I’ll just say it at the beginning.
I like being in control of the day. I like managing and leading and directing. And honestly, it isn’t so much that I like it as that I’m pretty good at handling a lot of things at one time so those roles tend to fit my personality.
Multi-tasking is my favorite. Don’t give me a bunch of little details, but if you need someone to organize the grand picture of a project and manage how to get it all done? I’m your girl. I love working with people, finding strengths, building a team, and finishing tasks quickly and efficiently.
Thriving with lots to do while holding a big checked off list of accomplished things in a short amount of time, that is a great day. Smiling while digging into a large task that needs fixed, sorted and organized, that is another great day. Knowing that the next day is prepped for more great things… yep. That is great night.
The calendar, taking care of schedules, planning events, directing the details of the day are all things that contribute to my peace of mind. I am a person who would organize my dreams… if that was possible.
Now the itty bitty details? That is not me.
The spending great amounts of time on one task? being ok with getting very little done in a day? That is not me.
The idea of starting a project and knowing it will take weeks to finish… SO not me.
Those things frustrate me and cause untold stress because there is no check list to be checked and no list to throw away!
And guess what?
Unfortunately, that tends to be overseas life.
Overseas life can be slow, one task a day… and you might not even finish THAT task.
It is tiny details and paperwork and waiting and slow, slow, slow.
So, does that mean overseas living is not for me?
My natural self screams, “This is SO not for you! This is SO NOT you!”
Satan whispers, “You did nothing today. You can’t accomplish anything here. You won’t ever have a finished list. You won’t thrive going so slow.”
And even my own heart thoughts came boiling out one day before we left language school while on a run with my husband.
These thoughts had been churning inside of me. They were bright, flaring warning lights that let me know I was headed for trouble and about ready to slam into the end of me. Partly because France was a baby step into where we were headed… In France, I didn’t have my minivan to quickly zip in and out, finishing errands and organizing my day by where I had to go and what needed done. France was walking and long train rides and paperwork and needing my husband to go grocery shopping so he could help carry it all back to the apartment. Life was hard on this list making, organizing, get-it-done girl. The grocery stores are closed during peak shopping hours, of all things! How does a person get things done when the post office won’t open again until 2pm!
But the coming move from language school to West Africa, that had me frozen in doubt and seeing a huge wall in my path. Seriously… what annoyed, frustrated and stressed me in France was going to double, triple… it was going to change my life and my way of doing life.
My control was gone. And the wall called “loss of control” scared me to death.
So… we were on this run before leaving France and I broke. Completely broke. The warning lights were blaring through my mind telling me a crash with the wall was coming. The thoughts of transition and change and failure all stampeded across my brain in marked succession.
Who am I without my lists and my freedom and my ability to DO something, to control my day? How do you help your family, organize a schedule, and get things done when the days are so out of control?
I tripped on the sidewalk, bent over my knees, and tears flooded my eyes. I looked up at Jeremy, “I’m at the end of me. I’m at the end of what I can do. I don’t know how to do things in Africa. I can’t drive there. I can’t do things there. I don’t know how to cook there or shop there or do laundry there. I won’t be able to do anything. I’m at the end of me and I don’t know how to handle this feeling of complete incompetence. I feel lost and I don’t know how to do this.”
My sweet, perfectly made for me husband put his hand on my back and said, “We will learn.”
I cried harder, “I don’t know how to learn it there!”
And now that I’m here, in West Africa, life is pretty much as I figured it would be.
I really don’t know how to do anything here. I certainly can’t control much. Everything is actually OUT of my control. I can’t make sure a business will be open when I need to go there. I can’t make sure the workers will be at our new rental house getting the things done so we can move in. I can’t force the power to stay on or water to enter our reserve tank. I can’t even make a to do list because I don’t know what the conditions will be when I open my eyes in the morning.
I’m at the loss of me. The wall has been hit. The crash happened. But the beauty of that?
I’m meeting Jesus face to face.
I’m needing him every single hour of the day.
I’m seeing Him sweep in and meet a need without me having to control any bit of it.
I’m laying me down, another layer of my gifts at His feet knowing He has promised to make something beautiful out of my mess.
Have you been there?
That moment of complete loss of control, that place of realizing your gifts don’t really fit the task? Are there warning lights going off in your brain letting you know a crash of wills is coming, that the wall called “loss of control” is ahead of you?
I want to challenge you to hit the wall. To tell God all about it. To let Him carry the doubt, pain and stress for you. I want to challenge you to let Him orchestrate your days in the beautiful way that only He can do. Meet Him face to face, let Him sweep in and carry you through.