I’m sitting in a drive-through line pondering a situation I can’t seem to control. My husband and I are in snowy Colorado coming home from a trip with family. We’re catching a flight in the morning, which means staying at a hotel tonight and fast food is the only nearby option. In a quest for comfort, I order the same meal I did as a kid — filet-o-fish and hot fudge sundae (don’t judge).
Our time here has felt magical — skiing, sledding, making snickerdoodles, cozying up under warm blankets. But I’ve been vaguely distracted by a situation back home. “I can’t figure out how to resolve it,” I tell my husband when he asks what I’m thinking. I’ve fixated on this particular problem for months, looked at it from every angle, broken it apart and put it back together. But I can’t find peace.
Now, even on vacation, there’s no rest inside my mind. I feel weary, so tired of worrying, exhausted from carrying the weight of what I can’t seem to make right. I pause and pray these words:
God, give me the wisdom to know what work is mine to do today. I release everything and everyone else to You. Amen.
I feel a shift within my soul as soon as I finish. I realize I thought I wanted a solution but what I really needed was to surrender. Stop fighting what I can’t change. Start focusing on my own life instead of what I can’t fix. Release responsibility for other people and return to what God has asked of me.
I was doing work that wasn’t mine.
Work that isn’t ours:
– Trying to be responsible for everything and everyone
– Telling ourselves something is our fault when it’s the result of a broken world or someone else’s choices
– Carrying more than our share of the emotional weight in a relationship
– Forcing an outcome rather than taking the next small step of obedience
Work that is ours includes taking responsibility for our thoughts, words, feelings, actions, desires, and needs. It involves taking care of our hearts, souls, minds, and bodies. It means we “run with endurance the race God has set before us… keeping our eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
The funny thing? The second I said “amen” the person I’d been struggling with sent me a text message. I’d been holding on so tight and when I finally let go, it seemed to unlock something in a way beyond what my human mind is able to comprehend.
Of course, I still want to try to take control again. The situation isn’t fully resolved and I want to put a nice checkmark next to it. I want to clean it up, put it in a category, make it neat and tidy. I don’t want to deal with the mess, the uncertainty, my absolute inability to cause things to turn out the way I want.
I’ve had to pray the same little prayer I did that night in the drive-through over and over again. I’ve said it at least five times this morning and it’s only 9 a.m.. I might say it a hundred times before I go to sleep tonight.
After I say “amen” I ask, “What is my work to do right now?” Then I clean up the kitchen, hug my husband, walk a few steps, or pull out my laptop and type words that will remind me of what is true, and hopefully do the same for you.
(Confession: I don’t always want to do this. Sometimes I’d much rather whine, pout, and try to take charge again. Sometimes that’s exactly what I do. And that’s okay. Surrender is often a process, not an event.)
If you’re worn out from trying to control something or someone, I’m inviting you to say this prayer and ask this question with me too.
Today let’s do our work, and let God do His.