I had brought my walking stick, so with careful navigation and a moderate pace, I managed the nearly mile long trek along the breakwater without incident. It felt like a tiny victory, because even before being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, I had begun to notice some balance issues. The uneven surface, the movement of the waves, and my poor equilibrium all contributed to my sense that I was not in control of the situation and had put myself at risk.
Control and I are old buddies. Maintaining a sense of control over my surroundings motivates my clutter-busting activities at home. The need to control my schedule has prompted me recently to turn down some very good opportunities.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with setting boundaries and living within them. However, when control becomes an idol for me, I pull the drawstrings of my life so tightly that there’s no room for God to work–or for me to breathe.
What’s Getting In YOUR Way?
Because the illusion of control has kept me from doing some really fun things, it felt very freeing to say yes to a walk on the breakwater. The need to remain safe can become the biggest thing in the room, but only if I let it. When I look ahead and see only frightening possibilities–possibilities I’m convinced I can’t cope with–it’s time for me to take myself by the scruff of the neck and reorder my worship.
What idol has stolen first place in your decision-making process?
Do your thoughts go first to finances?
To your own comfort?
Have you made the children and grandchildren God has entrusted to you so important that you’re not available even to God himself?
Reordered priorities require focused resolve. If we wait until it’s easier or until our temperaments or moods or natural inclinations change by themselves, we’ll wait around forever. Elisabeth Elliot speaks truth that puts iron in my soul:
We must choose to be strong–in His strength–and to be resolute–by His grace. When we bring our wills wholly under that divine strength and that amazing grace, who can estimate the possibilities of such a union?”The Music of His Promises, 31
What number one priority controls your decision-making process? Is it time for a change?
Reordered priorities require focused resolve. If we wait until it’s easier or until our temperaments or moods or natural inclinations change by themselves, we’ll wait around forever.Tweet
…And Now Let’s Talk Books!
Did you know that Elisabeth Elliot wrote a novel? No Graven Image draws on her years of missionary service in Ecuador through the eyes of a twenty-five-year-old single missionary. Initially published in 1966, the book must have sent shock waves through readers accustomed to the traditional “missionary story” in which The Called One lands in an obscure and challenging field, shares the gospel message against all odds, and in no time their ministry changes hearts as grateful lives are forever transformed.
Perhaps it was the jarring experience of Elisabeth’s own early missionary career that fueled this narrative arc of a woman so completely surprised by the realities of everyday life in a foreign culture. She discovered that much of her time was spent simply performing the mundane duties of life, and while she had come to share with the Quichua the most important message in all the universe, they seemed strangely uninterested–in her message and in herself!
Had Margaret made an idol of her preconceptions about her missionary role? She confesses her astonishment: “My life went on alongside the life of the Quichuas. I do not say with theirs for the two remained separate. All my efforts to make myself one with them ended at the brink of the great abyss–I was not an Indian.”
No Graven Image should be required reading for all missionary candidates, but for the rest of us, Elisabeth has woven an engaging story in a fascinating setting, populated with characters and conflict that have helped me to become a better-informed prayer warrior for the missionaries I love.
Holding You in the Light,
Did you know that #ElisabethElliot wrote a novel? Originally published in 1966, #NoGravenImage must have sent shock waves through readers accustomed to the traditional “missionary story!”Tweet
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