Very often, I find myself over-complicating simple tasks. Sometimes I put off a small chore for no good reason at all, only to eventually get around to it and find that it took half the amount of time I had anticipated. Still, I don’t ever seem to learn my lesson. If I don’t do something right away, I will almost always struggle to motivate myself to get it done anytime soon. I suppose this could simply be ascribed to laziness, which is perhaps fair. Although I think that this habit might be closely related to another weakness of which I am often guilty, namely a sort of obstinance that prevents me from seeking out the assistance of others, even when it might be significantly to my or their advantage.
In my professional life, I am not slow to admit my shortcomings. I feel I have a pretty good understanding of those areas in which others working on a project might serve better than I and when I ought to take a back seat or assisting role. There have been many times when I have realized that I was ill-equipped to address a particular dilemma when planning a lesson or to draft a letter, subsequently seek out advice from my coworker. I am confident that my work has profited from my recognition and reliance on the gifts of others.
For whatever reason, this receptivity does not seem to transfer to my personal experiences outside of work. When those close to me try to alleviate whatever burden I happen to be carrying, I am often reluctant to share my struggles with them at all, let alone listen to their words of advice or consolation. I suppose it is a sort of stubbornness that prevents me from listening to my friends’ input when it comes to my daily life, a little act of defiance to prove to myself or them that I know what is best.
All of this indicates a failure to trust my loved ones and a failure to trust in God and His Providence. It is a struggle that I think is probably not uncommon. Still, when we take every burden upon ourselves and try to fix everything alone, it will always end in failure. Our capacities for reason are so vastly limited that trying and navigating each every day-to-day obstacle without help is beyond foolish. We are told in Proverbs 3:5-6 :
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence do not rely; in all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths” (NRSVCE).
When we refuse to trust God, we turn inward. When we turn inward, we push out the other people in our lives as well. We must make room for God in our considerations of the decisions we make every day, from the trivial to the significant. I am finding that it takes practice (and lots of it) to break down the walls I put up over time and allow God’s voice to come through more clearly. Even so, I can see the positive difference it makes when I put forth an effort to become less stubborn and more open to discernment.
He will make straight our paths. It is easy to believe ourselves capable of overcoming anything through the strength of our individual will; it takes far more extraordinary courage to leave it to God and allow Him to be in control. There is great peace to be had in this teaching, and I hope to no
longer take it for granted.