When I opened the pages of Jennifer Dukes Lee’s newest book, It’s All Under Control, I was uncertain about how this book might impact my own life. I was no longer working the non-stop schedule that had filled my life for multiple decades. That was no longer the pattern of my days; but even as a retired person my interests and passions could inch toward filling up a week’s calendar.
Throughout many pages I found myself saying “amen” because what Jennifer described about her daily life was not that dissimilar to what mine had always been. Everyone would say I was “so busy” and I hated hearing those words, but to anyone watching me I knew that was exactly what appeared to be the life I was living day in and day out.
It also struck me that when the Lord began to speak to me about retirement a year before I did so, one thing I consistently heard from Him was his desire that I be more available to Him. I thought I knew very well what He meant, but I also squirmed a bit since I had been involved in full-time ministry and work for most of my adult life. Those were good things, things I was called to be and do; but they also kept my days and weeks tightly scheduled. Gone were the more leisurely quiet times or time to spontaneously connect with a neighbor. I also knew my creative thinking was starting to ebb.
Page by page Jennifer gave me a close-up view of the underpinnings of those years and allowed me to revisit how various decisions had added more busyness to a full schedule.
My years as a clinical counselor in a Christian private practice and also on staff supervising various ministries of a large church also confirmed what Jennifer was saying. Nearly any woman I spoke with described herself in one of these two words (if not both): “busy” or “tired.” Somehow each one had a sense that she had to make everything in her life work with her home, her husband, her kids, or other relatives, and then be on hand for anything her church community needed. She felt guilty about ever saying ”no” and much of the joy of serving Christ was dimming a bit more each day.
Jennifer speaks to all of this and more, but I especially appreciate that she hasn’t written this book as a “how to,” but you will learn a lot about how to effect change in your life. (I confess that sort of book is not my cup of tea.) She has identified the culprits that bring many (if not most) women to a place where they are feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and guilty they are not doing more. Sometimes these women are not even sure how they managed to get so far down “the yellow brick road.”
You may not self-identify as a controlling person, but when life starts to get out of control and our commitments exceed our ability to meet them, we all tend to start trying to bring order back into things. Sometimes it can feel like trying to stanch the blood flowing out of a wound.
Our challenge can be to know when to let go and when to hang on. And guess what? Jennifer wrote a chapter on each of those options.
The blessing woven throughout each page is the openness of Jennifer to share her own journey with these same things and how the Lord began to speak into her heart and life to help her rekindle her ability to rest. She shares what she has learned and is still learning and invites the reader to join her to walk together.
This book has something for nearly everyone and it also has a companion Bible study as well. Check it out and find another woman who might want to share in the journey as well.