to decide the impact of my life? Yes, having goals is important and trying to please God is important. However, in trying to succeed, I recognize this delicate sense of balance: I can get caught in the effort of pleasing God versus serving God. In a focus of pleasing, I can become easily distracted on self and self-defeat. In a focus of serving, I lose myself — mind, body and soul — the outcome becomes his.

I am his.

My goal ultimately shifts when I focus on simply living a life of service. This becomes my goal: according to God’s plan.

If he wants to use my sufferings today for his glory, praise him!

If he wants to use my successes today for his glory, praise him!

If he wants to use my failures today for his glory, praise him!

If he wants to use my mundane routines today for his glory, praise him!

If he wants to use my waning body today for his glory, praise him!

If he wants to use the amount of faith i have today for his glory, praise him!

“Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.

Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth.

My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. Those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you.

But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do” (Psalm 73:23-28).

SGLY, dear readers.

(Smile, God Loves You.)

Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian writer and an opinion columnist. To submit feedback on SGLY or to offer a specific topic idea, please contact Chartier at news@ amtrib. com. Follow Chartier on Face - book: facebook. com/ tiffanychartier and Twitter: @tiffany chartier