|My sweet niece, EK, and my daughter, Hannah|
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:
- 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.
- 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?
- 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?
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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!