There exists a minuscule line between being conscientious and being controlling. We must remember what's our part and what's God's part.
"Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people." Colossians 3:23 (NLT)
I have a confession to make: I crave control. You know—as in I like to be in charge; the shot-caller; the boss.
I'm pretty sure I was born ready to be in charge. As a toddler, I lined my frilly dolls and any willing playmates or siblings up in a way that suited my preferences. In elementary school, I couldn't wait to be selected for special duties, like heading up a game or putting on a play.
Yes, from birth I instinctively ordered and organized anything within my reach—objects, circumstances, and later in life, even living, breathing human beings. I didn't need a boardroom to prove that I was a natural born boss.
In my defense (and the defense of my fellow control-craving friends), this is often a much-needed skill. Being able to multi-task, identify duties and delegate is beneficial on many fronts. Just glance at my partial to-do list for the week:
Prepare meals and snacks for the week
Make appointments for the eye doctor
Do a few loads of laundry
Haul kids back and forth to sports practice
Help kids with homework
Whew, I'm worn out just writing that!
But, it helps to see that we need to be able to juggle a lot: home, school, family, careers, and church duties. The problem lies with our failure to know where to draw the line; to differentiate between leading and bossing; to know the difference between taking charge and taking over.
Competency carried to an extreme can morph into control.
I've struggled to find a balance between taking charge and ultimately taking over for most of my life. Colossians 3:23 helps me remember that managing my life and to-do list is ultimately an act of worship and service to the Lord. In it we're told, "Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people." (NLT)
When I work willingly as though I'm working for the Lord, I set about my tasks and navigate my relationships with a humble heart and open hands. I willingly let go of my preferences and desire to be the one in control.
When I work willingly as though I'm working for the Lord, I focus more on caring about others' feelings than controlling their opinions and resulting actions.
When I work willingly as though I'm working for the Lord, I want to please Him, not myself.
I've discovered there exists a minuscule line between being conscientious and being controlling. What I have to constantly keep in mind is the difference between being conscientious (my part) and being in control (God's part).
I'll probably always have long to-do lists and lots of activities. It's just the nature of my personality. But I'm trying to remember each day that it is God who is ultimately in charge, not me.
It's not easy for this control-craving woman to let go and let God run the show. It takes emotional effort and intentional change of my ingrained habits. But I am learning to work diligently without being controlling.
This week as we set about our tasks, lets remember just who the boss is: God. We are on His time clock. May our thoughts, actions and reactions make our Boss proud and accurately reflect His character.
Dear Lord, may I purpose to learn the difference between being conscientious and being controlling. Help me remember You are God and I am not. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Think about your week ahead. What tasks must you perform? How can you go about tackling these in a way that is conscientious but not controlling?
Colossians 1:10 "... walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God." (ESV)