I was recently sharing with a friend how I have this frustrating tendency to drift from abiding mode and plow straight into striving mode at times, but that I’ve learned to quickly identify when it’s happening. It’s quite simple really, for when my inclination to control outcomes begins to kick in, it always results in escalated levels of stress for me and others. However, even though I’m thankful for being able to identify the problem, I still desire to prevent it in the first place. This is when my friend nodded and smiled in agreement as he shared a simple tool he ues to help keep similar “control” tendencies in check – T.I.G.
Literally, this stands for, This Is God’s. Whatever it is – it’s God’s, not mine. Granted, we are always to give our best efforts, but for what purpose? Who’s glory? When I find I take a task too personally, it’s typically for selfish reasons, but by reminding myself that it’s for God and in the end, it’s in His hands, I begin to release and allow His grace over my grit to go to work. I now literally write T.I.G. on the top of any project I’m working on to remind myself of three primary truths:
Presumption: To presume it all depends on me to get something accomplished is arrogant and boastful. For no man is an island. Clearly, life comes with challenges, but when we seek to grin and bear it on our own, it only proves our spiritual immaturity. For God never leaves us, or forsakes us and is available to help us when we align our priorities with His – for His name sake (Deuteronomy 31:8).
Perspective: How we see things primarily determines our response to them and ultimately our experiences with them. Therefore, if we receive challenges as personal assaults rather than presented opportunities our tendency is to seek control, charge back, or complain. However, when we trust in the all-knowing and all-powerful presence of God, life begins to blossom as a series of opportunities to reflect His grace and glorify His name. This empowers us to further His agenda over our own and depend less on our will and more on Him (Zechariah 4:6).
Purpose: What’s the purpose behind all we do? If we find it’s to promote our plans and position, we’ll typically default to striving over abiding, because it’s all about us. However, when all we do is aligned with God’s purposes, we desire to seek and rely upon Him more, because it’s all about Him. Therefore, we are freed to give our best for God and then trust Him with the outcomes (Jeremiah 7:23).
Application: “Just One Thing Is Necessary” – Luke 10:42
God doesn’t call us to our mission without equipping us with everything we need for the journey. For as we see in the lives of Mary and Martha, believers will struggle at times with the temptation to strive versus abide, especially when we possess high motivations. However, we have also been blessed with the ability to choose what is best and not give in to such temptations. Thus, through His power and the transformation of our life purpose, perspectives and presumptions, we can relax in His grace and relinquish our need to always be in control.