How to Manage God

Originally published Tuesday, 17 December 2013.

Faith is sort of like supervising a restaurant.

This time last year, that was my career. Being the boss of people. Taking reservations. Ordering servers to tables and assigning them schedules. Writing reports about the evening's events. Answering phones and wearing black blazers. Dealing with insipid customers. Like the ones who would come into the restaurant ten minutes to closing and order a three-course meal (please, don't ever be that person). Or a couple who once asked me if there were any peppers in our stuffed pepper appetizer.

I had business cards and everything.

My last night working at the restaurant, a coworker was sitting in the office that the other supervisor, restaurant manager and I shared. He was on my computer. Sitting in my chair. I looked over and saw that he had pulled up the schedule for the next week, which I was to post before the end of my last shift.

"Get up, are you crazy? Why are you messing with my schedule?" I was practically shrieking, and my face was burning hotter than the eyes of the restaurant's stove-tops.

He looked at me, blinked a few times and then promptly told me to calm down. He explained that he was just trying to help me out by completing the schedule for me. He was taking over my position the next day, anyway.

I told him to get back out to the main dining room, unwilling to let go of the work I was doing.

"Wow," he said. "Who are you going to boss around at your new job?"

Which, of course, I could only take a moderate amount of offense to because, well, he was totally right.

Sometimes I feel like perhaps I've treated my relationship with God is the same way.

Bossy. Demanding. Controlling.

I've forced Him out of my schedule. I've told Him like it was. Put Him in His place. Like I'm trying to manage things on my end.

After all, it's so easy to be the boss of something we can't see, right?

It's like those comments on blog posts and YouTube videos, we're all a whole lot more expressive about our angers and agitations when it seems like we're anonymously praying to God. When we're submitting our thoughts and worries quickly. Flippantly. Like I have been.

Recently, I've decided to trust God with the small things. Trusting Him with the tasks of making it to the next paycheck without my car falling to pieces. Trusting Him to keep me safe. To lead me to true friends. To help me maintain healthy relationships with my family members and other loved ones.

And then, of course, I trust Him with things like paying off my graduate school debt. Because honestly, some problems are so big that you really have no control over them. What's the point of worrying?

But the big stuff, stuff like romantic relationships, and the future? My career? Not so easy to relinquish. Not so easy to hand over. Not so easy to move out of the chair and let someone else–let God–manage.

I'm finding that the things in my life that I care the most about are the hardest to give to the Lord.

The truth is, He's never failed me yet. I don't know why I have such a hard time relinquishing control. Letting Him schedule. And plan. And do the work for me.

I guess I like the hustle. The feeling that I'm doing it all on my own.

I need to stop trying to manage God. First, because it's a pointless endeavor. But, also because I need to let go of the things I have gripped so tightly to. I'm beginning to break the skin on my palms with my nails.

Managing a restaurant is a stressful business. And trying to manage a future that you have no control over is actually mentally, physically draining.

I'm tired of trying to be the boss. I need to move over. Anyone with me?

photo credit: pugetive via photopin cc

photo credit: HarshPatel;Photographer via photopin cc