Like most people, I get songs playing in my head. Sometimes, they’re great, such as something by J.S. Bach, Randy Travis, or Adele. Other times, it’s something obnoxious like this morning when I started the new year with Que Sera Sera going through my head. If you’re not familiar with it, good for you. It’s a cute song from sometime in the last century with an absolutely terrible message. The lyrics are, “Que sera sera, whatever will be will be. The future’s not ours to see. Que sera sera.” A terrible message, you ask? How so? The entire song is about resigning yourself to whatever happens in the future. Certainly, as individuals, we have limited control over what happens in the future, but we have great control over what happens in our future. We can use intentionality to create our future based on our responses to what happens in the future.
How’s that work? Obviously, you can’t control what the government does about climate change, you can’t control whether your neighbor or family members get vaccinated, and you can’t control what happens with the global economy. You can, however, use intentionality to prepare your home for whatever climate-based threats you face, make decisions based on sound guidance about how to deal with the global pandemic, and you can use prudent personal financial management to prepare for the ups and downs of the global economy.
For years, psychologists and other experts on human behavior have been preaching this technique for stress management. Identify what’s within your control and what’s outside of your control. If it’s within your control, deal with it. If it’s outside of your control, let it go. Your responses to whatever life hands you are entirely within your control.
12-step programs include Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer as a coping method for people in recovery, but it’s great guidance for anyone: Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
In other words, you can’t control the future, but you can control how you respond to whatever happens, thus exercising some control over your future.
Intentionality for Your Future
You can choose to live in and enjoy the present, being aware of how your past decisions shaped your present. You can choose to be intentional about making decisions today to allow for and create the future you want for you and your family.
Que sera sera? What a bunch of malarkey!
Happy New Year!
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