“We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.” ~ Proverbs 16:9
The look on my husbands face was priceless. It was a look of confusion as if what I had just proclaimed had been said in another language. In an effort to make sense of my thoughts, I often run the one million ideas by him to bring some sanity to what feels insane in my membrane.
“I’m so frustrated today.” I blurted out loud and proudly.
As if my own frustration would bring justice to my fuming past him as he rested in his recliner. I had an agenda for today that wasn’t checking off my “to-do” list fast enough. Honestly, the lists are long and unending.
When I declared my frustration in my non-accomplishments, I realized I spend a lot of time talking about the things I want to do but then get distracted in the “not-actually-doing” them or I run away from the work in the completing of projects.
Until today, I watched the nightly news.
I don’t have one of those empty “boxes” in my mind like you guys do. Think of the brain divided in about 10 (at least) compartments. Now multiply that times 1000. That’s me, my brain, my thought processes, my to-do lists and the way I am wired mentally. Now add 100 emoticons to each box for all of the above. I have a lot of spinning plates in the air like one of those spinner-guys who travel with the circus.
There are no empty spins here people, there are no empty boxes, there isn’t a list that doesn’t have at least five things on it. This isn’t a multiple choice question where I can just focus on one answer. It’s “all of the above.” Can I get a witness ladies?
So back to today, I was frustrated in that I wanted to accomplish so much today. All I could see were messes in my writing room, on my desk, in my kitchen, in my closet, in my journal, in my prayers, in my emotions, in my “to-do” list, in my personal planner planning the “Best Year Ever”. So far, today didn’t have the look of being successful or completely accomplishing one thing.
So I declared it a pajama day. Then I changed clothes to painfully do some Pilates. Then I washed my sheets on my bed. One task done.
Next, I started to write something today. Jeff Goins writes every day with ease, Jon Acuff posted about fears today, I need to be posting everyday to call myself a full time writer. Oh yeah about that book project? I had a messy pile of papers on the corner of my desk that were calling for some much needed sorting and organizing too. And then there is that chapter three that’s weighing heavy on my heart. I can’t eeek out those words just yet.
Next, I started hanging clothes and folding underwear. Then I put them away. It was time for a snack. Ever think about how many calories you burn while just thinking about exercise? Not as many as you would like…
Next, I made an SOS phone call to my mentor friend and writer-encourager buddy to catch up. She helps me get over my self-imposed separation anxiety. I needed to connect with someone who “gets me” and my way of thinking. I also needed someone to validate my frustration of all those plates I was trying to keep up on my billion tiny spinning dowel sticks. (Those really exist!)
Next, it’s time to make the bed, I just heard the dryer buzz telling me so. Then I get hungry. Broccoli time! (Turns out steamed broccoli is kind of delicious!) and I still have piles of mess everywhere. Then my phone starts blowing up with texts over something happened last week. Then I open another emotional box to put more lists into. Oh and did I tell you this morning I spent an entire hour taking a test online about what my emotional IQ was?
Yeah, I spent an hour doing nothing but finding out that I have emotions.
Guess what? I have emotions! The results don’t lie because I scored high! Now the trick is to use them properly. Which leads me to talking about how I have been praying through Galatians 5:22-23 to learn the fruit of the Spirit, today was a lesson on self-control. Then my friend suggested another prayer idea.
“Let God order your day.” Oh yeah, I learned that once while running. So when did I drop the baton on that reminder? Seriously.
Then I watched the nightly news and saw the heartbreaking news about Christians being martyred for their faith. I thought about how we are all one breath away from meeting Jesus, if you know Him as Savior, and then I thought about all my spinning plates. All of a sudden, I heard the sound of crashing.
The sound of the Spirit’s voice came in like a swoosh and cleared my agenda. Lists for the busy things we tend to focus on only distract us. Cancer steals our joy and steals our hope. Chronic illnesses suck the life right out of our sails. Smiles are erased with the pain and suffering of others. Happiness becomes harder and harder to achieve.
But yet I have hope when I watch the nightly news. God never promised easy, but He promised His presence, His goodness, and He promised to never leave us alone. So when I see the messes, the messiness, the merciless acts of others, it’s all I can do to bend a knee to plead for those who are hurting in SO many ways that I may never know.
My dreams don’t even make the agenda now at this point. I’m not sure but some days I tend to take on the world and it’s entire wealth of heavy problems. Surely I’m not the only one who has a 1000 mental boxes that are overflowing and overwhelmed with tasks that need to be accomplished. What I know and believe though is that God’s power comes to earth to shape our faith in the days like this and weeks we all have had. It’s my calling to beg the mercy of Heaven, if just for one more day so that someone might know God more and more today.
If you need to get a reality check on what’s important or maybe just one glorious thing you need to accomplish today to make yourself feel good about your day, just turn on the nightly news and look outside yourself to see how the world around us is a hurting world, and how hurt people are still hurting people.
That did it for me. Dreams box? It’s been checked. There’s no tidiness there. That’s okay to let one day slip by when feeling a little underwhelmed. Give yourself permission to just eek out a frustration or two. When it comes to accomplishments, it’s God’s will at work that conforms with my agenda as my heart transforms to His spoken Word.