Friday, March 28, 2014

Control Freak





Who am I describing?


Ugh. This week God revealed that I, Ruthie, am a control freak. I stake so much of my peace and satisfaction on whether things and people are cooperative with my "overall plan." I mistakenly believe that I can best serve and minister to and for Jesus when everything and everyone around me are in order.

Perhaps that is why God put me in such an environment in which I have very little control over my surroundings and the people in them.

For example:
- I cannot control the weather (not that I know anyone who can), and as a result I can't always dictate when I shower (since I shower in an outdoor building, with walls and no ceiling), and when I travel on an open-air boat, or where I walk, ride a motorcycle, etc.
- I do not have control over most of the food I eat. (It's a good thing I love beans and rice.)
- I do not have power over the people around me, especially as we often speak a different language, come from different cultures, and have quite varied expectations for many things.
- I cannot control where the rats, bats and lizards sleep, scurry and especially where they make their "deposits." :(
- I cannot always control when I have access to power, clean water, favorite foods, or the Internet. 
- I do not decide how much my supporters send me, how often they pray for me, or when they write to me.

This week God put the spotlight on my over-controlling behaviors through the story of Mary and Martha. Truly, I can hardly read that story without being convicted of something.

The account, told in Luke 10, vs. 38-42, says Martha opened her home to Jesus as He was traveling through the area. She took the initiative to warmly welcome the Messiah into the family home, shared with her sister Mary and brother Lazarus. 

But what transpired next turned what should have been a joyful gathering into a sour occasion. Perturbed Martha complained about her seemingly unconcerned sister, Mary. Rather than helping make sure all was perfect and in order in the home and especially for the honored guest, Mary had planted herself at Jesus' feet, focusing only on Him.

When Martha petitioned Jesus for His help in motivating Mary, He replied:

"My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! But few things are needed - or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her." (NIV)

I can so identify with Martha. I sincerely want to serve and bless Jesus and the people He has placed in my life, but I mistakenly put way too much emphasis on the details of this serving. I think that if I can control the who, what, when, where and how, I will be serving Jesus to my utmost. But as I create a whirlwind of activity all I seem to do is generate more messes, damage relationships and shift my focus to time-consuming details and away from the face and feet of my Savior - the very one I want to bless.

I don't think Jesus was chiding Martha for being hospitable or conscientious, but for the fact that her priorities were askew and inverted. She had invited Jesus to be with her and her family, and now everything else had taken precedence over Him.

Earlier this week God led me to repent of my possessive and controlling behaviors and my busyness which has kept me from sitting at His feet. 

Jesus, help me to be more like Mary, always willing to sit at your feet.

What details keep you from sitting at Jesus' feet?
What always seems to take priority over that quiet time with Him?
What can you say no to today so you can say yes to Christ?

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  1. Thank you for sharing so honestly! Similarly, I've often struggled with being flexible--I don't like having to change my plans! But God's been improving me in this area in the past year, as the wedding date has flexed again and again. : ) He's so faithful to continue the work He's begun in our lives.

  2. Mikaela, thank you for the comment! Yes, we can trust and rely on the fact that God is indeed faithful and will continue what He has begun in each of us. Hallelujah! :)