Thanks, Julie Loos from Unmasking the Mess for inspiring this post.
I put enormous pressure on myself to be responsible, dependable, and on top of my game. I want people to know that if I say I will do something, they can count on it. If a task needs to be completed, I will not only have it done, but it will be done in a timely manner.
I have a tendency to feel it is my job to hold everything in my life together. Colossians 1:17 (ESV) tells us that “[Christ] is before all things, and in him all things hold together,” yet I can’t seem to shake the notion that it’s my job.
In my mind, my time, energy, weight, money, career, etc. are all subject to how I manage them. I feel that it is my responsibility to plan my steps to make my life go according to the route I see is best. I diligently plan out my schedule, evaluate resources, and list my goals for the immediate future. I plan meals and exercise to lose weight. I strategize how to have an effective online presence. I time my tasks so that I can improve my ability to maximize the number of tasks I complete to make progress toward my goals.
However, an unexpected conversation or need for an errand will always interfere. I will follow my plan to control my weight without seeing any results. My strategies to improve my career or blog following don’t have the impact I expect. I don’t get the sleep I believe I need for the next day.
It seems I would learn that I don’t have the control over my life that I believe that I do. Not only do I not have the control I crave, I don’t need it. In fact, my life is better because I am not in control. Despite my plans being thrown to the wind, I still find that the pieces of my life are held together. I have a more meaningful conversation with my husband or friend, or I might be able to help someone in a way that is more productive than whatever task I had planned for that moment.
There was a time when I said I would never teach English overseas. After college, a position as a middle school English teacher was the only feasible career option, so I jumped on a plane. It was an incredible time where I learned and grew immensely. If life had gone according to my plans, I would have found a job at home that would have only been moderately challenging. I would have missed the opportunity to see a new culture and new perspectives, and I would not have lacked much needed confidence to be independent after college.
There are plenty of times when life throws me a curveball, and I don’t understand why God allowed it to happen. Tough times sometimes hit, and they don’t always make sense. However, I can look back on all of the times when God provided for me when I thought I had to juggle all of the pieces of my life. I can look at the times when I forgot to set an alarm but happened to wake up the right time to get to work or an important meeting. I can think of the times in college when an unexpected call or visit kept me from studying, and then the assignment due date was delayed. I can look at the jobs that I didn’t expect to have that ended up being the right place for me. Seeing how God has taken care of me in the past allows me to know that he will continue providing even in the moments that I don’t understand. I don’t have to juggle everything in my life to make sure that I have a happy and successful life.
Deuteronomy 8:18 (ESV) reminds us that the Lord “gives you the power to get wealth.” I often feel it is my responsibility to make my career and each and every day a success when I’m not even the one who gives me the power to succeed. I should be trusting God to create opportunities for what He has planned for my life.
I know that I need to be responsible, but I also need to trust God’s plans and provision for my life. It is difficult to balance the two. It is easy to go one of two ways. We can be tied in knots over what we want to accomplish, or we can become lazy and say that the Lord will take care of everything without feeling any need to be responsible. However, we need to trust in the Lord’s provision and follow Him when He leads us to act.
How do you balance acting responsibly and trusting God’s plans and provision for your life?