of the Paperclips
By Susan K. Stewart
In less than twelve hours, a couple thousand
people would line up for the opening of the
convention. As had become tradition prior to
any major events, the convention committee gathered
to pray. Around the table we prayed, "Bless
this convention" and "Thank you for
letting us be involved." One person surprised
us with her petition, "God, please take
care of the paper clips." Her prayer acknowledged
that God is interested in every detail of our
lives, right down to the paperclips.
"Be still, and know that I am God"
is a familiar Bible verse. We often emphasize
the "be still," forgetting who is
God. We were certainly being still during that
time of prayer; but only one person was remembering
God's involvement in the details.
How interested is the Creator of the universe
in the details of our lives? Well, how interested
are you in your children's lives? God has an
even greater interest in you and every area
of your life.
Have you ever believed that God wants you to
do something but you didn't know how to do it?
Or, maybe you feared failure? Often we end up
"being still." We fuss (pray?), worry
(stress?), and sit still, doing nothing. To
break free from this trap, we need to learn
to turn over the paperclips to God.
A Need is not a Call
First, you need to make sure that what you
are doing is what God wants you to do. I get
lots of great ideas. I can think of many good
things I could be doing. When I see the commercials
on TV about the hurting children in other countries,
I want to do something. I hear about abused
women; I want to act. The pastor calls for a
Sunday School teacher; I want to raise my hand.
I finally learned that a need is not necessarily
a call. Are you trying to do something that
is someone else's job, someone else's call?
Have you lost your focus on what God wants you
to do? If you are lacking joy in what you are
doing, maybe you're doing someone else's assignment
and leaving God out of the details.
Ponder your Motives
Second, ponder why you are doing what you are
doing. Often we carry on a project out of tradition
or habit or because we think that no one else
will do it. This applies to every activity you
are involved in. Are you motivated by a sense
of obligation or guilt - or because you believe
God is directing you?
Let God Worry about the Details
Third, when God has shown you a task to do,
let Him worry about the details. Our God is
mighty, powerful, and strong. These are big
words. In our puny little minds, we think God
is too big to bother Himself with the tiny details.
In North America, we don't have to depend on
God to take care of much. Unlike people in a
third world nation, we usually know where our
next meal is coming from, what we will clothe
our children with, and where we will live. We
have become so self-sufficient that we don't
think we should bother God with little things
God has all the details worked out - in advance
- from eternity (that's huge). It doesn't matter
whether you're trying to get enough nursery
workers or visiting a sick friend or preparing
a dinner for in-laws.
That doesn't necessarily mean that God will
give us all the details in advance. As Henry
Blackaby says, "God will always give you
enough specific directions to do now what He
wants you to do. When you need more directions,
He will give more in His timing."
The final and most necessary step is to pray
- talk with God about the job ahead of you.
You can't know how to do something unless you
chat with the planner. How often we stumble
around, fret and worry, and lose our joy because
we haven't asked the architect of the universe
for the blueprint on our little jobs.
When we submit to God's plans, allowing Him
to work the details, we don't sweat the small
stuff. More importantly, God is honored. And
that is our ultimate purpose.
Susan K. Stewart and her husband
Bob live in the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains
in California. Susan speaks to homeschool groups
and women's groups and is the author of Science
in the Kitchen, Fearless Science for All Ages.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit her web site www.skstewart.com.