It seems as though I was born to be a planner. As a kid, every moment of my day was meticulously thought out and executed. I’m much better than I was, but a few decades ago, any unexpected detours in my life (or my day, for that matter) were met with unrelenting hostility.
When I turned 30 a few years ago, I finally caught on. Life is full of unexpected detours. In 2008, I was planning to go back to university, but a family crisis put my plans on hold indefinitely. At the time, I was going to study English, but in the two years since, I was steered toward my true calling. I made my plans, but God was laughing as if to say, “Don’t trip. You know I’m the boss of you.”
Which brings me to my second revelatory thought: It isn’t my job to put anyone in their place. I am good at discerning when a person is trying to intimidate me. And just like my favourite literary heroine, Lizzie Bennet, I get braver when anyone tries to back me into a corner than I would have been had they just left me alone. (For some reason, no one has caught on to this yet.) On the other hand, just as it isn’t anyone else’s responsibility to “put me in my place”, it isn’t my duty to put anyone else in their place either. First of all, who gets to decide who goes where?
I once read a quote that said, “I have good news, and better news. The good news is, there is a God. The better news is, it isn’t you.” The way I see it if someone is acting as though they’re the king of the universe, they’ll eventually be humbled because pride always comes before a downfall. The most pitiful kind of loser is the one who is too arrogant to see that his or her defeat is imminent. While it is my right not to allow anyone to bully, threaten, or manipulate me, it is not my right to make them feel small to fulfill a bizarre sense of justice.
In the moments of my life when I got
a little too cocky (for lack of a better word), something else came along that reminded me that, not only was I, not as great as I thought I was, I wasn’t as smart either. (I also learned that I only have control over me. That’s it.) And then my giant bobble-head deflated, and I floated back down to earth with the rest of the plebeians. Like it or not, the same thing will happen to you if you get too caught up in your own hype. (Don’t be so proud, you’re not that great. You’re not terrible, but you are not that great.)
It reminded me of the passage in the book of Job, where God says, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation”, and then he goes on and lists all of the things he has done, until Job responds, “I am unworthy–how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but have no answer–twice, but I will say no more.”
“Do you presume to tell me what I’m doing wrong?
Are you calling me a sinner so you can be a saint?
Do you have an arm like my arm?
Can you shout in thunder the way I can?
Go ahead, show your stuff.
Let’s see what you’re made of, what you can do.
Unleash your outrage.
Target the arrogant and lay them flat.
Target the arrogant and bring them to their knees.
Stop the wicked in their tracks—make mincemeat of them!
Dig a mass grave and dump them in it—
faceless corpses in an unmarked grave.
I’ll gladly step aside and hand things over to you—
you can surely save yourself with no help from me!”
When you know that there is someone higher than you, smarter than you, and more powerful than you, you are less likely to try control everything. (Note: I didn’t say it was impossible–somewhere in the world, there is a contingent of bossy Christians, wreaking havoc in their respective churches– it’s just less likely.)
In your daily life, you may have a lot of pull, but God is the one holding all the strings.