It’s Not Up to You
Guest post by Staci Stallings
The ego in us tells us that we have to do it—whatever “it” happens to be. It may be working or finding work, or studying or practicing, or learning an instrument or learning anything. “It” could be a lot of things, but the biggest lie in this life is that “it” is up to us to do.
The book Grace Rules, by Steve McVey, leads with an interesting scenario of Jesus waking up in the morning and deciding what He was going to do for God today. In the story, Jesus decides that it would be a good thing to do a few miracles because that would get some attention, and casting out some demons might also be a good attention getter. The essence of what Mr. McVey was trying to say is that if we look to Jesus for our example, then our “planning” our day is completely ridiculous.
After reading Mr. McVey’s first book, Grace Walk, I realized I’d been doing exactly that. I had yellow notebooks filled with to-do lists: always the same thing with only a few variations. Pay bills, write article, work on website, work on book, etc. Over and over until you would’ve thought I had it memorized. There were also things on those lists that I didn’t get to, things that had never been crossed out.
Now I understood why I was always so frustrated!
If I put ten things on the list in the morning, inevitably by two, there were five more things to add. By the time I quit at six, I had added another six or eight. Instead of getting all of the things I had written down at the first of the day done, now I had 14 more things to do.
It was like I was on a squirrel wheel going round and round and round. Sure I had good intentions of doing what I was doing for God. I even put things in His hands when they seemed overwhelming, but it never occurred to me to put the whole day in His hands and let Him decide what we were going to do.
The first day I did that was the most empowering day of my life. For years I had worked to position myself as someone who could help other authors with marketing. It never worked. It was as if no one else cared about marketing, which of course is completely ridiculous, but that’s the way it felt.
Then that day, I let go and let God. In the course of about five hours suddenly people were asking my opinion on these matters from so many different directions I could hardly keep up, but of course, I didn’t have to. During that day my email program totally shut down twice. Most days I would’ve been freaking out. That day, I said, “Okay, God, then what am I supposed to do?”
Instantly a thought would come to me. That day—in one day—I helped four different people with their marketing, replied to every email that came my way, exercised, vacuumed my kitchen, sent in my tax information, wrote letters and got them mailed, played with my kids in the backyard, sent my newsletter out, read for 30 minutes, listened to a tape, took my kids to school, went and picked them up from school… It was as if I would think of it, and it would do itself.
And the cool thing is, it continues to be that way. I’ve been “redirected” many times. In fact this article is a redirect because what I was going to work on, I couldn’t find. So let God decide your “it,” and let Him decide when and how that will look. In short, realize it’s not up to you. Instead let Him do the “its” He has planned for your life through you today. You will be amazed.
(© 2005, Staci Stallings)
A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading. Although she lives in Amarillo, Texas and her main career right now is her family, Staci touches the lives of people across the globe every week with her various Internet endeavors including:
Books In Print, Kindle, & FREE on Spirit Light Works.
Come on over for a visit…
You’ll feel better for the experience!
I admit…I am a list lover. Without my list, I’d probably veg all day. Sad, but true. On the other hand, if something doesn’t get done, I’m OK with that. If one of my kids wants to talk about something important or “nothing in particular”, I set aside what I’m doing – most times, anyway. (One day they’ll move out, and I’ll miss them desperately.) And if something comes along that wasn’t even on the radar, I figure there’s a reason.
Thanks again for the insight and challenge, Janet – and Staci.
Oh, Stephanie, I’m a list person too. Both because making lists is inherently fun to me (not sure what that says!) and because I otherwise get distracted and miss important things like paying bills 🙁
But as a list-maker I can be guilty of then insisting the day follows my “game plan” and that’s the beauty of what I take from Staci’s advice here. I need to pray before I make the day’s list, and then remember it’s a tentative list that God has the right to interrupt. That relieves a lot of my stress, and I’ve noticed when I flow this way that everything needful still seems to get done.
Sounds to me like your lists are working for you and not against you! That’s my aim too.
Staci, thanks for stopping by with a guest post, and for challenging us to keep open to God’s plans instead of fighting for our own.
I call my lists and calendar my “external brain” and they keep me from forgetting things I shouldn’t forget. But I sure need to rely on God to direct what goes on the list, and to cooperate when He redirects my days!
I hope it’s OK. I linked to this post on today’s free2soar.
Okay?! I’m honored, Stephanie! Have a blessed day!
Thank you…and bless you.
Janet, I still make lists, but they are general and pretty much suggestions for my day or week. That way if I get “stuck” or something snags my time and I can’t think what to do next, I look at the list, and God shows me through the list what to do next. OR.. He tells me something completely different.
But I’ve learned to put my heart and my hope in Him rather than me and my lists!
That sounds like what I’m trying to do too. Definitely let’s keep our sights on God’s lead instead of our own! My biggest messes can be attributed to insisting on my own way.
Ain’t it the truth about our “biggest messes”?
My motto is: God’s way works. Mine doesn’t. If I can just remember THAT, everything else (even the really tough stuff) gets much easier!
Amen to that!
Excellent! I love this. The Master Scheduler knows, doesn’t He, how to stretch our time with the least amount of striving on our part. Thank you for this reminder.
“The Master Scheduler” — great way to put it, Rhonda! That takes some of the stress off, right there. Thanks for stopping by.
You know, now that you mention it, I have actually seen God “stretch time” for me. I was late to something or whatever that I had say taken a call from a friend… And on the way to the place, I knew I was late, and I kept praying, “Lord, please, just stretch time. Please…” When I got there the meeting hadn’t started because the main person was late! Bet they were wondering why! 😉 It works when you’re on God’s time, but it doesn’t if you’re on your own.
God truly IS the Master Scheduler!