This week has lots of moving parts. My kids are finishing out the schoolyear, taking finals and doing work to get moving toward Summer. My daughter is graduating high school this week, so we’re hosting a graduation party at the end of the week. Additionally, there are some things at work that need some flexibility because of deadlines and workload. So all of this is requiring me to be flexible to adapt to these moving parts.
At the same time, being flexible doesn’t mean I get a free pass to be irresponsible. Indeed, being flexible lets me do what’s responsible in different and creative ways. So I’m adjusting my schedule, shifting days and events, so that I can continue to be responsible and attentive to the things that are priorities in my life: God, family and work. With God’s help, we can be both responsible and flexible in ways we don’t always consider 🙂
In theory, I plan my days & schedule stuff purposefully. So when my plans for the day get interrupted, I move to Plan B. And there are some days, when Plan B gets adjusted to Plan C, Plan D & . . . . You get the point. And a person could get very flustered with so many plan changes.
Or, a person could trust in our All-Wise God, knowing that His plans are better than our plans. To achieve that level of flexibility, it’s helpful to believe that God is loving & looking out for our best interests. It’s also helpful to recognize that our plans will never be better than Gods plans. So if you’re a planning kind of person, let’s be certain that we hold onto God more tightly than our plans 🙂
How can I get this done? Where will I get the time for that? How should I use this money or talent that I have? Have you asked God these questions? Often, such questions are anchored in the requirement to trust God
And sometimes trusting God can be both challenging & frustrating! I’m in Cambodia for a super quick trip. This morning I was trying to figure out all of the moving parts for today, since my flight leaves tonight. I couldn’t make everything I needed to accomplish today, fit into a schedule. So I decided to trust God when I left the hotel this morning & I’m pleasantly surprised at how well God has put together this day!!
Trusting God can be a daily & even an hourly discipline, based on Proverbs 22:19. And this trust is an essential ingredient to a closer walk with God!
Do you have mindless habits? All of us have things that we do without giving much thought to them, such as brushing our teeth, driving home, morning routines, etc. It can be really helpful to have these kind of routines, but sometimes they’re counterproductive.
For example, in Luke 10, Martha & Mary had Jesus come to their house for dinner. Based on Martha’s behavior in other stories in the Gospels, it seems like she fell into the routine of cooking, serving & being busy with getting stuff done. All of these things aren’t inherently wicked, but if we allow our routines to sabotage our fellowship with Jesus, then they become more of a hindrance than a help.
Let’s always remember that Jesus said in Matthew 6:33 to seek His kingdom first & we’ll have what we need! Let’s be sure our routines reinforce our intimacy with Jesus rather than distract us in mindless disconnect 🙂
When my kids were younger, we used to sing a song about the wheels on the bus going round & round, the wipers on the bus going swish, swish, swish, . . . etc. you get the gist.
Let’s be certain that we allow Jesus to hold our daily lives together. Indeed, we would be wise to come to Jesus everyday for maintainable, schedule tuning, workload help & of course regular oil changes with the Holy Spirit!
My husband and I have different perspectives about what it means to be “on time” for an appointment. He thinks that being “on time” for an appointment is sitting in a chair at the appointment 5minutes before that scheduled time. I think that being “on time” means that I’m in the parking lot of the building or near vacinity at the scheduled time. This discrepancy in opinions has created just a little tension in our 20+ years of marriage – ok, maybe more than just a little tension, say I with a wink.
Generally, I get myself to places I need to be mostly around the right time but this strategy doesn’t always work out so well for me, of course. There have been occassions when being late has caused me to miss important things, created unnecessary angst and I’ve burned a few meals because I haven’t paid attention to the time.
I’m thankful that God is always “on time.” While we might think that God is late or last minute, let’s be abundantly clear that God is in charge of time, so maybe “late” is only a human experience. Indeed, Martha & Mary thought that Jesus was too late to heal their brother Lazarus when he died. In one sense, Jesus was too late for healing, but in another sense Jesus was right on time for resurrection. Let’s be certain that we keep our plans adaptable to God’s schedule!
In the meantime, I’m endeavoring to work on that “on time” thing.
My husband is really good at planning all kinds of stuff. Currently, he’s planning our family vacation, a roadtrip from Denver to Washington DC to sightsee and explore our nation’s capital. I deeply appreciate his skill in planning and there have been innumerable occasions where his planning abilities have bailed me out, thank ya Jesus!
On the other side of planning is non-planning, or maybe the euphemism is spontaneity. This can be a fun way to do life, but risky to be sure. Whether you’re a planner or non-planner type person, let’s be sure that we are endeavoring to follow the Holy Spirit, full stop. Sometimes in our planning we can get so locked into the plan, that we shut out any guidance or direction from the Holy Spirit along the way. On the other side, the lack of planning can leave us in a place where we can’t follow the Holy Spirit, due to a lack of resources, time, energy or ability.
For the people who are planners, be careful to allow the flexibility in your plans to make adjustments should the Holy Spirit lead in a different direction. For the people who are non-planners, be careful to keep yourself with the resources where you can follow the Holy Spirit.
I’m writing this post as a total hypocrite on this topic because I’m currently the absolute WORST at this, but the topic of margin is nevertheless really important. When my kids write out a long paragraph, it helps me heaps when they leave some space around their writing so my eyes can get a break from the deciphering exercise 🙂
I think this is also true with our daily living. When we pack each day to the uttmost with events, activities, appointments, responsibilities, demands, etc then it gets difficult to:
see where we’re going & ultimately achieve goals that are genuinely important
rest – even our sleep becomes fitful
listen – the clutter of an overfull life can easily drown out the still small voice from God that we so desperately need
be present & our relationships move into shallow mode – sometimes necessary but not healthy for the longterm
Dear Sarah, please keep some margins in your life 🙂
We’ve all had experiences where we have disappointed someone’s expectations & let someone down. Sometimes we may feel this way about God – that God isn’t measuring up to what we expected or desire. But I’ve been reading about Martha, Mary & Lazarus’ resurrection in John 11 & there have been some really helpful things I’ve noticed. If you get a chance, please read this chapter & in the meantime, here are a few things to consider:
*Martha & Mary wanted healing but Jesus was into resurrection. Perhaps we should consider that God has something way more than what we are desiring
*gap management – there was a fair amount of time between Lazarus being sick & Jesus raising him from the dead. In this gap, the relationship Martha & Mary had with Jesus took some very significant quantum leaps!
* Martha & Mary came out of this experience with more faith in Jesus & Jesus came out of this with more glory; may our lives grow & faith & giving glory to Jesus!
*perhaps God would like to exchange some of our murky human thinking for glorious divine illumination 🙂
My husband & I were discussing our family’s schedule for the next 2 weeks & simply put, its a BUSY season. When I looked up the word busy in the thesaurus, here are some of the words that I found & they seem fairly accurate: occupied, active, engaged, unavailable, full. My challenge is that when I get “busy”, I tend to become less present in my relationships & it seems like I can be very fragmented – little pieces of me spread everywhere.
But here’s my thinking about this season & a possible solution to the frenzy potential: If I can make myself “present” to God (offer myself to Him as a gift / sacrifice), then I trust that He will structure my time, the things I need to get done & the energy to do His work. It has been my experience that when I remain present with God throughout the various activities & demands in my life, I have more peace, I’m more productive & my relationships are less shakey. I like the practice of integrating God throughout each day, activity, conversation & chore – seems like I’m less “busy” when I do this 🙂