Monday, December 5, 2011

Plane Thoughts & Soli Deo Gloria Party

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My sweet niece, EK, and my daughter, Hannah
I had the pleasure of sitting with these 6 year-old munchkins on the way home from Disney World.  They were, overall, fabulously behaved considering that they had been together for six days and were sleep deprived (FYI, Disney is not a relaxing kind of vacation).  Because they were so well-behaved, I actually had a few moments to think (FYI, there is not much time to gather one's thoughts at Disney, either).

As I started typing out my lllooonnngg to-do list for when I arrived home, I started praying that instead of feeling anxious about all I had to tackle, that God would give me peace and show me how to plan my days ahead leading up to Christmas.  I've learned to ask Him for the plan instead of formulating my own.  In this, I learned to be dependent upon Him in ways that my controlling nature would not normally allow me to do.  For example, in college, I would routinely leave my roommates on the couch while watching a movie I picked out because I would feel the need to start working on a paper that was due in a week (or two).  I found security in having things done.  And so, through this last semester of life, as I juggled teaching a brand new class, as Soli Deo Gloria began to grow and grow, as the amount of writing I wanted to do began to increase, God took the opportunity to take planning away from me.  As much as I wanted to plan my class weeks in advance (and towards the end at least by the Tuesday before the Monday I was teaching), God would not give me the ideas.  I had to surrender to His timetable and put my own aside.  In doing that, I learned this:
  1. I don't want to be in charge.  I could have pushed through and planned my class before the inspiration came, but the words that came from my mouth would have been my own and not God's.  Dangerous territory, for sure!  Do you ever feel like you are pushing through to get something done and it feels like it takes all the effort in the world?  Sometimes this can be due to spiritual warfare, but sometimes it's just because we are jumping ahead and not waiting.
  2. Security does not come in the form of a checked off to-do list.  Sure, it feels good to get things done, to be productive, to even be ahead of schedule.  But, if I put all my stock in that, if I depend on that to help me feel good about myself and my life, what will I be like when I get nary a check on the list?  How can I depend on God to help me accomplish what He wants me to do if I am a slave to my own agenda?
  3. He is able.  When it seems impossible, He is there.  When it seems insurmountable, He is there.  When it fails, He is there.  Surrendering to Him means allowing myself to understand that nothing goes to waste, that there is a purpose to everything, even when I can't fathom it.  Holding this worldview makes life a whole less about me and more about Him.
I believe these lessons are rooted in my foundation (although I'm sure the college student in me might rear her head a few times down the road).  As such, I've felt God releasing me to begin to think about a structure to my days (because He knows I love structure and routine).  I was so far on one side of the pendulum of begin organized that I was rigid.  These past few months have made me softer, more malleable, more open to God's reorganization.  Perhaps now I can put a bit more structure into my life without falling into the traps of controlling and rigidity. May I walk this life with softness, with freedom, and with the trust that God has me in the palm of His Hand every second of every day.

If you look into your life, are there parts of you that are rigid and resistant to His touch?  Would you be willing to soften, even if it means stepping out in faith, knowing that ultimately, His touch is gentle and loving?

SDG Community Builder:  As you visit blogs, tell your SDG sister about one sentence or phrase that she wrote that touched your heart and why it made such an impact.  

P.S.  Don't forget to link up with your permalink (the specific blog post you want us to read, not your blog address)
P.P.S  So glad I'm back in town (thank you for your prayers -- we arrived in plenty of time to make Hannah's birthday dinner!) so I can visit you this week!


  1. Hi Jen:

    So glad you had a wonderful time and a safe journey. Welcome home! (And I hope your area got some much needed rain ~ we had 3.5 inches in our rain gauge since Saturday evening.) Thank you Lord!

    Wonderful post - something I needed to hear. What you said here made an impact on me. "Do you ever feel like you are pushing through to get something done and it feels like it takes all the effort in the world? Sometimes this can be due to spiritual warfare, but sometimes it's just because we are jumping ahead and not waiting."

    So often when I have sat down to write (wanting to write a specific post or plan a series of posts) I come up blank. I do believe that it is often because I don't sit and wait on the Lord.

    Your post was a great encouragement to me today.


  2. Yes, there are times I try to push through something and it just doesn't work. I've learned to wait for God's timing the best I know how.

    Whoosh, I think I can be a little rigid toward my husband at the end of a long day...and yes, it is a willingness to soften, even step out in faith, knowing my Lord is always gentle and loving with me.

    I'm glad you had a good trip at Disney World!

  3. This is the first year in my life I have turned everything over to Him and trusted Him to be in charge. Yes. I liked being in charge because I thought I knew better than Him. How silly I was. How big and wonderful I am learning He is. Your three points encouraged my heart so.

    He is able.


    And so glad the trip went well...Disney World is definitely tiring but so much fun!!

  4. Beautiful reminder, Jen! Yes, it feels like I've been pushing a lot lately. I need to rest in Him. I'm so grateful that He is able.

