So here we are at the next chapter of “Traveling Light” by Max Lucado. Just traveling along with him as he writes his book and then reflecting how it impacts the grieving process of a single mother just trying to make it to the next level.
I’ll Do It My Way – The Burden of Self-Reliance
Well just the title alone speaks volumes for someone like me. Raised without a father, a mother who worked her butt off to keep her family together and at the age of 7 taking the responsibility of helping to raise my 5 younger brothers. So I learned self-reliance very early in my life.
So often during my younger years I was told by my mother – don’t do it that way or you’ll regret it. But oh no I had to do it my way – and so often she was right. But I was stubborn and wanted to do things my way. No matter what. Oh to only be able to take those days back and have a do over. I should have listened more. Because you know what – mammas – they are always right. Perhaps their message may be outdated – but the core message is the same. What happened twenty years ago still happens today – just a different medium.
Lucado mentions a quiz in this chapter to see how one might measure their self-reliance. So I decided to take this quiz and the results are as follows:
You can control your moods: You are always upbeat, never grumpy or sullen. Does this describe you? – NO
You are at peace with everyone: Every relationship is sweet as fudge. Love all and loved by all. Is that you? MAYBE
You have no fears: Teflon Toughie. Nothing bothers you. Does this describe you? NO NO and NO
You need no forgiveness: Never made a mistake. Square as game of checkers. As clean as grandma’s kitchen. Does this describe you? I’d say a resounding NO
So he goes on to review the possible answers:
You can’t control your moods – A few of your relationships are shaky – You have fears and faults! OMG I’m thinking I have failed this quiz miserably. But what he is really speaking to is that if the answers to these questions describe us – then why are we holding on to something that isn’t working for us. Good question.
Is it in our human nature to always think “we got it” – “I got it under control” – I can tell you without a doubt that I don’t have much in control. I have found that over the past 3-1/2 years I have given so much over to God because I could no longer keep up. The failures were too hard to take. The pain and agony affected my moods and infected my relationships. Everywhere I looked in my life I had failed. I was a freakin mess. I needed God more than ever. That is where my life took a dramatic turn.
The day I realized I had no control and had to turn it all over to God was the first day in my life that I felt some sense of relief. The freedom of releasing the burdens I had carried for so long. There is something freeing when you hand over all the garbage of your life to God and let him take control. You know like the song by Carrie Underwood “Jesus Take The Wheel”. I so related to that song. I needed Jesus to that the wheel – so I could lie down and rest. And that is just what He did.
Lucado goes on to rephrase the 23rd Psalm if one doesn’t give control over to the Shepherd and it goes like this:
I am my own shepherd, I am always in need
I stumble from mall to mall and shrink to shrink, seeking relief but never finding it
I creep through the valley of the shadow of death and fall apart.
I fear everything from pesticides to power lines, and I’m starting to act like my mother.
I go down to the weekly staff meeting and am surrounded by enemies.
I go home, and even my goldfish scowls at me.
I anoint my headache with extra-strength Tylenol.
My Jack Daniel’s runneth over.
Surely misery and misfortune will follow me, and I will live in self-doubt for the rest of my lonely life.
Wow – I don’t know about you, but I remember thinking some of those thoughts he out-lined above. I also know that I don’t want to ever go back to that place. But the humanness in us allows it. The brokeness in us allows it. The fear in us allows it. But if you choose to turn it all over and let God have it. The fear fades away, the brokeness begins to heal and the humanness remains but lives in the light of the one who has made you to do great things.
until next time,