Wednesday, February 09, 2011
As hard as I would like to give up my obsession with being in control of my life it is one of the greatest challenges I face in living. I am so tempted to believe that I am the master of my destiny, the designer of my future, the architect of my journey. Someone once said that life is what happens while you are planning other things. There is a great deal of truth to that. We love to schedule stuff. Calendars, whatever app you may use, get full quickly as we hurry and scurry from one appointment, one power lunch, one game, one conference, one meeting to another. Just ask someone how they are doing. After they give you the obligatory “fine” it is usually followed by how busy they are. Full calendars have become the symbol of important and get things done kind of people. It just seems like it is always something, doesn’t it? We like to fool ourselves into believing that we are in control of it all. We are the captains of our own destiny. The reality is that planning is a part of how we live our lives. Planning and scheduling certainly figure into it all to some degree. But do we ever examine what it is we are planning and why? Or do we plan just so we can plan? What difference is really made from such obsession with wanting to control it all and to be in charge of our life?
When I was younger I was very ambitious. I couldn’t pastor the church I was serving for plotting and planning for the next one I thought I deserved. I was an on the go scheduling, planning fool. The meetings couldn’t start without me. If there was an issue going on I needed to be there to solve it and bring direction. Oftentimes at the expense of my family and anyone else that got in the way of my plans I was on my way to God knows where! And I couldn’t get there fast enough to suit me. Then while I was attending a meeting one day I received a phone call from my secretary saying that my father’s partner had just called the church looking for me and that he needed to talk with me ASAP! I hung up the phone and back to the office I went! I called my father’s partner only to learn that my dad had called in that morning to the office and had threatened to kill himself. That call and my father’s subsequent suicide later that afternoon changed my life forever!
In that one phone call I learned just how much control I really had and it wasn’t much. We all are affected everyday by events we could have never anticipated, planned, or ever seen coming in our lives. Life is just like that. Life is very unpredictable. As a result of my father’s suicide and other events that have touched my life I have come to realize that all we have in life is the present moment we live. Futures still happen and planning is a part of it all but never at the expense of this moment. Life isn’t really much about schedules, plans, and the future as much as it is about today! The only control I have in my life is how I handle and respond to this moment. When this moment is lived fully it seems that what follows next is pretty well taken care of as well. It is tough letting go of all the stuff. It is difficult at best not to allow our worry, anxiety, and desperation about the economy, retirement, insurance, climbing the corporate ladder, making enough, providing enough, to so fill our living that we never really live! I am going to let go of a little more and include some space for God, for silence, for play, for spontaneity, for family, for friends, for all of those things and people that are what life is really about. Come on we can do it. Let go and trust God!! We might all be surprised at what God is doing in this moment. After all in reality it is the only moment we have!
I will see you on the road,
"To continue the journey of seeking, serving, and sharing God's love."
Salado United Methodist Church