Advent Teaches Us To Give Up Control
I was feeling frustrated yesterday. There was a glitch in our mail system and I was unable to complete the task of getting the daily devotion for today sent out in the time frame I wanted it sent.
I was not able to fix the problem myself, which means I had to rely on others to do it. And I had to wait, which is one of the most maddening things for me.
I can't stand being in that space--out of control, at the mercy of other people's schedules, in charge, but not really in charge. I even figured out a plan going forward to avoid this particular thing from happening again, trying to prepare for every contingency.
Whom am I kidding, though? There will be other issues, other problems and obstacles. I can't foresee them all, and I'm sure there will be a time in the near future when I'll be back here feeling this way once more.
It's interesting to be feeling all of this during a season that is marked by expectation. Advent reminds us that God's arrival is imminent. It helps keep us expectant of the unexpected ways God comes to us.
Advent reminds us that God is always doing new things, and rarely on our timetables. And no amount of our fretting, worrying or even doing will change the way God operates.
It's not a coincidence that I read the following Henri Nouwen quote this morning among my daily readings:
It is not so much that we do many things but rather that we do many things while wondering whether anything is happening.Nouwen simplifies things down to their very essence by going on to say that the only thing we need to be focused on... the only thing we should be doing is simply following Jesus.
When I hear those words I feel a bit of despair. You see, I want a better answer. I want something with clear, marked and measured steps to know I've achieved it. I want to have control.
But in God's economy, things are different. In order for me to fully experience the hope of Advent, I need to be able to let go of my need for control. In order for me to become the person God longs for me to be, I need to surrender to God.
I have to tell you that NO SOONER than the very second I finished this and pressed save--I received the email I was looking for, and was able to move forward. And when I mean the very second I mean the very second. Coincidence? God messing with me? Both?Beloved, if you are fretting, worrying and frustrated because you aren't in control of every aspect of your life--join me in taking a deep breath, and being reminded that there is freedom in letting go.
There is freedom in waiting on God, knowing that God is always doing something new, amazing, unexpected and life-giving---and we experience it more fully when we stop trying to control everything.
May this be true in your life today and every day. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.