When the extension lead burnt out this morning so did something inside me.
Within five minutes I knew that the world could be made right again as long as I made sure that the water boiler for the tea wasn’t plugged into the same socket as the sound system next time, as long as I told each person how to hold the microphone correctly so that it wouldn’t make funny noises again, as long as I made sure that the contrast between the font and the background on the PowerPoint was high enough to read on the little projector screen, as long as each person knew exactly what to do and when, and we finished when we said we would, and nobody interrupted at any point to share some love or encouragement for the long, weary hours between now and next week.
“When everything lives up to my expectations all will be right with the world again”, I reasoned. (or at least right with my little part of the world)
More like: “Maybe if I keep everyone else right and everything ticking over, no one else will notice how badly I’m failing at everything else”.
It’s exhausting trying to hold everything together.
It’s also not my job.
“For everything… got started in [Jesus] and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment.”
God’s been holding it all together since before there was anything to hold. And He hasn’t particularly benefited from my efforts to help Him.
While we sang praises to God this morning I moved through the motions of modelling “good worship” to inspire the people around me to connect with God.
It didn’t work.
I knelt down with my face on the wooden gym floor and told God how to fix the world. That didn’t work either so I just gave up and gave out to Him for a while. I hope no one saw my defeat and thought I was being super spiritual.
Funny how it isn’t until I let go of trying to hold it all together that I see Him working it all together for good.
It isn’t until I let go of it altogether to cling to Him that I see that He’s been holding it all together the whole time.
When I got sick of self-pity He reminded me: I only fail when I quit.
Failure means I’m still trying.
Failure means that I’m still alive inside, that some part of me desperately wants everything to work out.
The crown is not for the one who does it all perfectly but for the one who perseveres ’til the end*.
“In all these things [trouble, hardship, external pressures, internal pressures] we are more than conquerors” not through trying to hold it all together but “through Him who loved us” and continues to love us no matter what.
It’s not doing nothing. It’s working with the One who loves us; not working for or without Him.
Forget chocolate and sugar and coffee. This lenten season I think I’ll give up trying to hold everything together and rest in the sweet surrender of letting God do the heavy lifting.
*James 1:12, 1 Peter 5:4, Revelation 2:10 & 3:11