I skipped the final session and snuck away for a walk around the complex and some alone time. Though anxious thoughts riddled me for days before this retreat, it was almost time to go home and I hadn’t yet experienced the solitude I craved. It’s been a difficult ten months, one filled with changes, stress, and loss. I’d been battling depression, sleeping too much, and wondering if God had forgotten about me.
Sure, I know the Sunday School answer. God never forgets.
But, sometimes, we just want a reminder. We want to hear his voice. Writing on the wall? Even better.
As I walk I try to discipline my thoughts. I waffle between praying for burdens and thinking about lunch. As I pass a large group of women, they ask me to stop and take their picture. I joke with them that I’ll angle the camera down, not up. No woman wants her picture taken from below.
I stare up at the clouds and then down at each cactus I trek by. They fascinate me. I determine to grow one somewhere when I get home. Stop getting so distracted, Heather!
Finally, I ask the question–the one that’s been a weighted blanket on my heart.
“God, do you want me to stop? Are we finished here? Is this the end of this chapter of life?”
The word patience comes to mind. I’m sure this is part of his answer. Waiting isn’t my spiritual gift.
Then he speaks another word to my heart. This one less expected. The word: Micromanage.
I spent a decade managing people and projects before I gave birth to my own people and my projects included making then dinner and keeping their drawers stocked with the right sizes.
A gifting and skills test I took once came out, “Natural Born Manager.” I love making things happen. Tell me what you want done, and I’ll figure out a plan. I’ll organize the people, stick to the budget, and outline details Expect a completed project that exceeds expectations on your desk by your given deadline.
But, micromanage? No, I tried not to do that. No one enjoys being micromanaged. We value freedom, results-based performance evaluations. Having someone breathe down your neck, involved in your every daily decision? Yikes. No, thank you.
I sit with this word a few minutes longer. Micromanage? God, what could you possibly mean by that?
Then suddenly it’s clear. I’ve been leaving God out of too many, in my opinion, smaller decisions.
Have I again treated God like a boss, asking my Lord, “Just tell me what you want the big picture of my life to look like, and I’ll get us there!”?
Yes. Yes, I have.
My face, now flush from the trek up hill, felt hot, but the truth seared my conscience. I don’t surrender enough of the small decisions to him. I fail to ask him for direction every day. Unless there’s a problem, I assume God prefers to be a hands off manager.
Though it seems crazy to write it, I guess I thought I’d just show up in heaven with the finished project of my life and ask him for his feedback.
Hmm. . .
Micromanagement = Freedom
It’s only been a few days since he spoke those words to my heart, but I know they changed me. This daily pressure to “make it happen” is removed. So far, I’m better able to trust God’s timing because he’s got a much better project plan than I do.
As I let him micromanage, I find freedom. It’s another one of those upside down kingdom things–you know, something that works in God’s economy and no one else’s. . .
I think of how this applies to every area of my life. What would it be like to ask God daily about my food or activity choices. Should I watch this, God? Should I eat Cheetos and ice cream for lunch or would protein be a better choice? Does spending 45 minutes on Facebook honor you with my time?
I’m not saying I’ve mastered this. But, I wonder how different my life would be if I could.
What would it look like to ask God to remind me of his plans for me, each time I’m tempted to compare myself to someone else? How would my life be different if I turned to him for rescue each time I’m tempted with a negative body image thought?
Listening for his direction in the mini-details of my life is something I must get better at. For now, I’m trying to spend 15 minutes a day just listening–asking what he’d have me to do that day and allowing Him to be part of my list-making.
What do you think? Could God want to micromanage your life, too? What would it be like to allow him to do this?