For Christmas, we all chipped in and got Aunt Noanie a rocking chair and ottoman. The men went to work putting the chair together, even though Luke said he wouldn’t help if it required an Allen wrench, and it did. (He was all talk.) While they worked, I took the chair padding out of the wrappers. When the guys finished, they said, “Okay, your turn.”
The first padding to go on was an arm wrap that had to be snapped onto the chair base and then around the arm of the chair. Except I could not get those snaps snapped.
“Here, I can help,” said Matt. Oh no, he did not just say that to me.
Cue raging, inner strong-willed child, because I have one of those. Angry eyebrows. “I can do it myself!” facial expression. See me get ready to snap those snaps or die trying. (Strong-willed children would gladly die trying; it seems much more palatable to us than to get help.) And yes, I snapped those little suckers. Ha. Double ha.
Then there is decision-making, and I find myself not having all of the know-how and skill and power to make decisions that will turn out exactamente (Spanish) like I want them to. In James 4:14, we read about making plans, and James says:
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. (NIV)
“Don’t tell me I don’t know what will happen tomorrow!” screams my inner strong-willed child. It took me a long time to figure out that I was having this response, because on the outside of my brain I was “trusting the Lord.” I thought I was trusting him. But over a year of making big decisions, God kindly revealed to me that way down deep, in the core of my mind, I was working through decisions on my own power. Because I can do it myself!
So he’s brought me back to that little sentence that tells me I don’t even know what will happen tomorrow.
I don’t even know. Anything really.
I had to throw a bucket of water on my strong-willed child and watch her shrivel and die, just like the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz. “I’m melting!” And I started meditating on James 4:14 every time a decision came to mind. I don’t even know. I don’t even know. I don’t even know. Obvious conclusion: When making a decision, I would have to have help from someone infinitely greater than myself.
Death to self feels like…dying.
But on the other side of dying? Peace –an indescribable peace.
You guys have got to try this. When you have a decision to make, look to the Lord and say, “I don’t know anything about tomorrow.” This is worship at its best. It allows the Lord to roll up his sleeves and show who he is.
Matt and I always pray together before we go to sleep. As we were making big decisions last year, we started saying, “Lord, you know we don’t know anything.” Then we would both laugh out loud. Who do you know who goes into decisions loudly declaring their ineptitude? It feels weird, but I’m pretty sure that God’s Kingdom way of doing things is always going to feel weird to us.
Are you in the middle of making a decision right now? Ask the kind Father if he will reveal any strong-willed independence lurking in your heart. Confess with your mouth that he is Lord and that you’re going to need his help with tomorrow. I think you’ll sleep better.