  5. JF,
    I do want to be in charge, and that's a problem. Glad Disney was fun, and I like the community builder. You little community builder, you.

  6. Although I don't like to be in charge, I do enjoy giving input - - not always welcomed. Hey!
    So happy you had a lovely trip and those children are dolls!!

  7. Glad you have a great time at Disney! I'm in charge of a big ministry at my church and to be honest, I find myself counting down the days until May when I can finish (I've decided to step down.) Being in church leadership has been one of the most difficult, but most valuable experiences of my existence! I've been stretched, grown, cried, laughed, sometimes both at the same time. I'm thankful for the experience but joyfully looking ahead to what is next because I am ready - but waiting.

    Thanks for putting it into words!!!

    Natalie at Mommy on Fire

  8. Tell God your plans and hear Him laugh. That is what I was always told. I am so glad that you made it back safely!

  9. Your daughters are precious! Glad you had a good time.

  10. Sometimes a struggle to keep my plans in line with His. I think I am and then...

  11. First...your girls are just adorable...oh I know this has been a journey to flexibility and I am so with married is so different and flexibility is so important...I want my older kids to feel relaxed through this season...not bound into inflexible routines or traditions....
    Blessings as we both continue to become softer...

  12. Thanks for sharing your great lessons.


  13. Hi Jen,
    Our business is a miracle. It's not run like other business which have business plans. God told me that He had a vision for our business and so I left it in His hands! God is good! We have been in business for more than 40 years and He has blessed us abundantly!

  14. When you talk about being rigid, I can identify with that. Being soft and maleable - vulnerable - is hard for me. But like you, I'm learning that He is there and life is soooo much easier when I just trust Him. Thanks for this touching post.

  15. I love these thoughts, Jen. I think I'd entitle this "A Saga of Surrender." That's what it is when we recognize the security is not in the schedule or what we do, but in Him. Love it! And a great reminder for the season!

  16. Jen - your first point really hit home. Lately, and especially in this last week as I was rushing to get things ready for St. Nicholas Day (the day we give our kids their Christmas gifts), I teetered between striving to get things done and praying God would help me find the time. Every time I strive, I wished I'd prayed instead. ;)

  17. Such good and practical wisdom here, Jen. And I just love that image of softening (I can relate, rigid girl that I am!).

  18. I'm so glad you're home! AND that you had such a wonderful time. Thanks for the encouragement on how to deal with life.

  19. Oh - I am learning to let the planning slide, to let the list work it's way out instead of the list working me. There is much joy to be found in that!

  20. Jen, this post really speaks to me about the things God has been doing in my life. I too, find security in having things done. Sometimes God allows me to have my writing prepared in advance, but lately it's become a "last minute" thing (in my eyes). I have learned that when the words don't come, it's usually because God is telling me to wait. I want God to be in control, not me or my schedule. Thanks, Jen ~ many blessings!

  21. I, too, find security in having things done. Not long ago, my pastor said in one of his sermons, "God loves you too much to allow you to be in control of your own life." I need to repeat that to myself often!

  22. Jen,

    "if I depend on that to help me feel good about myself and my life, what will I be like when I get nary a check on the list? How can I depend on God to help me accomplish what He wants me to do if I am a slave to my own agenda?"

    That's what spoke to me, today.

    I linked up :)

    Love you, Girl.

  23. That is such a hard question. I am grateful that my Father continues to reveal parts of me that I am unwilling to relinquish to His control. I think that, for me, the most difficult part is my thought life. "Taking captive every thought" is so hard! I argue with people in my head. I defend myself. I judge. I doubt. It is definitely an area I have to keep bringing back to Him for refining.

  24. Yep, parts of me a resistant and rigid. Learning there is no peace in those traits though. God's ways always come with peace. Glad disney was fun....what sweet girls! :)

  25. Excellent post, Jen! This past week and the one to come are so chock-full of commitments -- all good ministry opportunities, but the danger, as you said so well, is trying to do it in our own flesh instead of relying on Him. Jesus taught His disciples to pray for our daily bread, for we need to rely on His provision and blessing each day. Like the manna in the desert, we can't hoard it or store it, or we'll get too far ahead of ourselves! Thanks so much for the reminder.

  26. As I start winding down the weeks at preschool before my mat leave, I am realizing I cannot get everything done there that I had planned. I have to be confident that the person they hire to replace me will be capable of taking over and doing the job in only the way they can, that they don't have to be me. Big relief (and a bit humbling, too! ;) )

  27. Hey, girls,
    Number 66 is my friend, and she just started blogging. Please stop by her place if you get a chance and say hello!

  28. I LOVE point #3, "He is able." His grace will carry me through every plan and every failure.

    And this: "...nothing goes to waste, ... there is a purpose to everything..." Well, if that doesn't help me relax and trust, what will?

  29. I'm glad you had a nice time at Disney! And those co-travelors you had sure look sweet :).

    Wise words here, Jen. I've had to learn this lesson the hard way and it seems like, every time I start a new thing, the old control freak rears hre ugly head.

    Taking this as a timely reminder, my friend!


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