I was involved in a project with a high need for volunteers. A woman cheerfully offered her services. She’d been involved in a previous year and knew what to expect. And yet, as soon as the project began, she began complaining about the workload. And when steps were taken to lighten her workload, she criticized how other people were doing the tasks of which she had asked to be relieved.

At first, I was impatient: If she was that busy, why had she volunteered? But then I listened more closely and realized her real issue wasn’t her lack of time; she didn’t trust anyone else to perform the task in the way she thought it should be done. There was no happy solution, other than encouraging her to let go completely of those tasks and focus on the ones she had kept.

As I observed this process, I wondered how often we do this to each other; we cling to things (objects, tasks, feelings) we should let go of, because we can’t give up control. Or that we latch onto these things because they give a sense of control lacking in the core areas of our lives. But the stress and conflict that arise because we cannot control matters to our satisfaction adds to our burden and to that of those around us.

I also wondered how often we do this to God. We cling to the sins that make us unhappy, because we are afraid to give Him the opportunity to release us from those cares. Or because we worry that He won’t, that He will find us unworthy of help.

But as people of faith, we need to understand that when we give up control over things we cannot fix, we create an opportunity for people to help us. And most of us are surrounded, whether we know it or not, by people who will help us if we just give them a chance. And we are loved by the Lord who helps us in ways we do not see, and longs to help us further, if only we will open our hearts and let Him in.

This Lent, give up control: Give opportunity.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18