Lately things seem to have gotten a little out of control in my world. I realized just how much of my time and energy is spent doing things that other people want me to. At first this startling revelation was of great concern to me. Shouldn’t I be more in control of my schedule? Isn’t that what leaders and managers are supposed to be doing – keeping things in order and giving other people directives? On one level, I suppose it is true that leaders need to provide direction, but as I wrestled with God on this issue, He kept reminding me of the example of Christ. The ultimate leader, God among us, certainly was in control of his circumstances, but chose to surrender his time to the needs of others and His father’s will at every turn.
Jesus so often paid attention to the needs of other people that it annoyed his disciples on a regular basis. Whether he was paying too much attention to children or talking to tax collectors or feeding people with no visible resources, he was constantly changing the rules of the game and the schedule for the day. If you have a really flexible personality, this strategy would have been fine, but for type A people like Peter (and me) this would have been pretty challenging too deal with.
A regular part of my life each spring is attending the full schedule of baseball games that my boys play in. At times, I feel like a double-booked taxi driver trying to be sure that everyone gets where they need to be when they need to be. As a person who likes order, it is great to get their schedules ahead of time and plug these games into my already full calendar. Second only to my love of reading is my joy in watching my boys play sports. Unfortunately (for me), weather seems to play havoc with these schedules each year as games get rained out and rescheduled. You would think that after all these years, I would get used to it.
This weekend was typical of my life these days with two games getting rained out and chair set-up at church being rescheduled. As I was assessing my life in this state of “disorder”, I began to see how God must look at these same issues. PEOPLE ARE THE PRIORITY – not just a scheduling nightmare. Being flexible does not come naturally to me and choosing to surrender my schedule to the needs of others is something that I am only beginning to learn about.
The irony in all of this is that as an extrovert, I gain my energy and fulfillment from being with other people. As I looked back on my weekend, I realized how much I enjoyed the “surprise” opportunities to interact with people that I had not intended to. (At least not at that particular moment). My boys even thanked me for taking them to an impromptu batting practice where my pitching skills proved to be pretty rusty. Allowing God to take over my schedule (without my normal mumbling and complaining) has some pretty wonderful outcomes.
As I begin this week, I will be contemplating the question of what full surrender really looks like. I know that Jesus did not have a DayTimer and instead made time his servant. Peter and the rest of the disciples were not always so flexible and neither am I. Learning to prioritize according to God’s agenda will be a life long pursuit for me and one that I think will constantly stretch me and yet provide ultimate joy and contentment.