I am a creature of habit. I thrive when there’s a routine and a schedule in place. I like to plan ahead. And I really like to make lists. Especially when I can tick things off that have been accomplished. When I’m lacking all of that structure things tend to go downhill pretty quickly… I get lazy and emotional and out of sorts for no particular reason. Actually, there is a reason. It’s my sinful heart.
The truth of the matter is, often my “love” for routines, schedules, and lists is really just my way of idolizing control and efficiency.
Oh man, typing it out in black and white makes it sound so ugly, doesn’t it? Probably because it is really ugly. What makes me think that if I can “control” my schedule and make sure that when I run errands I’m not backtracking and am getting as much done as I possibly can in one afternoon, that I’m winning at life? That the Lord is somehow more pleased with me? It doesn’t make any logical sense, but it’s where my heart often goes.
The echoes of original sin ring loudly in my ears as I consider the idols of control and efficiency. Didn’t the original Eve want to do things her own way? She wanted to control the situation – to know all that God did. She didn’t trust Him to do good on His own. She wanted to skip the walking with God in the cool of the day to learn about Him and, for the sake of efficiency, just eat the fruit that would give her what she wanted.
So, where do I find myself right now? In major transition. One where new habits and routines and schedules are forming as Cody and I integrate our life into the life of my dear friend, Meredith and her three little girls. Meredith lost her husband Tony on the first day of March and the Lord has worked out all kinds of logistics to make it possible for Cody and I to move into her house to help in this season of grief and transition for their family. (She wrote more about all the Lord has done in a recent blog post.) I’m sitting at the dining room table that Tony built for Meredith soon after they got married.
As I learn bedtime routines for one toddler and twin babies and wrangle our dog Reggie around all this newness, I am learning to let go of control in order to embrace spontaneity. To sacrifice efficiency for extra snuggles or another episode of Daniel Tiger in the morning. And guess what?
It’s kind of glorious.
Sure, I still have a running list of things to do and I still crave a settled routine (we’re getting there!) but I can feel my fingers uncurl just a little bit. Instead of grasping those familiar idols tightly in a season of transition, I’m easing up. And even if it’s just a little bit, I’m celebrating God’s power and goodness to me in it.
And when I need a reminder that God is the only One who is in control and that He is the One who will help me uncurl those fingers, I come back to Romans 8.
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called he also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified.” Romans 8:26-30
Where are you, friend? Are you checking off a long to-do list? Scheduling your life to the minute? Hoping that control will give you the peace you’re craving?
What idols do you need to lay down?