“You’re not in control, and that’s okay”

Now that we’re 3 weeks into things, many of the “honeymoon” moments of just arriving to this internship (living in a house with 20 people, staying up late and getting up early, figuring out how to park 9 cars in the driveway, neglecting budget for experience, and having deep conversations about life and faith for majority of the day) have passed. You never truly realize the impact that constantly living around 19 other people has, until all of a sudden you’re so tired you almost fall asleep during dessert with your sister at 9:30 pm.  Personal phone calls, quiet reading time, and sleeping in (in theory of course because that never really happens for me) have no place in our house. But the situation struck me the best when one person was giving her testimony at breakout on Thursday.  She said her faith started to make sense to her when she could remind herself that “you’re not in control, and that’s okay.” Knowing the stubborn person that I can be, I listened intently but without intent.  I didn’t think that her statement applied to me.  Silly me.

Example 1: With VBS this week, everyone was on edge.  There were countless hours of preparation for decorations and schedules and such, but the second those 250+ kids showed up, none of that preparation seemed to matter.  We had too many volunteers (who knew that was a thing) and way too sugary of snacks. It was a nightmare.  So the logical side of me was fairly negative in thinking that those 3 hours every morning this week could’ve been used so much more efficiently.  BUT “I’m not in control, and that’s okay.” God took advantage of an opportunity to teach me patience and stillness.

Example 2: Another intern’s testimony on Thursday night really struck me as well in a different way.  He talked about his prayer life.  Not at all in a prided way, but he spoke about how he prayed for years for various things in his life that were important for him. He prayed for 2 years for his brother to get to know Christ. He prayed for a year for his parents’ marriage to be reconciled.  And not that it was easy, especially when you typically can’t see God’s handiwork in the background, but he saw God come through.  Of course in my head, I loved to believe that I do the same thing.  Just like the phrase “you’re not in control, and that’s okay” didn’t apply to me.  Yeah right. When I really sit down and think about my prayer life, I’m about as patient as a little kid who knows his Hotwheels car is in the cart at the store, but his mom has to finish buying groceries before he can play with it.  And that’s fairly uncool. It’s not that I deliberately think that I am in control of my life and I don’t need God’s help.  But it’s almost like my actions say that.  If I don’t care enough about a situation or a friend or anything enough to pray about it constantly everyday no matter what change I can see (in my own blind vision), then I need to be reminded that “I’m not in control, and that’s okay.”

Example 3: When contemplating seminary and denominational ordination and my future career path, my thought process is almost completely focused on logic.  Where can I go that’s cost effective? Where can I go to get a balance of academic and practical ministry? Which denomination has the best job security? Which region of the country has the best growing ground for churches? And those questions aren’t completely irrational.  Except that maybe they’re too rational.  There’s a point in life where you have to realize that you could plan every second of every minute of the rest of your life, and the moment that your first planned second passes and it’s not what you planned, every other thing you planned is out the window.  It is not about my plan. And for the first time truly in my heart, I am starting to allow my actions to show my trust in God’s plan for me. Because “I’m not in control, and that’s okay.”

I may sleep in a room that’s 82 degrees because of a broken fan.  I may currently live in a house that has so many people we have our roommate meetings outside because we can’t all fit inside in one room.  I may have zero idea about where I’ll end up for seminary.  But none of that matters to me because it’s all part of God’s plan. His love for me is more than I could ever imagine to have for myself.  So why would anyone choose a life built on less love when there is SO much more to be offered? Pray, live, and remember that “we’re not in control, and that’s okay.”

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