Recently I had a chance to talk with a friend who just got back from teaching for 2 years in South Africa at an African school there. As she shared about her experience she shared that one of the things she learned while there was dependence on God and the peace and freedom of giving up the desire/need to “have it all together”. She described things that happened in her classroom that caused her to freak out and yet no one around her seemed to think it was a big deal. Some of these things would be likely talked about and cause concern for months or even years in our culture, but there they shrugged it off, moved on, and didn’t worry about it. While balance is needed in everything, I was reminded as she shared these stories of my own desire for control and to come across to the world as someone who “has it all together”. We all like (or at least think we like) the false rest found in appearing to know what we’re doing and exactly how to do it all the time.
Confession time: I don’t.
“Having it all together” (whatever that even means or looks like), is just another form of the self-reliance I’m also trying to give up. We live in a culture of self-preservation. But in reality, none of us have it together and trying to preserve the illusion that we do is not only prideful, it’s exhausting.
Let’s give it up. Let’s just admit today that we don’t have ANYTHING “together”, let alone everything. What relief there can be in taking that pressure off ourselves and remember that JESUS is the one who holds us, and the whole world together. Let’s abide in Him, lean on Him, and not worry about the rest.
Jesus said, “I am the Vine. You are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in Him, He it is that bears much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing. … These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:5, 11)
“And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
Jesus, teach us to give up fighting for the illusion that we ‘have it together’. Instead, let us abide in and point to You, the One in whom all things hold together. Teach us honesty and vulnerability with You and with each other. Help us be our true selves, the ones who desperately need you and aren’t ashamed of that, but rather praise You in that truth. Give us peace in being out of control, knowing that You never are. In Your Powerful Name we Pray, Amen