Micro-Managing

July 21, 2010

 

Do you attempt to micromanage God?  It never occurred to me until today that’s exactly what I tend to do!  Sounds ridiculous, right?  Of course I don’t start out each day deliberately thinking I know how to handle my life better than God, but my actions show differently.  Watch the picture unfold… 

 

Last week my nephew posted a link to a video called “The Stool” http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/11396/The-Stool – it’s a short clip with two individuals and a stool.  The male represents Jesus and the stool represents decisions in the woman’s life.  Theoretically, she acknowledges Jesus makes perfect decisions for her life, but it doesn’t take any time before she finds herself crowding out Jesus for control over the stool.  There’s a great line that stuck with me, “I’m kinda one-cheeking it here.” 

 

Not so long ago, I was having a conversation with a friend and expressing frustrations in workplace relationships.  My struggles stemmed from a senior management team member not fully allowing me to do my job. He’d give a project to me, but it was as if he was still holding on only to take it back.  He’d go and work on the project on his own, then when he got stuck guess what happened? Of course! He would give it back.  How could I possibly show him my full capabilities if he kept taking back control? HELLO?????

 

I must have shared the workplace scenario on multiple occasions and it never dawned on me until just this morning I tend to do the EXACT same thing with God.  How can He possibly show me His full potential when I try to one-cheek my relationship with Him? It doesn’t work, does it?  Unlike my frustrations in the workplace, God isn’t going to fight for control over decisions in my life.  He will patiently wait until I decide to “Let Go and Let God” – and yes, that was a blog in the not so distant past…

 

Although it may seem like it’s the same scenario (letting go) over and over again, I can see my relationship with God changing – growing – strengthening every day.  And as I gradually give up the pieces of my life I’ve held on to so stubbornly, my heart is lighter and it feels AMAZING!  It’s kind of like when you try to hold your breath and you can’t hold it any longer…that next breath?  It’s incredible – such a relief, right?  Well it’s the same thing when you completely give something to God …His breath fills your life and propels you forward in a way you could never imagine.

Time to Get Out of the Boat

April 19, 2010

I have all these thoughts swimming around in my head…flashes of insight vanish as quickly as they appear…scrambling to put puzzle pieces together, trying to feel some sense of control even though I know that’s exactly what I’m NOT supposed to do!

I’m back to STOP – BE STILL – what are you so afraid of???? Oh, that’s right…with all these thoughts swimming in my head and not on paper, how can I, much less anyone else gain anything from it?  Well…here we go… 

The last few months I have been in situations where individuals have confided in me about certain struggles in their personal relationships.  I have found myself saying over and over, “I know exactly how you feel” because I’ve lived the scenario in some form or fashion…I understand their fear, pain, and frustration all too well.  I hesitate to give my opinion because I’m not a professional counselor, but I can offer encouragement – I can offer support – I can listen…and so that’s what I do.  But that’s just it – it’s all ME.  Is that what God wants?  Or does He want more?   

Last week I was sharing with a friend and he asked when I was going to start a women’s group.  The simple question generated such an overwhelming emotion it’s difficult to describe… immediately tears were streaming down my face – I couldn’t stop them! My heart was burning and it felt so big, it didn’t seem as though there was room to contain it in my chest.  Quickly, I tucked the emotions aside and moved on with my day. 

A couple of days later I was having breakfast with the same friend – listening as he described details of a recent trip.  As he was sharing, he was flipping through a workbook and settled on understanding the difference between a Calling and a Burden.  Not something I’ve ever recognized as necessarily as being separate.  I’m going to paraphrase here…but the jest of it was a calling is God’s Will and Design for my life and is permanent, whereas a burden is usually temporary (kind of a take it or leave it thing) yet something we’re very passionate about.  And as we were discussing the differences, the tears started flowing AGAIN! Nothing was going to stop them…well, except for my stubbornness born out of fear. 

Later that day, I was having dinner with my daughter.  She was home for the weekend and as God would have it, she wasn’t running here and there to meet with one friend or another – she was spending time with me and we were sharing – it was great!  Before I realized it, I was telling her basically everything I’ve just written in the prior paragraphs.  And once again, as we were sitting in the restaurant, tears were streaming…down both our faces. 

Yesterday afternoon I was flipping through the TV channels and settled on a sermon about courage and fear.  As I listened to a message, the events of the past few days played over and over in my head.  The pastor was right…we can’t always control our emotions, but we can control our actions.  Fear is a natural, healthy emotion – it’s when we allow fear to dominate us that we find ourselves in trouble…and isn’t that usually when our focus is on the situation and not God?  The pastor used the story in Matthew 14 to drive the point home…in spite of his fear, Peter stepped out of that boat on faith – while he was focused on Jesus he was safe; it’s when he started worrying about the wind and the waves that he began to sink.  

So my challenge is really no different from any other day… when will I believe the trick to overcoming whatever obstacle (perceived or otherwise) that lies in front of me only has to do with my willingness to believe God has a plan, He’s got it covered, and wants me to succeed?  Will I stay where I am out of fear?  Or will I to be like Peter and step out of the boat and move forward in faith?

Big Things – Little Things – All the In-Between Things

March 25, 2010

I wonder how many people read a daily devotional and think, “Wow! This was written just for me!” Last year as I started on my new path of spiritual growth, a friend forwarded a daily email devotional – the name caught my attention right off the bat, “TGIF – Today God Is First” pretty clever, huh? I’d love to say I read them every single day, but the truth is sometimes it seems like I’m catching up on the entire week! 
 
ANYWAY, there is a point coming…a couple of weeks ago my supervisor gave notice he was leaving the company.  Needless to say I was happy for him, yet disappointed to see him leave.  I found myself trying to put the puzzle pieces together…desperately wanting to know how the new picture would look.  Those thoughts quickly shifted to my position within the company, what I thought I needed to be fulfilled and successful…see a pattern?   

Thankfully, God gave me the nudge I needed through the daily devotional…as I read, my mind was still focused on workplace events and emotions were…well…let’s say…a bit elevated, when I found myself staring at a quote that stood out like a flashing neon sign! I don’t know who Dr Sam Peeples is, but he’s on to something…
 
“The circumstances of life, the events of life, and the people around me in life, do not make me the way I am, but reveal the way I am.” 

Well, well, well…that little quote opened a can of worms…I quickly realized I was focused (yet again!) in the wrong direction…on some level believing I needed certain things, worldy things, to be successful and stressing over fear of the unknown.  Hello????? Even as I write these words I’m amazed how easily I lose focus.   

Do I still lose focus?  Absolutely.  But ya’ wanna hear the good news?   And this is the really cool part…I’m relying on prayer…not the “this is what I’m supposed to do” kind of prayers, but real conversation prayers….my little one-on-one God sessions…every single day, several times a day…for big things, little things, and all the in-between things.  And as I draw closer to Him, I’m hopeful I’ll start revealing not just the way I am, but the way He wants me to be.