Monday, December 30, 2013
Handing Over the Reigns: Not Taking Over God's Job
Lately, I have been trying to practice handing over the reigns. Most know that I have a hard time letting things happen as they happen, or rather, losing control. I always thought that having control made me more happy.
Case and point: if I get to the movies 30 minutes before the show starts, I have a better chance of getting the best seats. I avoid crowds and thus avoid trying to find seats for my party amongst all other movie goers. I can get situated, and even go to the bathroom with plenty of time to spare. I don't like feeling rushed, unprepared, and don't want to inconvenience those around me. Having control over the time in which I arrive to the movie guarantees a fantastic movie-watching experience for everyone! Right!?
Last week, I went to see Frozen with my family. We arrived 2 minutes before the movie started. We sat 2 rows from the screen. I hate sitting that close in movies. But, I decided to put aside the feeling that I was going to be blind by the end of the show, and really embraced the experience. And you know what....it was fantastic!
This experience is so minor compared to how I handle other more serious issues. This past Christmas week, I again struggled with handing the reigns over. I wasn't with my immediate family. I was with my new one. Things were different, not bad, just different. I felt out of place. I felt lost and confused. I could have treated this as an opportunity for me and my sweetheart to embrace one another and find out what we want for our future family. But instead, I whined and really struggled to see value in this Christmas experience. I wasn't willing to go with the flow. I fought and fought, and was miserable. There isn't one right way to be with family. I had a hard time handing the reigns over.
Looking at my life, I realize how even my Christmas experience is so minor compared to how I handle handing over the reigns to my Heavenly Father.
In the book These High Green Hills by Jan Karon, the following passage about 'calling the shots,' was so profound as I struggle with my control issues. Another preacher in the town was up in the hills preaching about sin, and recalls the experience:
"I want this, I want that, and I want it right now. I want to run things, I want to call the shots, I want be in charge...
When we turn from our sin, and have the blessed forgiveness of the Almighty, then we can ask Him to run things, and let Him be in charge. But boys howdy, folks don't want to hear that either.
Nossir, they like to keep control, even if their little boat's pitchin' around in the storm and takin' on water and about to be swamped."
He's right, you know. We don't like to hear it. I don't like to hear it. Even when it is the best thing for me/us. What is it about control? Why do I like it so much? Is it a natural tendency in all mankind, or just some of us blessed few? I feel like the only way to let someone take the reigns is if I am not in the front of the wagon at all. The minute I slow down, I just stop.
For example: I don't know if I am going to be employed at the end of January. I have applied and interviewed at a couple places in Idaho. Because I am so prone to anxiety, it was suggested to me that I also pray that if the opportunity isn't supposed to be that the door on the opportunity will close completely. There is nothing worse than interviewing somewhere only to wait and wait and wait until I don't hear anything. Heavenly Father has been very gracious at granting this request. I have interviewed at multiple places, and He has moved worlds in order for me to physically make it to these interviews, and the doors have been closed. On the flip side, my sweetheart and I know that making this move is what we need to do. We have prayed and spoken with Heavenly Father that His will and blessings will be revealed. And now, I think I have handed over the reigns, at least I feel like I have. I feel my faith being tested. Fortunately, my sweetheart's faith is strong and is holding me up as I am learning this very valuable and trying lesson.
I just want to get it right. I find that as I learn these new things, I mumble. Most of my mumblings sound like, "Again, really!? How many times do I heave to learn this lesson? Didn't I get it right the first time?" That is when this passage from These High Green Hills struck me:
"Must I remind you that your future belongs to God, and not to you?...trying to get it right is a dangerous thing, and He does not like it. I mean that getting it absolutely right is God's job."
It was a good reminder to me that while I am trying to drive the load down this swervy, curvy road of life, if I am open to it, Heavenly Father will drive and guide all along the way. If I did it all right the first time, there would be nothing left for me to do. The only person who did it right the first time was Jesus Christ, period.
And while I have made that discovery before, I tend to forget it. And so easily, too. As one who has been knocked over the head with the same discovery over and over, nothing sums it up quite like this quote from the same book: "God spoke to my heart in a way He hadn't spoken before. No. Erase that. He made me able to listen in a way I couldn't listen before.
Not getting the best seat at a movie theater can be tough. Having new Christmas traditions with new family can be tough. Handing over the reigns can be tough. Doing this thing called life alone can be tough. Doing this thing called life in a marriage can be tough. Listening in ways I haven't listened before can be tough. Moving and walking, while letting God do His thing can be tough.
But guess what!? I know that I was given the opportunity to come and experience this thing called life, and I have the feeling that I knew that it could be tough. And yet, I decided that it would be worth it, because I am here......and for that I am happy.