I had worked myself into a tizzy.
Sitting across the sticky table from my husband, I clenched my hands tightly in my lap and turned to focus my watery eyes on the empty table beside us. We had walked together to the diner for a fun breakfast, but my husband had already offered to take a separate route home. That’s how much my sharp words had wounded him.
I wasn’t even angry with him. I was stressed, anxious and fretful about several projects I had in the works. People were counting on me, my book would soon be published and my Christmas tree still shone brightly in our family room…two full weeks past the holiday. I felt overwhelmed.
The night before I had slept sporadically, restlessly. The work I had labored at the preceding day had lingered in my dreams during the night and the unfinished tasks had taunted me. Now my husband was receiving the brunt of my foul mood.
I’d like to say my disposition changed for the better quickly. It didn’t. My husband and I did manage to patch things up sufficiently so we could walk home together. (Honestly, he’s so very gracious to me.) But I continued to work frantically all that Saturday, reprimanding myself occasionally for not knowing more, for not working more quickly, for being so stupid!
Even as I paused for a lengthy quiet time with the Lord the next morning, I couldn’t seem to unravel, to loosen up. My mind resisted focusing on the Scripture and my responsibilities kept flooding out the soft music I had turned on.
I pressed into my Bible. I asked the Lord to grab hold of me and shake me loose from the bondage I seemed to be in. I needed to settle down or I was going to explode!
As I turned to the Psalms and intentionally, slowly and deliberately read one verse at a time, I finally began to feel a little more relaxed. Choosing to resist certain anxious thoughts and settling instead into the truth in front of my eyes, I regained control over my mind a little at a time. By the time I was dressed to go to church, I finally felt like I could worship the Lord with abandon and then sit teachable in my pew as His Word was proclaimed.
I had come down off my high horse. And fortunately, I had climbed down rather than falling off!
That’s how I get when I forget who is responsible.
You see all that mental mayhem was a result of me trying to do things in my own strength. Honestly, I had prayed about my projects. In fact, therein lies part of the problem.
Sometimes when I pray I give God assignments. Do you ever do that? I tell Him what I’ll do — the bigger part of the job. And then I give Him His portion. I don’t know if I can count on Him for much (or so it seems) so I don’t ask for much. Basically, I just ask Him to bless what I’m doing. Because I’m responsible after all.
Wrong. That’s where I realized I’m very, very wrong.
I’m not responsible for the project He has put in my lap, the ministry He has called me to, the people He has put in my path and in my heart. He is responsible.
First Corinthians 12:4-6 reminds me that, while God allows me to participate in and enjoy the fruit of His work, it is indeed Him who accomplishes the work…through me.
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.”
God supplies the gift, the ministry and even the results. He is at work doing miraculous and eternal things, and He simply invites me to take on little assignments, like show up, be available, speak when it’s appropriate, listen even more and wait.
In fact, the biggest assignment He ever gives me is “trust and obey.” He just asks me to know that He’s got this, and do what He’s asked me to do.
What Difference Does It Make?
After I had slowed down enough so that God could redirect my gaze and I could rest my anxious soul on His shoulder, I began to realize that I had taken on the responsibility for my projects while simply giving God a few paltry assignments. I saw the foolishness of my thinking and made the necessary shift.
From that point on I would approach my projects as the one who had been given a few assignments instead of as the one in charge. I would look to God for direction. And when I began to grow anxious over the tasks or the results I would shift the responsibility back to Him. I’d say something like, “Lord, this is Your book launch. You’ve got this. You just tell me what I need to do next, and I’ll do it. And I’ll let you worry about everything else.” Then I’d smile.
Do you ever take God’s responsibility?
Do you, like me, sometimes divvy out assignments–like you’re the one in charge and He’s your virtual assistant?Do you ever divvy out assignments to God like you’re in charge and He’s your virtual assistant? Click To Tweet
Whether it’s parenting your child, finishing a project at work, packing for a move, pulling together a women’s event at church or planning your extended family’s annual reunion, you will rest easier if you’ll remember it’s really God’s responsibility. It’s just your assignment. You’ll find much more joy in consistently putting the responsibility back on His broad shoulders and relaxing yours.God is responsible, not me. I'm on assignment, not Him. Click To Tweet
I’ll leave you with the portion of Psalm 33 that finally settled my anxious thoughts and helped me rest again in Him.
By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
and by the breath of His mouth all their host.
He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap;
He lays up the deeps in storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the Lord;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast. (Psalm 33:1-9)
You can find out more about the new book I have coming out next month here. Yeah, it’s the one I was sweating bullets over! But I’m good now 🙂