That’s what the rings are for

I work with a woman who is very much a control freak. If you don’t do things her way, you simply don’t do them, at least not with her. In my line of work teamwork is essential so days I am assigned to work with her are, to put it mildly, challenging. My husband is a temperament therapist. That means that he counsels people about their inborn way of interacting with people to try to get them to accentuate the strengths of their style and to diminish or eradicate the weaknesses. He could help my choleric coworker submit to the power of the Holy Spirit so He could re-channel that energy in a positive way.

This spring in my journey through the Bible I was reading Exodus and all the building specs for the tabernacle and its furnishings. One of the details had to do with transporting the Ark of the Covenant, the place where God dwelled. The tabernacle was constructed so that staves were put through rings along the sides of the Ark for the priests to carry it (Exodus 25:13-15). No one was allowed to touch the Ark of the Covenant, for the penalty was death.

Then yesterday I read the story where Uzza was transporting the Ark of the Covenent on an ox cart like the Philistines transported their goods. Why had this priest not followed the instructions God gave for carrying the Ark? Had he thought carrying the Ark on priestly shoulders was too heavy, slow, burdensome, or, perhaps too old-fashioned, tedious, boring. Hipster Uzza may have thought God needed a fancier, more up-to-date presentation? Uzza paid for these thoughts with his life. When the ox cart teetered and the Ark began to fall, Uzza lunged forward to steady it–and died. It was all so needless because that’s what the rings were for–to carry the Ark steadily without touching it!

Uzza’s demise is a solemn reminder that God does not need my help. God needs my obedience and passionate, all-consuming allegience to His agenda. His agenda is love . When my heart wants what He wants, I move another baby step closer to dying to self and am better prepared to “carry the Ark”.

Because of His grace,



5 comments on “That’s what the rings are for

  1. Yes, His agenda. Relationship, too, seems to be a good thing and He does those with the purest of love. Wish I could, too. That is a learning curve.

    What a challenge to work with someone like that! Made me wonder today, as I read, in which ways I am like your co-worker. In my duties today, I found something that is very frustrating to me, and am praying about the wisest way to handle it, given my circumstances.

    So, then, prayers for you, Dawn, as you deal with this co-worker in the midst of all the other trials you have there at work. I am inspired your diligence and desire to please God and do what is right in all this.

    • Dear A.,

      I can only guess at what you might be suggesting here that is frustrating you and making you think you may be controlling. I often thought that I might be the one who was controlling and unbending so I stood back and looked and studied what was really happening. What I discovered was that I was almost always yielding to keep peace, but what made me think I was unbending was the resentment I felt afterward when I could not have my own way. I had to give up the resentment. If I had given up the fight then I had to abide by the rules of others. However, if the stand was so important that I had to fight, then I would not yield whatever the consequences. On such occasions only a win or a dismissal ended the play for me. There are not many battles that important, but there are some. I can recount them clear back to kindergarten. Some of them were raw and hurtful, but I knew they were that important. I’m still not fighting full force in my nursing situation right now, but I can see the battle lines forming and, like Gideon, I’m still watching for those that “drink with cupped hands”. I saw two more of them today.

      Hugs from here,

  2. Such a wonderful post today, Dawn. I am facinated with your husband’s wisdom and ability to counsel people like this. I would LOVE to sit under him and learn about myself and balancing my weaknesses with my strengths! One step further, I would LOVE to learn to help others with this. I am always seeing people who have tremendous gifts in one area, but the weaknesses pull those gifts backwards, and they are never used to their full potential. Wow!!!!! Are there any books on this subject?

    Control freaks ARE hard to work with. I remember when I took over the leadership of a teen girls’ group in our church, I felt soooooo inadequate that I became a control freak myself. I know the two sound so at odds, but I could really see it. When I have confidence in what I do, I can lead, delegate, and let others help me and give good direction. If I am NOT confident, I can’t do those things and want all the responsibility on myself and figure it out as I go. Hard to explain, but I see your control freak co-worker as someone who has NO self-confidence and does not trust other’s suggestions, offers of help, etc. I could go on and on to explain that feeling, but I’m sure you understand this.

    Your wisdom and insights never cease to amaze me, Dawn. The whole thing does tie in with the Ark, the rings, and the want to control things through self. Wonderful!!!! Thank you!

    • Dear Cora,

      My husband is a licensed Christian Counselor through the Christian Counselors Association. Their counseling philosophy is based on Tim LaHaye’s book Spirit-Controlled Temperament. I just went to to see if it were still in print and it is. It appears as though his wife has published a more recent work called Spirit-Contolled Woman. The Christian Counselors Association has devised a tool called a Firo-B of the attirbutes of the 4 temperaments in LaHaye’s book. My husband says that using that tool can take 6 months off a person’s counseling as it enables him instant access into the person’s inborn self. I took the test and it had me nailed. I was astounded that he could tell me just how and why I act like I do in certain situations based on a 50-some item “test” that asks me the same 8 things over and over again in different ways to be sure I am answering as I really feel not like I think others expect me to feel.

      I’ve used the test for groups of students I would take overseas so I would be able to understand each student better when I would see certain behaviors and as a tool to divide students in work groups according to giftings and natural leanings. It is quite fascinating. Sometimes I will go to the Woman’s Shelter here in town to have classes to teach mothers how to better understand their children. I teach a blend of child development and temperament therapy. I also offer them to the test if they want to understand themselves better. I hope it has really helped them in their struggle to have life make sense. It is good, practical “stuff”.

      I think my control freak co-worker doesn’t have any confidence. She is smart as a whip and clinically excellent, but her need to be right strangles any opportunity she has to be influential. In fact, she really suffers because of it. She’s divorced, her kids don’t come around (except for money) and all of us at work cringe when we are assigned with her. She has to know she isn’t where she should be, but she can’t hear why people don’t want to be around her.

      Thanks for your words of encouragement for this post. I was wondering if the link between giving control of self over to God and obedience to carrying the Ark through the rings as a picture of giving control (of the Ark) to God would be understood. You are my wonderful encapsulater, Cora. You know there are tongues and then there are interpretations of tongues. Each gift for the edification of the church.

      Love you,

  3. Pingback: Resources for Exodus 25:13 - 15

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