After less sleep than I would have preferred, one of my one year olds woke up that morning jammie and diaper free with poop smeared all over his crib. My almost three year old spent the day whining and disobeying every direction I gave to her. My other son decided it was interesting to hide my phone in a floor vase in my foyer. It took me over an hour to find it. Fast forward through a busy conference call and countless emails zapped out as fast as possible during the kids’ nap time, but not nearly as many as I had hoped. My to do list for the day was 25 things long and I felt sidelined at every one. By 4pm, I looked around at my disaster of a house and started to wonder how long I could get away with closing the door to the bathroom for one minute to myself. The answer was 10 seconds. Constant somethings. I felt myself getting angry at my “failed day” where I had seemingly accomplished nothing except keeping everyone fed and alive. I have found myself succumbing to my weariness lately and letting it foster a feeling of overwhelming pressure on my chest. Stress.
Honestly, it seems like this past month has been more stressful than usual. There are a few additional things we have added to our plates as a family, but in the midst of a recent stress-filled sleepless night I realized my angst was over things that either…
A) I have no actual control over or
B) weren’t items that required as much focus and energy as I was expelling or
C) were actually just fine.
I took the opportunity at 4am to do some introspection and pray. At first, I’ll be honest I was hoping that as I began to pray I would finally just fall asleep, but the Lord was ready to talk to me and take my burden. He realigned my perspective, showed me what mattered on “my list” and reminded me to focus on Him and not what this world wanted. This probably sounds obvious, but these are daily struggles for me.
There are a lot of things God is leading my family through right now, but some we have taken on ourselves. Discerning the difference can be a challenge but I am reminded of Philippians 1: 9-11 (NIV):
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
Additionally, when we begin our day with an eternal perspective and not an earthly one, it is SO.MUCH.BETTER.
Another hard lesson I have to learn time and again is that God will raise up someone to do what He needs done in the world. Sometimes it’s me, oftentimes it is not. I have to tell myself, “Sit down, Pride. Other people have amazing gifts and whatever it is that God has called YOU too is enough and it is so much more than you can dream. What God has for you is GOOD in the full meaning of the word. And you aren’t in this alone.”
Our goal here in this life is about furthering the Kingdom of God, and guess what? The Lord has already planned for us what He wants us to do, we just have to listen and obey. It’s liberating really, not having to come up with all of these grand schemes and do everything on our own. I just put Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) on my chalk board in the bathroom:
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
I just love that verse. We are ALL God’s handiwork and HE has a plan for us all set out if we would just let Him guide each day. Seriously. I’m not saying we shouldn’t work hard, or be busy, or feel a little out of our element sometimes.
Instead, we should capture each thought, each task, each day, as one that God has prepared for us. We should have relief from stress knowing God is in control, not us. He will equip you for what He has called you to do, He will show you what is important in your day and what is not and He alone will bring you joy.
We are called to meet His standards, not the world’s. His aren’t easier standards, but they are different. I can promise you this: we will still have tough days and trials in this world of all kinds, big and small. The difference is that when we adjust our perspective and seek insight and wisdom in the tasks we have set before us, God will guide you to what He has given you to accomplish- and it is good.