He spent the entire game scrambling all over the field to cover every position. Dribbling the ball, he’d run up the pitch and shoot toward the goal. Then he’d dart over to try to steal it from a defensive player or he’d race back down toward his own team’s goal to defend it against the opponent. Sprinting left and right and up and down the field, he wore himself out!
He didn’t trust his teammates to play their positions, so he tried to help them. Standing on the sidelines, I could easily see that, by trying to play every position on the field, ThingFour was not successfully playing any one position to the best of his ability. Though his intentions were to contribute and help his team, he was actually counterproductive because he was too tired and distracted to do his one job really well.
So in our de-brief after the game, we praised ThingFour for some specific moves and his energy and endurance on the field, and we gave him this one thing to work on — Trust your teammates to play their positions and you play your position as best you can.
Not long after that conversation, I felt that prickling of my conscience or the nudge of conviction. Pssst, Jennifer. You could learn that lesson too. Trust other people to do their jobs and you just do your job as best you can. Trust God to be God and you just be Jennifer.
Just last week I walked into the school to talk to ThingFour’s teacher because he has been struggling with some things. As I told her we needed to schedule a time to talk, I burst into tears. Immediately, she took my hands, looked into my eyes and said, “You have to trust me! We are going to find solutions. I won’t stop trying until I find the combination that works with your boy. You have to trust me! I love your son. Trust me!”
She was right. I wasn’t trusting her to do her job. I was feeling the burden of figuring out her job and my job.
On a recent night while my husband was out of town, I startled out of a deep sleep because my cell phone started vibrating. The charger had decided not to charge, and it was warning me. As if I cared at 12:30 in the morning! As I tried to fall back asleep, I heard one strange noise after another. I got up and walked all around the house checking doors and windows. Then I sat back on my bed, holding my breath, listening as the house settled and the ice maker loudly dropped new ice into the bin. After dozing off and jerking awake repeatedly for two hours, I lay rigidly in my bed waiting for the next unusual sound when a lightbulb moment occurred in my sleep-deprived brain — Jennifer, are you going to stay awake all night keeping watch over this house and your children? Or are you going to trust God to do that job and go on to sleep so you can do your job as a momma tomorrow?
I immediately fell asleep and didn’t wake again until morning.
When I try to do everyone else’s job, especially when I try to do God’s job, I wear myself out! I become bone-tired and burdened and grouchy, and I don’t do my own job very well. But when I trust God to be God and I trust my teammates in life to play their positions, then I am free to do the job I am called to and created for and equipped for.
So if you see me walking into the closest elementary school muttering, “Trust your teammates, Jenn,” you’ll know why.
How about you? Are you wearing yourself out doing jobs you were never meant to do? Do you have trouble trusting other people? Do you have trouble trusting God? If so, this is my prayer for you, as it is for myself —
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.