There is this phrase I say, “that’s Jesus getting in your business.” I left gathering on Sunday saying that! I have found myself reflecting on Amanda’s message multiple times. One thing that has continued to play over in my head is the phrase Amanda said, “we need to tap out of the physical wrestling match and take it to the spiritual mat and wrestle with God.”
I became suddenly aware of how often and how much energy I am using in wrestling in the physical world. No wonder I feel exhausted sometimes!
As I processed this, I was able to identify that especially when I am scared, the stakes are high, or I feel responsible, I tend to stay longer in the physical world wrestling. A couple things that is true about me. I’m a control freak. Or I as I say, I’m a recovering control freak because there has definitely been healing and growth in my life in this area. However, at times my “recovery” gets stagnant and I fall back to behaviors that feel very comfortable to me. Also, I’m a good problem solver. And these two traits propel me to wrestle with the physical world. I spend unnecessary energy over thinking the challenges I am facing. I focus on trying to figure them out, strategize on how to handle them, and in this process often times lean on me to solve it or handle it. I can hear this phrase in my head, “if I only try harder, I can handle this and figure it out.”
What if, in those situations, I tapped out quicker and took it to the spiritual mat. Would I experience less pressure, anxiety, and stress? Would I receive guidance and insight bigger than myself? Yes and Yes. As God and I have been talking about this during the week, I’ve asked him to reveal situations in my life where I am holding on and wrestling in the physical world. As He has been faithful to do that, it gives me an opportunity to do some self- discovery and to ask “why I am holding on to it.” “What is the gain or my perceived gain in holding on to it?” And uncomfortably, two things seem to be common reasons for me.
One, I feel responsible for it and see it as my “job” to handle it. This particularly happens in my professional life. This past fall, I transitioned jobs from being a youth minister to running a non-profit organization that partners with churches to empower youth ministers to become skilled and effective leaders. As with most non-profits, funding is a constant concern. I can get preoccupied and overly stressed about managing the bottom line and all the pressures that come with that. Instead of living in a space of peace, trusting that as we are faithful to serve churches well and build God’s Kingdom, God will be faithful to care for us. Tapping out of the physical world and taking these pressures to God is something I’m currently learning to do.
The second common reason for me is because I want a particular situation to turn out “my way.” And if I am managing it, it is more likely to do so. Or so I think… Practically, in my prayers, I see this when I am praying only for specific outcomes versus praying for God’s best to prevail in this situation. Taking it to the spiritual mat, even in my prayers, for me, means letting go of the results and surrendering it to God. And saying to Him, “not my will but yours.” This requires me to trust that His way is better than what I can see as best. And to trust that no matter how it turns out, God walks with me and with His strength,I will be ok.
Lord, may we be people who quickly tap out of wrestling in the physical world and surrender our lives to you completely and consistently.