This morning I woke up with a jolt. My phone was tangled up in my blankets – lately I’ve taken to fallen asleep mid conversation with people and usually with my phone still in my hand. Once I found it I unlocked it and checked the time – 8:30am. Dang it. There is no way I would be making it to work on time. I fell back against my pillow and began beating myself up – how could I have slept through all SEVEN of my alarms (the first one goes off at 5:30am and then they continue in 15 minute blocks until 7am at which point I am almost always showered, dressed, and sitting at my kitchen table eating breakfast with my bible and coffee in front of me).
Not today. And I have so much to do – I’m starting my day behind already. I began the fast spiral of berating myself for these silly, stupid, mindless, careless mistakes, and the list could go on and on. I called in to work and told them I couldn’t come in for my 2 hour shift because something had come up – something HAD come up, something called “I have a paper to write, a large project to complete, and a minuet to compose all within the next 10 days!”
I stumbled through the motions of fixing my coffee, taking Rachi out, and sat down at my kitchen table with my prayer journal, a pen, and my bible placed in front of me. I began angrily scribbling in my journal – frantic prayers of “help me fix this” or “help me not be such a screw up” and on and on. Once I finished my rambling “prayer” which, as it turns out, looks more like a list of everything that I think is wrong with me – as if God didn’t already know haha, I flipped opened Max Lucado’s daily devotional book titled, “Grace for the Moment” and the first thing I read on the page was this:
“Lift your head out of the confusion of earth long enough to to hear the solution of heaven.”
Followed by these two tidbits of advice:
1. you can’t be anything you want to be, but you can be everything God wants you to be.
2. we are not to live rightly in order to be God’s. We are to live rightly because we already are His.
The first place my mind went after reading all of that was, “Yes, but…(yada, yada, yada down the negative rabbit hole we go).” but thankfully my heart knows the truth better than my head does sometimes and it yanked on the reigns and pulled me back to what I know to be reality.
Yes. Period. Not ifs, ands, or buts. Just a simple, “Yes, Lord.” And once I was back down on solid ground I had to chuckle to myself – God ALWAYS knows. He knows what we need and He will always provide it – even if it’s through something as simple as words on the page in front of us.
When my mom visited me back at the end of February, she bought me some fresh flowers. Admittedly those flowers are still sitting in a vase on my bookshelf. They are long past being dead and are just a really sad sight. I couldn’t help but think that those flowers look like how I feel right now – it’s the end of a LONG semester and things are crazy busy and stressful and to be honest I feel a little (lot) wilted and dried up. To a certain extent – I think that’s normal, particularly in the situation I’m in with being a full time student in school.
But it also doesn’t have to be quite so extreme. I have this really bad habit of thinking I need to be able to do things on my own. I have always been VERY independent – to a fault and now I find that that’s a very hard habit to break. It’s one thing to be independent enough to move away from home, to take on an adult life, to be comfortable doing your own thing and being in your own company, but it becomes so dangerous when you are so independent that you refuse to acknowledge when you need help from others or when you simply need to rest and be still. Self sufficiency is a trap that the devil uses to convince us that we are perfectly capable and alright to do life solo, only leaning on God with the occasional prayer or worship song. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
When I woke up this morning, my first thoughts were those of negativity – berating myself for what I saw as being a mistake or “bad”. But that’s not the person I want to be. Mistakes happen – I didn’t intend to sleep through seven alarms and have to call out of work because my entire day got delayed. When I read those words in my devotional my first thought wasn’t to accept them and absorb them, it was to argue with them or bargain with them. Again, that’s not who I want to be – that’s Satan sneaking in and convincing me that I know best and that I need to be better, more self sufficient, more, more, more.
I want to live and be an example of the spirit-led life and the spirit-led life doesn’t not panic; it trusts. I want to learn to wait, to be silent, to listen for His voice. I want to cherish stillness and sensitize myself to His touch – not just when it’s blatantly obvious in the grandest of miracles, but even when it’s tucked away between the words on the page in front of me.
One of the best ways to start living my life in the ways I truly want to involves redirecting my first thoughts of each day. A goal I want to set (and follow up with) is thanking God immediately upon waking up each morning – it doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out, elaborate thing – it can be just as simple as saying, “Thank you, Lord, for this day!” Making that seemingly small change might not change my entire life – or even the entire day in front of me, but I believe that it will at least set me off on the right foot. It says to Satan first thing, “This day belongs to God. I know I can’t do it alone, but I’m turning to JESUS for support, not the ways of the world.”
And let it be known – if God permits a challenge in our lives at any point during our days, He will ALWAYS provide us with the grace to meet it. We need not live in fear, self doubt, or loathing, for the Lord our God has sent His son into the world to die for our sins. We are redeemed – forgiven!
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness will be added to you.”
When I rise, give me Jesus.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
― C.S. Lewis