Four precious weeks of summer remain, and in the Dykema house we will savor each day filled with sun-kissed freckly cheeks, popsicles in the morning, soggy swim diaper buns, trips to the playground & farmer’s market, staying up late if we want to, & not eating our oatmeal until 9 a.m. because we’ve been busy reading books & building block towers. It is officially August, which means I can no longer sneer in disgust at the back to school sales & ads that remind me soon I’ll be sending my oldest to second grade & middle baby will be headed off to preschool. Fall decor already displayed at Target reminds me that soon enough I will be under the authority of schedules–2nd grade schedules, preschool schedules, my own teaching & grading schedule, and our coffee shops’ busy season schedule.
And, something about it just makes my skin feel itchy. To clarify, this post is not about how I will desperately miss the hours of unscheduled time with my oldest–that’ll be another post (wink). It matters not that I love my daughters’ schools, and value the experiences they have there. Nor does it matter that when I stand in my classroom, teaching my students (who I’ll love so much by the semester’s end I will tear up as they finish their finals) I feel that exhilaration of, I was made for this. Something inside me still bristles at the way schedules exert authority over me, my decisions, when I can run errands & schedule playdates, and what time I must wake up in order to spend time in the Word, shower, and make breakfast
Graciously, our Father is revealing to me that this more of an authority problem than a back-to-school problem. In his book, Forever, Paul David Tripp writes,
“We do what God calls us not to do because in our hearts we want freedom from any authority over us but our own. We chafe against God’s will because in our hearts we think freedom is found only in self-rule” (pp. 69-70, emphasis mine).
We think freedom is found only in self-rule; Adam and Eve bought into that wretched lie. And, you know what? They didn’t get lasting pleasure of ruling themselves, they got separation & death. They totally altered the plans God had made out of His good intentions and deep love for them. You see, in a smaller way, I have bought into the same lie that self-rule — my schedule, my plans, my wake-up time, my activities–equals freedom. But, self-rule equals missing out on God’s good, perfect, and pleasing will for my life. It means I am training my people to know the fools gold of freedom rather than the glorious riches of living under God’s authority.
“So we don’t load life on our shoulders as we once did, hoping we could exercise enough control over people and situations to make things work out okay. Instead, we live with the peace of knowing that a God of wisdom, power, and grace has already written the final chapter of our story. If he has already determined that we will live with him forever, will he not protect and provide for us along the way?” (pp. 71-72, emphasis mine)
I don’t know what it is for you today, you might be bristling, like me, at something small like fall-schedules, or you might be walking through darkness in relationships or health that make you want to load things onto your own shoulders and seek freedom in self-rule. It may be the authority of schedules or the authority of a person God has allowed over you that have your frustrated.
I am convinced that unless we recognize that actual freedom is walking entirely under God’s authority (which includes the earthly authorities He allows over us of schedules, circumstances, and people) and living in peace because we know His way must be better than anything we could try to manipulate or will to be on our own. Let us stop trying to squirm out from under authority and into self-rule, and let us relax under the mighty hand of God.