As an adult the struggle is real with my own task list. Non-preferred activities are always more challenging because they just aren't where I'd like to be spending my time. This is where character and integrity need to be ramped up if we are to be strong witnesses. I can look at any assignment in one of two ways: I'm doing it for another person or I'm doing it for God. Only one of those will I answer to and only one of those is right audience.
Where it gets tricky is in the expectation I put on the outcome.
Earlier today I listened to an incredible facebook live from Michelle Myers titled The End of And. Listening, I realized that so many of the things I do are because I've been assigned them (being a wife to my husband, a mother to my children, a caretaker of our home, etc.), but in my assignment, I expect a result. I clean so that our home is both welcoming and relaxing AND I want to hear compliments about it. I support my husband in his career and efforts in running AND I want him to tell others how supportive I am. I help our kids in whatever they need me to assist them with because it is my joy to do it AND I want them to tell their friends what a great mom I am. Pretty selfish, huh?
So now I am faced with answering is if I am willing to do things without the AND. I wish the three examples I gave were the only ones that I have to apply this question to, but of course that's not the case. There's way more.
Regardless of what we put our hands, hearts, and minds to doing, the fact is the results are always up to God. He's the one that determines the impact, or ripple effect, of what we do. And if I give it all I've got and my results aren't what I was expecting based on my effort, then what I'm essentially saying is that I am not satisfied with what God has chosen to provide. Maybe it's just me, but that seems like a pretty dangerous road to walk down.
Michelle has said many times that we are to measure our success in anything by our level of obedience, regardless of what the outcome looks like. That right there should be an end to the AND struggle. But we are human and we tend to have the flesh covered mentality that expects a proportionate return on our investment. But our idea of the proportionate return completely negates the way God works. His M.O. is always to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. #LoavesAndFishes So, do I really want my return or would I prefer His?
Sadly, all of this boils down to issues of trust and idolatry. Do I trust God enough to believe that what He's given me is exactly what I need, and am I willing to surrender to the knowledge that He knows better because He sees more, and therefore submit to His plans rather than manipulate every variable I can get my hands on?
As I wrestle with all the things I need to relinquish control of, I can't help but compare this to when I met my husband. Just prior to meeting at work, I swore I was done dating. Too many frogs in too short a period of time. Once I quit trying to find the perfect guy and control every factor that would influence that opportunity, God brought him into my life. And he is definitely way more than I would have asked for or imagined.
Ann Voskamp wrote, "I can't fill with joy until I learn how to trust," and then questioned, "What is saving belief if it isn't the radical dare to wholly trust?" If I trust God to bring me to eternal life with Him in heaven, why is it so hard for me to trust Him with results of whatever He calls me to do? Why do I feel a constant need to micromanage everything?
These are tough questions to answer. And maybe something about this is opening your eyes to see where a lack of trust in your life is exposing a gap in your faith. But the good news is that even as we struggle, He remains faithful and nothing can separate us from His love....even our doubts. So maybe instead of pretending we have it all together, we can go to Him honestly in surrender and admit where we are struggling to maintain the control we don't really have anyway. And if the great cloud of witnesses is any indication to what might come from that, I think it's safe to say we'll be plesased with the results He chooses to provide.