Is it just me?
No, Miranda Hart has monopolised all use of that expression. Pity – it’s the one that best captures that feeling of ‘Am I the only person that feels – ?’ The missing word is usually to do with weirdness, that you feel out of step with what appears to be the normal world. Everyone else is carrying on with their day’s agenda, everything’s getting done OK and here you are, failing on almost every count.
Take today. Reasonable list of things to do but no meetings until lunchtime.
The phone rings. One lunchtime meeting has been cancelled. Shame. Hoped something would come of that. Never mind – re-jig.
Then the laptop refuses to get connectivity. I do all the diagnosis and ‘repair’ options. Nothing. OK – change of plan. Let’s do some by phone. Ah, no….. a key contact told me he’d be without a phone today but could be contacted by e-mail. Ha.
Then the second lunchtime meeting is put back an hour. Somebody’s scheduling problem. Tricky. That pushes the end close to the start of another meeting mid-afternoon……
Still no connectivity. Borrow someone else’s computer but work already on the laptop can’t be printed – unless I move some heavy furniture and plug in a cable. Anyway it’s stuff that should be e-mailed anyway.
And so on. Is it just me?
Funnily it’s these times – rather than those occasions when everything goes like a dream – that makes me certain God exists.
Well, if He hadn’t been at work in me over these past years I’d be totally stressed out by now. Sure, I’m not best pleased by the way my plan’s in meltdown but time was when I’d simply not have coped with the frustration, the sense that things were running out of control. How I envied the seemingly laid-back! I just couldn’t do it.
But God is in charge. Over time He’s proved again and again that – if I really commit my ways, my schedules, my agendas to Him – things come around, usually with better outcomes and timings than I’d planned.
It hasn’t been an instant thing. That desire to control life and the impatience and panic that build when those controls are threatened have come from well-buried sources. Fear, of course, but of what and from where?
Over time I’ve realised that those sources have become weaker, even to vanishing point. I can’t do it all. I certainly can’t do it by the time I thought it had to be done by. OK: I’ve done all I can. God’s in charge and He’ll sort out what I’ve entrusted to Him.
‘My peace I give to you,’ said Jesus. ‘My peace I leave with you – and I don’t give it as the world gives it either.’
The world’s peace depends on circumstances. ‘Peace? Only if everything’s chilled and sorted,’ says the world. That’s the stuff of drink commercials, of holiday brochures, day’s end. Jesus just says, ‘Trust me.’
Such a good feeling.
By Nigel O’Dwyer, who leads Goring New Life Church, and lives and works in Worthing.