When I took on new responsibilities several years ago, I experienced those unsettling moments when everything wasnâ€™t working the way I thought they should. And my poor husband would get an earful on our nightly walks. Finally, he told me, â€śYou need to understand that 30 percent of your job is going to be ickyâ€”and just accept it.â€ť
So I started expecting that one-third of my job could go wrong because it was out of my control. And learning to accept the things I couldnâ€™t change helped me find peace (sounds a little like The Serenity Prayer, doesnâ€™t it?).
So if you, like me, get frustrated with things in your ministry not going the way you want them to, embrace the 30-percent rule and consider what you can and cannot change.
You can deliver a creative lesson. You canâ€™t control how many kids show up or how many parents make church a priority that weekend. You canâ€™t even control whether kidsâ€™ lives are changed for eternity (or even just for a moment). Thatâ€™s up to God.
You can offer amazing training for your teachers. However, you canâ€™t control how many will forget to come even though they rsvpâ€™d on your Facebook page.
You can control what you think about someone who wrongs you. You canâ€™t control whether that person spreads nasty rumors about you. Then again you can control going to that person and communicating directly. You may not be able to control how you feel about the situation, but you can control what you say about the person.
You can control your ministryâ€™s policies and procedures. However (and this is the one that gets to me), you canâ€™t control whether people follow them. You canâ€™t control when people disrespect you by taking your equipment without asking or making a decision that was really yours to make. But you can control what you do to their cars (just kidding!).
You canâ€™t control whether someone takes credit for an amazing program you led. Or whether you lead in obscurity week in and week out and no one seems to notice or affirm your wonderful service. You can, though, take comfort in the fact that God sees your sacrifices and holds them dear and tells you, â€śWell done, good and faithful servant!â€ť