This post may be more of a confession than a hard-skill management training post. First off, I’d like to officially introduce myself to you – “Hi, I’m Natasha and I”m a control-freak. It has been 10 seconds since I last tried to control something (ok, maybe 2 seconds)”.
For as long as I can remember I have spent been they type of person to obsess over the little details of everything I do. No stone goes unturned, nothing is ever left to chance. If I can control the variables in my life, I will. Because I am the oldest of six kids, I was born into the role of needing to be responsible and learned easily how to take-charge of my circumstances. I hate surprises and spontaneity, usually expect the worst and loathe wasting time. Being a working mom of three young kids, my life runs on a schedule where literally every 30 minutes is planned out in advance – not a lot of margin for error.
Although this strategy works in my favor in such that I am incredibly productive, I had an experience yesterday that showed me how this approach to my life may actually be compromising my ability to achieve great results in all areas of my life. Let me paint you the picture…
A few days ago a notice came home from my son’s school saying that one of the school nurses has detected advanced tooth decay on his molars. Immediately my mind jumped to the question of how much fixing my son’s teeth is going to cost and the drama that goes along with taking a five year old to the dentist. The next day, my three year old daughter woke up and let me know that her tooth was hurting and refused to eat because of the pain. Double sigh. To top it off, my six year old had had a filling done months ago that had since fallen out and needed to be replaced. My mind was flooded with dollar signs. (Three kids) x (only partial insurance coverage) = huge bills. I was definitely stressing out.
As dentist-day loomed ahead I started losing sleep. How was I going to manage three screaming kids getting their teeth checked and how was I going to manage what I visualized would be millions of dollars worth of dental work (ok – I was blowing this way out of proportion but I’m sure you can relate.) As a last resort an hour before the appointment,I texted a few friends and jokingly asked them to pray for a supernatural anointing of peace for all of us as we underwent this ordeal.
First up was my five year old son Luke. As I settled into the dentist chair with him on my lap, I braced myself for the worst as the dental assitant began taking x-rays and cleaning his teeth. Luke calmly watched TV and followed directions like a champ. Twenty minute later he was picking out his goody-bag and playing with the toys in the waiting area.
Next up was my six year old Aidan. Having been to the dentist before, he was noticeably nervous but put on a brave face. I watched him squirm as they replaced the filling but he was tough and twenty minutes later he was in the waiting room.
Last up was my three year old Kalenna. She was the one I was most nervous about. Being that she is only three I totally expected that she would be hard to manage as the dental team repeatedly put strange instruments into her mouth. When she lay there without even flinching when they froze her mouth and extracted a tooth I was needless to say totally blown away. The dentist admitted to me that she had never seen a three year old be so calm and wished she had a wall of fame to put Kalenna’s picture on for “best patient”.
In a haze we walked out of there with a clean bill of health and no new financial bills. I had no idea what had just happened. No one was crying. No one was stressed. Everyone was talking about the cool stuff they had gotten in their goody-bags and asking “please mommy can we get an ice cream?” I felt like I was in a dream – this is absolutely not what I had expected. There was only one explanation – God had shown up and worked a miracle in this situation. In my opinion, there was absolutely no other explanation.
As we sat there in McDonalds eating ice cream, I sensed that God was asking me to start allowing Him to have a bigger role in my life. I felt like I was being reminded that it is ok to ask for miracles and to not limit myself to opportunities that only lie within my “perfectly” laid-out plan. How much more could be accomplished if I made some space for the great things that He wanted to bring me but because I was micro-managing, I wasn’t even open to the possibility of an unscheduled “great” when I was so focused on keeping things running “good”. It was a total wake-up call. In my desire to be on top of things at all times, I sensed that I was sabotaging my own success because I was trying to do everything on my own and was refusing to ask for any spiritual help.
I was reminded of a quote I love. When we bring our “natural” to God’s “super”, that’s when we get “super-natural” results . How long had it been since I had sincerely, humbly asked God to help me through something I was worried about? I didn’t even know. I was always so busy trying to control everything in my own power while God sat on the bench waiting to be called into the game. God can’t do anything if we keep trying to fight Him off at every turn because we’re so afraid to let go of control . How much had I missed out on because the MVP of my team hadn’t even been given a chance to play? I felt a wave of regret yet instantly felt a new sense of optimism about a future covered in God’s grace and anointing. Things would change, starting now.
As an ED can you relate to this? We wear ourselves out working and planning and organizing and forget to ask for God’s help (or at least I do). We dedicate our lives to serving Him yet totally forget to invite him to the party. It’s a crazy cycle.
I want to hear from you: How do you stay focused on doing “your part” while giving God lots of space to do His part?