When I reached the last years of my twenties, I was determined to accomplish one item on my mental list of things before I turned 30. I was still single, no children, living in an apartment, and, other than work, I had no real commitments.
So, I decided to buy a house.
It wasn’t until I bought a house that I came to realize the frustrations of how my own yard is not my own. I had this notion that I should be able to control everything within the land lines of the acreage of land I am paying a mortgage on, right? Not so when you live within the city limits and around other people.
Other people’s pets like to use my lawn for their bathroom. Same with the newspaper guy. He graciously throws the free city newspaper onto my driveway every Thursday. They use my yard as if they have free reign. I even called the newspaper people and asked if they would stop and seems it would be too much trouble for them to pick and choose who gets their free paper.
So, I have to accept these things that I do not want. I have noticed, though, that no one is offering to help pay the mortgage or bring over their mowers on grass-cutting day.
I came to the point where I asked myself, “Why does this bother me so much?”
Isn’t the fact that God has blessed me with a house and a yard enough to deal with any small irritations I may have with people and pets? Maybe it is because this is one more thing that I can’t control. Yes, that is it. I like to be in control. It’s true. As much as I want to proclaim that I rely on God for everything, I can’t.
I am learning that the more I am able to control my life, the more I want to control my life.
I get a sense of power and think I can handle it all. So, the animals and newspapers have been placed in my life to teach me a lesson—a lesson I thought I had learned when I hit 30 and was still single. Obviously, I am not in control or that would not be the case. A few years later, and I am still single.
By now, I should be a pro at relinquishing my will over what I can’t control. Then, I find myself internally yelling at dogs and cats and the nice guy in the compact car that throws that stinkin’ paper onto my driveway.
God, in His wonderfully humorous way, knows that I still need Him to teach me in little ways and in big ways that my life always works best when He is the only one in control.
God must produce these lessons in my life often or I am tempted to become like the Israelites: wandering in the wilderness complaining about what I have, forgetting where I would be if left to my own desires, and wanting the “safety” of slavery which I can pretend to control.
How does He do this daily for me?
Well, every Thursday, I learn this when I have to walk down and pick up that free newspaper. On Saturdays, I learn it when mowing and I step on something other than grass or ants in my yard. Now days, it isn’t a frustration as much as a call out to God thanking Him for teaching me that only He can control everything! My life works best when I let Him do the leading and I simply pick up stuff when He asks me too.
Of course, like the Israelites, I will probably forget by next week…
Jimmi Phillips has been working in the accounting field in Mississippi for more than a decade but really isn’t as boring as she now sounds. She is proud of the fact that the local coffee shop knows her and has her coffee ready when she drives up every morning. She is hoping one day there will be an announcement from the medical world stating that coffee and Dr. Pepper are just as good for you as water. Until then, she will continue to live in denial and enjoy them anyway.
*Photo credit: Tony Crider