Are you exhausted from trying to keep everything under control?
How about a rest?
Control can be that glittering thing that catches your eye and slithers up to your heart, whispering the promise that if you only do this, that, and the other, everything will work out as you wish.
Control can also come at you with a handful of threats. If you don’t do this, that and the other, something bad will happen.
There is this unspoken assumption that everything rides on you.
If you can just control yourself and your world—do it all—everything will be OK.
And if you fail, well…
If we could just guarantee that we won’t get cancer, that our children won’t struggle, that a certain politician will save the day, then we could finally exhale and just enjoy life.
So you go to work and stay busy, keeping the threats just out of ear shot.
This kind of working hard to keep everything under control is especially exhausting.
Or, maybe (if you’re like me), you think and rethink, and do a good bit of worrying, because worrying can make us feel like we’re doing something–like we have some control.
Worrying is also an exhausting practice.
But, what if we release the illusion of our control and trust that God is in control?
The days of our lives are chapters in the grand story of God saving us.
There is this promise of rest tucked into some famous words of the Apostle Paul:
“He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.”Philippians 1:6
Paul was writing to the members of a church he’d started some ten years before, and many scholars believe he was writing from prison in Rome, closer to the end of his ministry.
I can’t help but wonder how he felt as he thought about his friends, his fellow preachers, and all the suffering he’d endured–labor he’d poured out–to share the Good News. And I wonder what he imagined for the future.
Was he stressed out that he couldn’t be out there preaching? Was he worried about what would happen in his absence?
Evidently not. It seems that Paul really was content in all circumstances (Philippians 4:11). He lived with the Good News that Jesus was enough on his behalf–a belief that liberated him equally
*from getting stuck in a superstar identity, and
*from staying stuck in the horrific crimes of his past.
I imagine he was at peace with a heart knowledge that God had started everything and that God could and would finish everything.
The Good News is for us also.
We are part of something bigger than ourselves, something outside of our control. Why is it so hard to leave it there?
So, go to work and be busy doing what you were created to do, but ignore those threatening voices because, both now and in the end:
Not everything rides on you—you can rest.