After attending a conference this past weekend at our church, I’ve been intrigued by the concept of a managed life. At first glance, it sounds like something you want to attain – a managed life is a woman who has things under control. She is strategic about how she spends her time, she keeps up with her house, her work, her ministry. She serves her husband and she disciples her kids. Her friends love her and strangers admire her. She kind of has it all together...she is the CEO of her Managed Life.
As much as I strive to be this woman at times, I received a bit of freedom this weekend when Dr. Larry Crabb explained exactly why a managed life is not the goal at all. In fact, if we sense that we are living a managed life, we should take caution and do some self-evaluation.
Dr. Crabb charged those of us at the conference to live on the narrow road rather than the managed life. The narrow road, as defined by Jesus in Matthew 7:13-14, leads to life and only few find it.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” This road is difficult and according to Dr. Crabb, the further down we get on the narrow road, the less people will be there.
So if this road that we are to travel is (1) narrow, (2) difficult and (3) sparsely populated, then what tools do we need on this journey to survive? I’m not immediately drawn to this way of life and curious if I’m going to be able to handle it! But just when you start to ask these questions, Jesus reminds us that it leads to life! Although a managed life is well structured and sweetly manicured, it does not lead to life. I only see it leading to organized drawers and a lengthy to-do list (because a managed life can’t afford to get behind!)
The difference between the managed life and the narrow road comes down to this: dependence. A woman who lives a managed life is dependent on her schedule and her comfort zone. She doesn’t venture out much of what she can control. Her dependence is in her own ability to master her destiny and the lives she’s responsible for. But it’s the woman who travels the narrow road that is dependent on Jesus. This woman surrenders her desire for control and admits that her efforts are in vain. She is authentic. She is teachable, she is humble, and she’s aware of her inabilities. The woman who travels the narrow road is sometimes misunderstood and not in the popular crowd but she is living the abundant life. She is not deceived by the enticements of the world that only lead to destruction. She laughs at herself when she tries to accomplish a managed life once again but is quick to return to the narrow road – because abundant life will always fulfill her soul.
At times I feel like I’m hunting for the narrow road and find myself on the highway by accident. But, as Dr. Crabb put it, your thirst for God will sustain you on the narrow road. If I’m not thirsting for Jesus and completely dependent on Him to get me through each day, then I know I’ve wondered off and it’s time to get back on the path – no matter how small it is becoming.
I've got my walking shoes on!