Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ducks in a Row

The common theme or motto of my life the last few weeks, maybe months, has been:

"I just need my ducks in a row!"
 "When I get all of my ducks in a row..."
"After I get my ducks in a row...." 
(To get one's ducks in a row essentially means to ensure all of the small details or elements are accounted for and in their proper positions before embarking on a new project.) Yep, that's been me.

I don't know what it is with ducks, but when I think about all of the things (petty mostly) going on in my life, and trying to juggle, sort, organize, plan for, be responsible in getting ____ done, hitting this mark, making this goal, accomplishing this, finishing that, blaaaaa, blaaaa,'s ducks that come to mind.

At connection group tonight, we were challenged to think about and sum up (then share) this past semester, and the goals for the summer ahead- what it all looked like. As I sat and pondered, I came to the conclusion that the last semester could be summed up with the word "Serious".

As in, there have been so many points of 'change' that have come about that everything has gotten more serious in my life. My semester in school this year has changed to more of a serious outlook in preparing to graduate and get into the core of my attitude and health at the gym has become more serious to where I get my lazy tush there at least five days a week, my relationship with Jesus and laying down my life for His will has become more serious, my relationship with Beau and talk about our future has become more serious, my relationship with my sisters-in-Christ whom I've become close to since being back in central Iowa have become more serious, my outlook on finances, you name it.

In response to all of these seasons of change and growth, I have become so full of anxiety, desires of control, lack of self-control, worry, etc. It's because I've taken on this attitude of, "Okay, here's what I got on my plate, here's my 'To Do list', let's do what I gotta do to get these things under control". I want all my ducks in order for each and every situation. I want to be debt free as soon as possible, I want to graduate at this time, with this GPA, and get a job within this time frame, I want to be prepared for Malawi, Africa, I want to have perfect unity within the team, I want to be the perfect best friend/sister/girlfriend/daughter/student/leader, I want to have 'x' amount of $ so that I can give here and here and here, and bless so-and-so, to weigh this much and wear this size of pants, be energized and joyful all the can fill in about any sort of blank you want.

Although my intentions are "good", and that all seems really peachy-keen, or whatever, I'm doing it all with SUCH a wrong heart. When in reality, when I'm trying to do it all, to be in the driver's seat, to be the "duck master". I came across this INCREDIBLE blurp in dealing with this. KEEP READING. (this is a lengthy post, I know)

 God is telling us that one of the most important weapons - one of the greatest benefits - He has given us to resist Satan’s attacks upon our joy and peace and intimacy with God is to stop trying to solve every problem that comes our way in OUR OWN STRENGTH; BY OUR OWN POWER; BY OUR OWN MEANS.  

Give it to God instead!  Give HIM our burden!  Include Him in it, for deliverance if necessary ... for provision if necessary ... for whatever wisdom might dictate in the situation.

I mean … think about it.  If He didn’t want us giving Him our troubles – giving Him our adverse cares – why would He tells us to do so in the first place?  He tells us so we’ll be wise enough to do it!

Do you know why so many Christians have such a difficult time giving their cares to God – casting them upon Him?  Because of pride.  Out of pride comes an attitude of self-sufficiency.  Out of self-sufficiency comes the inward reminder that if I can solve all my own problems, I get the glory for it.  Getting the glory for it fuels my fleshly ego. Think it is any “coincidence” that the Holy Spirit tells us in 1 Peter 5:6 “to humble ourselves?”  I think not.
Yet because we’ve had to handle most of our own problems since our life began, we can be blinded to the truth that: YES – Not only can we cast ALL our cares upon Jesus – He is imparting wisdom to us and directly telling us that it is wise to do so - so we don’t give Satan any more of a foothold than necessary into our situations.

People are becoming stressed more and more.  Rush rush – hurry hurry – worry worry.  Satan loves stress upon Christians because it is a door he gets to walk through if we aren’t alert to it.  Much of the stress we take upon ourselves is more than what need be … simply because we aren’t DOING what God tells us to do when stress seeks to descend upon us.  Just to reinforce the point: God wants us to give Him our burdens.  He wants us giving Him our troubles – our worries – our fears - our concerns -- every thing that has the potential to rob us of our peace and joy and excitement and trust in God.  

Some Christians struggle with being able to give God their cares because they have believed the devil’s lie that God expects us to solve most of our problems ourselves … not “using God as some crutch.” 

WOAH....I'm really only driving myself into this bottomless hole....I'm really only going to end up with ducks like this: 

In complete disarray, or even worse....
......a bunch of ducks, that won't EVER be in any such line at all. 
Sorry, that's kind of gruesome, but also a pretty accurate picture of where my To Do list will end up if I keep the attitude up that I have of wanting to be in control. Because really, God wants me to give Him every single one of those things on my list, all my anxieties, all my cares- big or small, all my plans, all my desires, and let HIM work with them. TO LET GO, AND LET GOD. LET HIM DO IT, put my trust in Him, my faith in Him, because He ISN'T done with me yet, He has HUGE things in mind for me if I listen, seek, follow, and surrender. From a test during finals week, to funds for a wedding or adoption some day. Who AM I, to tell God to "Hold on", while I get my ducks in a row? When really I should be one of HIS ducks, listening to HIM, and trusting He will get me across the street, the little ponds, or the raging rivers- in perfect peace if I let Him. So I'm thinking I like THIS illustration better than my original idea and attitude above....
You can have it God, tell me what to do, where to go, how to go about it.......

Annnnnd my personal fave, the idea of "puttin my shades on, and playin it cool", because God's got this one, He had the last one, and He's got the next one....and GUESS WHAT? He hasn't failed me yet! :)

That was a lot of ducks huh? Well rest in Him and be encouraged with this today:
1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Psalm 55:22 Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
Psalm 37:5-6 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

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