Friday, July 11, 2008

I like being told what to least to a point. I've always liked and needed structure in my life to keep a degree of discipline in it and when I find that structure lacking, for whatever reason, I find myself swimming against the tide.

When I started my current job 13 years ago my director gave me a list of tasks every week, sometimes every day, that I needed to accomplish. I thrived with this and it gave me a real sense of accomplishment as I was able to check off the items on this list. At the time the items on the list were often repetative issues that came up here at the camp and since I lived on-site, it was easy to just throw myself into the job and take whatever time it took to get the job done.

Now, well down the road and three directors later I often find myself longing for those "simpler" times. I am responsible not only for getting those jobs done but for generating the list - forseeing the work to be done, budgeting for it, discussing it w/ committees and staff when necessary, getting the supplies and carrying it out.

Responsability. It is a tuff word, a challenging reality in our lives. It is easier, at least for me, to conduct myself by the rules layed out and defined clearly, even if done by someone else. I find it easier to be the doer in most things, not the organizer, not the planner. I'll gladly work longer hours to do the job if I don't have to do all of the planning. Of course, when I'm the one doing both, the less planning I do the longer the job usually takes.

Obviously, I've been talking about my daily work life, which as a single adult male makes up way too much of what defines me in the eyes of the world and too often, in my own eyes. The irony is that in my spiritual life, I have the Instruction Book, know the rewards and consequences of doing or not doing the "work" have had most of my 46 years to get it right, or at least get off of the milk, and I still find myself struggling to do so.

My tendency when I get anxious about something is to focus on the tasks I know best, that I can easily control and work to a conclusion. As a result, the other, ususally more significant tasks aren't getting done and therefore generate more and more stress and start seeming overwhelming in nature and scope. It is paralyzing.

When this happens I have to stop and look at my life and ask just who is in charge here? What or who am I putting my faith in? When I reach the point I have just described (as I did again at 4:11 a.m. today) I am relying on my own strength and understanding to do what needs to be done. But I'm not in charge, I don't exist soley for my own purpose(s) - however I define them. I am a son of the King and He is the one who created me, who knows my real purpose; He is the one who can work in and through the intimate details to use me as He needs, and make me who it is He wants me to be. NO issue is too big for him (thank goodness).

I can do good work when I set my mind to it. I can plan things out when I can get my mind to focus; but my plans, my work, are never as good as they can be if I don't ask for His wisdom and direction in the process. Oh, and if He isn't in the work I am doing, or trying to do - what's the point?!



At 3:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh man, Uncle Brad, how many times have I been there too?! And it seems it always takes one more coming-to-the-end-of-myself breakdown to teach me, yet again, the simple truths I all too often forget.

The other night at a youth group I am blessed to be part of, I was talking to the students about this. How much life is about relearning the simple truths of our spirituality, our relationship with the Lord, over and over again. Because really, if we really knew them and lived them out, how different our lives would look!

And I realize again how DESPERATE I am for God. And I want to always be desperate for Him, because if I am not, something is wrong. There I go relying on myself again, and that false sense of being okay on my own is so dreadfully and pitifully mistaken. I am grateful for His grace, and so grateful to live in desperation for Him.

And I am reminded that anything good I can ever offer my God comes from His grace and work in my life, not mine. :)

Love you!


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