I am far too easily distracted. Do you have this problem, too or is it just me? And many of these distractions come because I have trouble discerning the difference between what is my business, and what is God’s.
Recently, I told our spring 2014 class of Elevation Church Interns about a dangerous prayer I often pray.
It is, “God, show me someone to love for you today.” It’s dangerous because God is so faithful. And it helps me notice the people who need a touch of his presence in their lives. But sometimes I find myself getting in the way of what he wants to do.
Jesus makes this point in John 21:21-22 – When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”
One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn is that I can’t make everyone happy. I can’t can’t fix everything. In fact, I can’t really fix much of anything at all on my own. This is especially true with my amazing husband and kids. Oswald Chambers talks about this in a devotion called, “What is that to you?”
Probably the worst part of my fixer mentality is thinking I really know what’s best for other people. “It takes a long time to realize the danger of being an amateur providence,” says Chambers devo – “that is, interfering with God’s plan for others. You see someone suffering and say, “He will not suffer and I will make sure that he doesn’t.”
It doesn’t mean we choose not to care. It doesn’t mean we don’t give to worthy causes, or give when someone has an immediate need that God has given us the opportunity to meet. We should do these things. It also means we should pray and be with people who are suffering. But as I learned in the Nuba mountains of Sudan, when people are in desperate need – the only thing of value I really have to offer personally, is Jesus.
“Your part is to maintain the right relationship with God so that His discernment can come through you continually for the purpose of blessing someone else.” (Chambers)
Maybe I should also be praying, “God please work in me and through me, but help me stay out of your way today.”
For more, check out these great Elevation Church sermons from the archive:
Frustrations of a Fixer, You be Jesus – Let God be God.
If you’re interested, these are a couple great books that have helped us frame our strategies in Elevation Outreach – Toxic Charity and When Helping Hurts.
And for more on the work we got to do together through Elevation Outreach in East Africa watch our 2013 documentary, Beyond the Banner.