Hi friends and welcome to the Arise, Beloved blog. We have an amazing team of writers behind this blog and our desire is to speak truth into the lies that cripple us and shine light into the darkness that isolates us because we believe that now, more than ever, the Church desperately needs women to be restored so that the world can be set ablaze. Our hope is that you find comfort, solace, and peace in knowing that you are not alone, you are not too far gone and there is ALWAYS hope to be found.
I’m blessed to have an amazing team at each of the two places where I work. Managers or administrators who check-in, co-workers who are happy to share the burden of a task – or just to chat with you while you’re finishing the task yourself. I never dread going to work, and it’s almost entirely because of the people I work with.
In the same vein, my roommate and I have a good system of teamwork running, too. While I can’t say the dishes are always done on time, we at least do a great job of feeding ourselves and the cat every day. We play to our strengths and we adjust with our changing schedules and needs. I can also say with confidence that we have never run out of toilet paper, wine, or things to talk about.
I’m more than aware that I can’t do it all alone. You don’t need to remind me of that! That’s why I surround myself with a team that I know can get it all done.
My team and I keep things running smoothly. We keep the people around us happy. We do our jobs, we get things done. We have it under control.
And isn’t control what it all comes down to? I have to have things under control. Not just an arbitrary “it’s being controlled” in the universal sense. I have to have things under my control.
What I’m trying to admit is that I have a problem with control, and when I can’t control something, it can really unsettle me. Like, anxiety-inducing kind of unsettled. I wonder if any of you feel the same way?
Can’t sleep because you have too much to do. How am I going to find time to get everything done? You get in a fight with someone close to you because you feel like you have to do it yourself if they aren’t going to do it right or on your timeline. Why am I always the only one doing everything?
And the things you really can’t control? Ignore it. Put it aside. Let it sit in your brain and make you feel like you aren’t enough. Blame others. Blame yourself. Try to control it anyway and fail, every time. Sounding right?
Control, man. If life were elementary school dodgeball, and everyone on earth was the neighbor’s kids, I would be picking God for my team dead last. He is the kid no one can quite look in the eye. The one you just don’t want to deal with.
Why? Control! I can’t control God any more than I can convince my cat to stop scratching my furniture. It’s why I’d never pick my cat for dodgeball either. If I can’t control God, how can I trust Him to do it how I think it should be done? To do it fast enough? To do it my way?
News flash – you can’t. You can trust God to do it how He thinks it should be done! On His timeline! The right way! That’s why I’m always picking Him last for my team! Because I’m in charge, damnit!
I have to remember constantly, begrudgingly, that a team only works when you give and take. My roommate will make me a deal all the time. You clean this dish, I’ll clean that. You run to the post office on your way home from work, I’ll cook dinner. Work is the same. I know you hate this task but I don’t mind it. Let me do it while you’re busy because I am not busy. Whatever it is, there is a give and a take to play to our strengths or availability.
Let’s challenge each other and hold each other accountable to practice that give and take with God. Play to each other’s strengths! Is there something you can do really well, that you have a knack for? That you’re passionate about? That you want to try out? Great! Go for it! Let God take the stuff He is really good at – the stuff you literally can’t control, like those unknown variables in your life that keep popping up at bad times. The ones that feel like the universe is out to get you.
And in the face of a situation that feels insurmountable, where everything feels like it’s going all wrong and you have lost control over everything – you lost your job, someone you care for is sick, your car broke down and you can’t afford the bills, a global pandemic is sweeping through your city and taking everything with it — take a moment. Breathe. Make a deal with God. Pick God first for your team.
I’ll take what I can handle, You do the rest.
What can you control? You can make your bed every morning. You can eat a meal that nourishes you, you can remember to drink water.
What can you control? Check-in with friends and family and see how they’re doing. Get dressed even if you’re staying in the house. That hobby you’ve meaning to get into hasn’t gone anywhere and now is a good time to start.
Can you control anything else? Yes. Your attitude. Your spirit. The state of your soul.
You can’t control God – but you can control your relationship with Him. Do you talk to Him? Do you make time for prayer in your life? Today is a great day to start.
When everything around you seems like it’s falling to pieces, build yourself up with a good time. Play to your strengths. Spend time in prayer discerning what your strengths are, and most importantly, what God’s strengths are. He delights in delighting us! Let Him show you what a good teammate He can be!
I am trying to convince myself more than I am trying to convince you guys. This winter has been a hard-fought battle, ending with me realizing I just don’t have enough time or energy to do it all. The pandemic was a good way to bring everything to a screeching halt – a forced “breathe, okay?” and a mandatory “figure out a new way because the old way isn’t going to work right now.”
Let’s make room for God on our team, together, as we move forward in these next few weeks. In times that are so uncertain, I feel Lent so clearly and painfully that I wonder how I ever practiced Lent without a pandemic. I ache for things to be normal again, for people to stop being so afraid, to walk outside in peace. I want to be saved from this! I ache for salvation.
Luckily, Easter is coming. The uncertainty and fear will end.
Give and take. God is waiting to make you a deal.