In high school there was a dreaded assignment that used to assassinate any chance of actual academic advancement. The assignment was simply known as the “group project”. It turns out that being assigned to work with people that you wouldn’t offer a ride in the rain, let alone share a lunch table with, doesn’t usually yield itself to positive academic experiences. As a young teenager I learned two very important lessons. #1 I don’t play well with others. And #2 I can fake playing well with others really well. I learned the art of taking over the group project, completing it, and then presenting the project as an actual group effort. In high school I was a hero. I did all the work and required nothing from anyone else. My idea of group projects was cutting out the group. As I moved about life, I retained this same mentality throughout, and I began to notice something. I was doing everything, and I was resenting everyone around me for it. I had taken over the project and yet I was angry that no one was helping. I took over raising the kids and making household decisions. I took over paying bills and managing the finances. I took over dishes and yardwork and cleaning and laundry. I took over PTA and Parent Class helpers. I took over everything I did. I just wanted to manage it. I found myself in a position where I felt isolated, neglected, unappreciated and alone. Everything was flowing beautifully, but I was dying on the inside. I was an island that became beautifully managed but completely untouchable. I resented doing everything that I had taken over. I hated managing the emotions of being overwhelmed by the choices I had made. I never allowed anyone to truly be part of my group. I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to be the woman that looks well put together on the outside and is living in deserted isolation on the inside. I don’t want to do it all. What I know today is that I just have to be smart about who I choose to be in my group. Who I choose to let on my island, and who I trust enough to be vulnerable enough to say, “I can’t do it on my own and I need you.” Because I can’t do it on my own and I do need you. Today I’m learning to accept love as an exercise in trust. Trust enough to be weak, vulnerable, not just managing life, but participating in it with someone. A team. Today I believe in the power and strength of teamwork when you know your teammates biggest strengths, and deepest weaknesses, and you trust in the overshadowing grace of God to fill in the gaps. Today my group project is to no longer merely exist but to thrive. Let’s do this.