I’ve been struggling with an issue lately. Thank you to all the friends who have heard me out, encouraged me, prayed with me, supported me, sometimes more than once. Because when I say struggle, I mean STRUGGLE. There are days when I feel like I can’t get beyond it. I’ve experienced the gamut of emotions, everything from tears to anger, and no matter what emotion I’m experiencing because of it, the thing that I feel the most is helplessness. Like I can’t do anything to control the outcome, no matter how hard I try.
If you know me, you know that helplessness doesn’t settle well.
After the wave of emotions hits, I find myself facing only one answer. I’ve sliced the problem every way possible, dissecting it from every angle, over and over again, and constantly come up dry, with the exception of one little resolution: DO NOTHING.
Doing nothing, to me, equates to the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard. I’m an action kind of girl. Let’s get this show on the road. Time to get the party started. Quit standing around talking about it, and just go do it.
Doing nothing raises my blood pressure.
The verse that kept coming to mind that supported this instinct was Exodus 14:14 : “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Little ol’ me, determined to find a way around this “do nothing” position, decided to look the verse up to learn what context it was in. The verse is found within the story of the Israelites escaping slavery in Egypt. The Egyptians had decided they didn’t want the Israelites to leave after all, and were hot on their trail. Naturally, the Israelites kind of started freaking out when they saw 600 Egyptians coming after them. I can only imagine the chaos in the camp.
The verse right after verse 14 surprised me: Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.
MOVE ON. Like the Lord was getting a little bit irritated with the Israelites. Just MOVE ON, already. Get the show on the road.
It’s a little bit contradictory, right? Be still, but get a move on it?
I’m no theologian, but it sounds like God was saying, Settle down. I’ve got this. I need you to follow my instructions, and let me handle the rest.
In relation to my little struggle, it makes me take a step back and ask, “OK, then. What are my instructions?”
The answer to that question is probably worthy of another blog post entirely, but to keep it simple: my instructions are to obey, to trust, to steward that which I’ve been blessed with. To daily manage my relationships and responsibilities with the grace provided to me. To do the best I can, and to learn and grow, and run the race set before me. To be transformed by the renewing of my mind.
As I started to break this down in my head, I realized I needed a worksheet. (Lucky you–see where this is going?)
Here’s the deal: the fight is not mine. The struggle is not mine. As I tried to talk to David about it (again) this evening on the way to the grocery store, he looked at me and said: “Why are you fighting this? He’s got it covered.”
Okay, okay. Message received!
The urge to fight, to solve the struggle, is a very human reaction, but it’s also a waste of time, energy, and resources. The fight distracts us from our instructions, for lack of a better description. The struggle, if we let it, can get us off course.
So, if you feel like you are fighting something, and you feel like you might be off course, print off this handy little worksheet and use the instructions below. You can click here to download the PDF version.
One column is for RESOURCES: tools that you’ve been blessed with. This might be an inventory of strengths, or maybe connections, or physical goods. At any rate, resources are things that, with a little bit of energy, can be turned into something more.
The second column is for RESPONSIBILITIES: things you have to do. Be a good mom, be a good wife, take care of a home, take care of customers. This column is for tasks: things you said you’d do, and things you need to follow through on. Keep it broad. This isn’t a to-do list. It’s more about the role you play in the lives around you.
After summarizing your resources and responsibilities, make a list of 10-12 action items that need to be tended to. For example, if one of your resources is the strength of organization, and one of your responsibilities is to maintain a home in working order, maybe you go organize the pantry. Keep it simple.
Now, every time you feel struggle coming on, and you feel like you want to fight, you have a set of instructions to follow. Don’t fight: tend to the action items on the list.
The fight isn’t yours.
The fight isn’t mine.
Start where you are, use what you’ve got, do what you can.
In other words, BE STILL.