“Control” is a loaded word. It can evoke a visceral reaction in various individuals, in negative or positive ways. And as Americans, we cherish our freedom sometimes to the point of demonizing any form of control. We don’t want people to infringe on our rights, we want to speak freely without consequences and we want to the freedom to make decisions often without the complementary responsibilities.
If we are followers of Jesus, however, there’s an alarming verse that recently arrested my attention: 2Cor 5:14a, “For the love of Christ controls us, . . . ” When I read this, I tried to find some wiggle room in the Greek for the word “control”. But alas, I had no luck. I’m supposed to be controlled by Jesus’ love.
So if we identify as a follower of Jesus, this means that His love:
influences my conversations to make them edifying rather than snarky
priorities my resources to be less selfish & to consider others
applauds those random acts of kindness that run contrary to my fleshy instincts
filters my thoughts & emotions to remove unforgivness, judgment, condescension, etc
Let’s allow Jesus’ love to be the controlling & defining essential in our lives!
In the last 2 weeks, I’ve been in 5 states, 2 countries, through 5 time zone, one boat & 8 planes. Suffice it to say that I feel like I’ve been in a state of perpetual motion. It will be very nice to be still, read on my back porch, breath deeply, cook for my family & snuggle.
Maybe God would like some of that stillness with us as well. Clearly, we all have plenty of responsibilities that require our energies & focus, but let’s also be attentive to all let the engine idle. Running our lives in the red zone for too long isn’t good for anyone nor are we designed by our Creator to live in perpetual motion 🙂
To be still, to engage, hold hands, listen to birds, watch the clouds, center & exhale 🙂
As I write this, it’s about 8:15am & I’ve already had a million things that I need to accomplish running through my mind & I’m hoping I don’t forget any of them. Even though I try to do all of the helpful reminders, checklists, etc, the forgetting part can make everything double stressful. So where does God fit into this scheme?
The answer is: wisdom. In Prov 8:30, it talks about how wisdom was right along side God as God created the world, taking delight in God’s creation. It seems to me that creating the entire universe could be a rather stressful task, but maybe this wasn’t stressful because God is God & wisdom is with God.
So friends, let’s ask God for wisdom to be with us throughout each day & in all of the things that we have to accomplish & with our various responsiblities. To get things done, let’s ask & receive wisdom from God 🙂
My trip to South Sudan with Saving Moses has been different than what I expected. I had the honor of getting to tag along with some REALLY experienced people who do all kinds of relief work & I was able to watch how they operate, what their priorities are & the importance of teamwork among all of them – so in that sense, the trip was a very good learning experience.
But now I’m on my return home & I’m starting to think about all of the issues that need work at home. I’m grateful to God for the recent pause for me with these issues – getting some fresh perspective & possibly some fresh priorities.
But if I’m not careful, I can get overwhelmed really quickly with all of these things, all on the backdrop of seeing & hearing some difficult things that are happening in S Sudan.
So my conclusion is that God is more than adequate & I am not. God has more provision than I have need & more answers than I have questions. When I run out of wisdom, strength & Sarah, I see that God is continually engaged throughout my life & I only need to lean into God – so I turn my thoughts & focus to my Divine Help 🙂
I feel like I’m the pot calling the kettle black with this blog – guilty as charged & a walking contradiction, maybe even borderline hypocrite. Here’s why: the last 2 weeks have been busy beyond any degree of rational acceptance and now I’m writing a blog about keeping margins in our lives. A margin is the empty space on a page around the written area. There are margins in this blog, in newspapers, books, etc & margins are necessary in our lives.
empty space, pause, still
Sometimes life feels like a treadmill on which the pace continues to increase & the incline just keeps going up – so many demands, expectations, deadlines, responsibilities, requirements, . . . . . Sometimes if we’re not careful, we fill up all of the margins in our lives & then continue to keep the margins full.
However, when I look at Jesus’ life, He was very intentional about keeping margins in His life. Of course He had MASSIVE demands on His time & person – people squashing Him wherever He went trying to get some of His attention, time, power, healing, love, . . . . . and His life only became increasingly popular each day of His ministry. Nevertheless, He carved margins into his lifestyle. He dismissed the crowed after feeding the 5,000. He went off by Himself to pray ALOT. He withdrew with His disciples from time to time to give them some intensive teaching & attention. When He rode in boats, He slept. Jesus modeled margins for us with perfect agility & balance.
Here are some things that help me to keep some margins in my life:
quiet in the car – it helps me to turn off things that beckon for my attention; furthermore, when I’m riding with my kids, I want to be fully present with & to them
keep some rhythms & routines: sleep when its time to sleep, wake up early to have some solitude (or stay up late if you’re a night person), grab the spare minutes in a day to look to God & still your heart
drink water as opposed to soda & coffee – my body already has enough stress on it with out adding caffeine, etc
sitting with my husband or a friend – I don’t need to have a conversation but just some togetherness
I also want to add some Bible memorizing to my margin maintenance so I can give my mind some food on which to nibble when it wants to digest various “worries”
Keep some still in your life if you want to remain effective over the long run 🙂