Life pulls me like crazy in so many directions. It can be relentless, and confusing. Which way is the right way? And even when I’m so sure I know the destination God has in mind, I can’t always see the path from here to there.
The second half of 2016 has brought new things into my life– new ministries, new relationships, new challenges, new battles. I have felt like I was in a constant battle with time, with the hours in a day and my body’s need for rest and my heart’s need for daily time with Jesus and my family’s need for me present and my home’s need for someone to actually clean it occasionally.
In this big game of tug-of-war, I have been the rope. Everyone just grab a limb and pull.
Figuring out which way is God’s way for me has been hard. I spent many weeks in August feeling like I was drowning. My house was a mess. I couldn’t keep up with my responsibilities to teach my kids, to minister in my church, to help my husband. All the helpful blog posts about how to manage my time by cutting out a bunch of stuff really didn’t seem very helpful. Every single thing that I was struggling to make time for was something I believed God had given me to do, here in this season of life.
Which meant there had to be a way.
And you know what? There is a way. A way for me to not feel like I’m gasping for breath, barely treading water. A way for me not to panic when I look at the calendar and see something written on every single day for two weeks straight. A way for me to keep my home, if not showroom-clean, at least clean enough that I don’t feel like I’m losing my mind.
I’m not here to tell you how to clean your house. There are people who are way more qualified and experienced at time management, home management, and, well, life management. The point of this post isn’t to give you Five Brilliant Tips on how to do a million things every day.
The point of this post is to tell you that God cares about your struggles. He cares about you when you’re drowning in a sea of Crucially Important Things To Do. He cares about you when the very thought of the day ahead sends you into panic, when you’re totally stressed out, when you’re exhausted and about six inches past the end of your rope.
When those feelings came to the Tiny Town Parsonage, God was here, caring for me. He had already begun to place in my life the resources I needed to get things into focus. He had already begun the work of fixing the problem. He had called me to do this work, and He had a plan for me, for my schedule, for my daily life.
I just had to ask. I had to ask for wisdom to see His way out of the mess, His path. I had to ask for wisdom to recognize the things in my life that were hindering my ability to function. I had to ask for a willing heart to do the work needed. I had to ask for physical strength and for a submissive spirit.
And then I had to do. I couldn’t just read the book about home management. I had to actually follow her instructions and find the best way to keep my home clean. I had to combine wisdom from different books, from wise women in my life, to come up with a reasonable way to do the work. I had to submit my ideas about what I thought I needed and try something new. I still have to do this. Every day.
Friends, this applies to so much more than my time management catastrophes. When life is overwhelming, there is a Rock that is higher than we are– high above the storms and the crazy. He does not move, does not shake, does not change. His Word has the wisdom we need. He puts into our lives the people and the resources we need to get through every storm.
But we have to be willing to put one foot in front of the other and do the hard work of obedience. We have to be willing to live within the boundaries God sets up for our lives. And within those boundaries we are able to flourish, to live freely, one day at a time.
For me, in the area of food, it means counting calories. And in the area of using my time, it means a daily schedule. It can seem like chains, but all it really is is another way of binding my heart to Jesus. Saying His priorities are important, my day belongs to Him, and I want to use my time to glorify Him and bring joy to His heart.
There is peace and freedom in obedience. A clearer view of His face is worth all the work of clearing away the brambles.
Jesus is worth every single sacrifice.