Sometimes, to my dismay, I get what I ask for.
There have been more occasions than I can recount when I sweetly volunteered to do “anything,” only to be assigned to that one job I had forgotten about. Maybe something lonely away from everyone else. Or partnering with someone I find difficult to get along with. Or maybe – horror of horrors – mopping.
You see, I grew up in a house that had all carpets, so I never mopped. And then we moved to a house that, after a few years of construction projects, ended up with over 3,000 square feet of floor to be mopped; then, mopping was strenuous enough to be a guys’ job, and so I still never mopped. Some people have a fear of the unknown. I think mine might be mopping. Naturally, there have been a few times when that has been the task assigned me when I claimed that I’d love to do anything to help.
I think that when I volunteer to do anything, or to go anywhere, I have preconceived notions about what that might include. I see someone else who was sent to Africa, or asked to organize a work team, or assigned to hold a sleeping baby — and I think, wow, I would be happy to do any of those things! Then there are other people who might get put on bathroom cleaning, or stocking shelves, or just being a faithful daughter in a happy home. And I think, well, that would be fine, too.
And so, when I say, “Lord, I would do anything,” those are the things I’m talking about. Only I usually forget to specify. I am blonde enough to forget that mopping is something, too.
Probably, for anybody else besides me, mopping would not be an issue. That’s probably why I get assigned to mop – because I need it. Because I need to die to myself. Because I am sent to be a servant of all. Because I need to learn full submission to my Master.
Because doing what I wanted to do anyway is not submission; it’s merely finding a place for my will alongside God’s. Oh, it may look like submission, but submission is not an act, but a heart. It’s an attitude. It’s the incredible vulnerability of throwing out my safety net, burning my bridges, working cheerfully where I am and resting gladly in the knowledge that I am led by One who is smarter, bigger, and stronger than I am.
Submission means that I can’t have preconceived notions about what God’s will should and shouldn’t be. It means I claim no right to choose what I will do and what my life will look like.
This sounds harsh. Cruel. Overbearing. Maybe I should stand up and assert myself.
But you know what? I already tried that, and I ended up bound by a cruel enemy who promises freedom and delivers tyranny. And then the Suffering Servant came, gave His life for me, and chose me. And loved me with an everlasting love. He bought me. He owns me. He has the rights, folks.
And so if I thought He was going to send me to the slums of India and instead I got sent home to talk with my sister, praise the Lord. If I had intended to work in a soup kitchen and instead ended up in my kitchen making dinner for my brother who never asks for anything but still needs to eat, that’s awesome. And if I felt I needed to take a nap but instead was picked to fight the bitter cold to run an errand, Lord willing I will be cheerfully embracing His will so I can speak an encouraging word to the checkout girl.
This is good stuff – being willing to go anywhere, to do anything. But sometimes I am so eager to do and go, to be sent, that I forget…..there’s another option, too.
I love this quote from a book by Chesterton:
“I would follow you anywhere,” replied March, “but I would halt, too, if that is better.”
I have been sent. That’s how I got where I am right now.
– Rachel M