Sunday, September 11, 2011

control: be still and know God is God.

The gym is loud with voices of junior high and high school girls.  The crack of hitting the ball and bounce of it on the floor.  One of our outside hitters jumps high and swings through, sending the ball to the floor on the other side of the next only steps in front of another player.  I hear my own voice join the noise, “GET LOW AND MOVE YOUR FEET!”

It's probably the 25th time I've said that today.  I'm a jr. high/high school volleyball coach.  I cherish my time with these young girls as they learn how to play a sport that I love and how to become mature young women in this world.  Coaching has taught me lots of things.  Right now it is teaching me about control and how little of it I have over most things.

Ask any coach and they’ll tell you.  You put in tons of hours of practice every season.  You spend restless nights thinking of what you could’ve done differently to pull out the win.  You sacrifice time with family and friends for games and tournaments.  You put your heart into the game and into the team.  This is a coach’s world.  Every coach knows, though, that regardless of the time and effort put into the game by the coach, there is much that is out of their hands.  I can say “GET LOW” a hundred times during practice and it changes nothing unless the player decides to implement what they’ve been taught.  I can try different ways to teach the same skill, in hopes that some of my players will get the hang of it.  Some of them just don’t have the giftedness.  I can’t change that.  Some of them just don’t have the drive.  I can’t change that either.

Regardless of our efforts, there is much out of our control in this life.

Being a girl who loves to be in control, I am a slow learner of this.  God is working on me.  :-)

I teach my girls about this.  You get railed by a serve from another team.  You can’t control that.  Sometimes you can’t even control what you do.  It’s more important about how you react to what you can’t control.  You shake it off and get ready to play the next point.  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 3:13-14)

My dad recently went in for a series of tests to see if his medical conditions have worsened.  There was a significant possibility that it had developed into something cancerous.  We were all completely helpless about this.  It was out of our control.  The news came back positive this week, but it made me realize that there was little we could do about the circumstances.  What we could control was our attitude and responses.  Be still and acknowledge that God is God. (Ps. 46)

A friend of mine just went through a difficult and unexpected break up.  Even in relationships where we feel at peace and secure, there is a lot of trust that is place in what we cannot control.  We cannot control the other person’s level of commitment to us, but we love trusting it is there.  Sometimes we get burned by things we cannot control.  We ask God for strength, pick ourselves up again, and learn once again that there is much out of our control.  Be still and know that God is God.

Today is September 11th.  Ten years ago today, our country learned that we didn’t possess the amount of control that we thought we did.  Our own soil, which we were sure was under our control, was violated.  We have learned as a country, that nothing is certain or safe.  Be still and know that God is God.

This is all true.  There are tons of things, scary and not scary, that are out of our control.  It’s a fact of life.  One that I happen to really, really hate, by the way.  It’s good for us though.  We can’t be in control all of the time.  God is teaching me that.  He’s gently reminding me: “If you can be in control all of the time and have things go just your way, why would you need Me?”  Plus, there are a lot of things that I’ve been in control of and seen in retrospect of unglorifying they were and I worked to get what I wanted instead of what was good.  The thing is, sometimes we don’t even know what is good.  We need a God that is working for our good and working despite of us.  He is using the times we’ve trusted and been broken.  He’s using the times when we are helpless in a situation because someone else has to do the implementing.  This brings us back to Him in prayer.  It gives Jesus the throne seat and forces us to acknowledge that we are powerless, but He is oh, so able.  We can’t accomplish anything through our greatest efforts, but things change when we be still and let God be God. (Ps. 46)

There’s so much that we can do to affect change in our lives.  There is also so much out of our control.  I think about my own story—there is much more unknown coming up.  There are areas that I wish I could alter to make them look more like I’d want them to be--relationships, job, physical wellness, etc.  But knowing that even in the unknown or out of control, God doesn’t change.  His love for us doesn't change.  His promise to be our refuge doesn't change.  He says to us "have peace, be still, don't grip things so tightly and acknowledge that I is in control and God over all things."

We praise You, Lord, for being our closest advocate who is also God of the universe.  Thank You for being our King, our God, our Savior.  Thank You for Your providence and how You are weaving all things together for Your glory and our good.  We love You. Amen.

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