How many of these statements have you said in the past 6 months?
- “I’ve got to be strong for them.”
- “If I don’t keep it together it’ll all fall apart.”
- “If I don’t do it, it won’t get done.”
Some of you (me included) are smiling because you’ve said one or all of those in the last 12 hours let alone 6 months! These statements are really overarching feelings that scream “I’M JUST TRYING TO HOLD IT TOGETHER!!!!” In a world of chaos, stress, hustle, bustle, and muscle there are moments when things seem to be coming loose at the edges. In those moments our faith receives heavy testing and we are faced with how to deal with the idea of control.
As a firstborn, Type A+, extreme “planner” who is married to a firstborn, Type A+, extreme “planner”, I know a thing or two about control. My wife and I love lists, spreadsheets, dry erase boards, label makers, organization apps, and anything else nerdy short of a pocket protector. We feel planning for things ahead of time reduces stress in the moment so we try to be ahead of the game. Whether it’s financially or just packing for a trip to Iowa we try to pre-think about all that needs to be done.
That works great with suitcases and buying couches, but it always seems to fail when it comes to real life stuff. Stuff like babies in NICUs, illness, family situations, or job stresses. Pharmacies would sell far less antidepressants and antianxiety medication if we were able to predict those events as accurately as the inflation costs of new windows in your home. Sorry to break it to you gang, but “that aint how it works.”
Whether we can see the events coming or not, we still deal with them and most of us will choose 1 of 3 responses:
- I’ll just ignore it. If I pretend it’s not there, it’ll just go away.
- I’m going to tackle this thing myself. I’ll put my head down and deal with it.
- I’m not strong enough to deal with this so I’m checking out and giving up.
To be sure, all of these responses will produces results. Not always the best results, but results nonetheless. What saddens me (especially when I do it too) is when Christians fall into these same lines of response.
I say saddens because as Christians we profess to believe in a pretty amazing, awesome, and powerful God, but often we “reduce Him to the size of our biggest problem”, as Mark Batterson would say. We think the God that created everything from the atom to the heavens can’t possibly save my marriage or help me with my difficult child.
So instead we choose to tackle our challenges by our own efforts and then wonder why we are exhausted, crying, burnt out, and miserable all the time. The reason this happens is because we are going against what God designed. We are forgetting Who holds this whole thing together and news flash… it isn’t you or I.
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” - Colossians 1:15-17 (emphasis mine)
Thank goodness Paul is there to remind us that in the midst of the storm of life God is still there holding things together. He doesn’t take breaks, go on holiday, or get distracted. He is laser focused on His creation and is active and working with in it. So we should be quick to remember that if we are going to lean into anything in our time of struggle, need, joy, or contentment it should be into the strength of God.
So stop trying to be the superhero of your life when God hasn’t asked you to do that. The bottom line truth is that if you are trying to hold your life together by anything other than God you simply have the wrong glue.