What a glorious day! I have been sitting in the backyard this morning, soaking up the sunshine after several rainy, cool days. The flowers in my yard are gorgeous after all the rain; you can almost see them growing and stretching in the warmth of this morning's sun. The birdfeeders are full and the birds, after a few minutes, decided to ignore me and go about their business as usual, allowing me the pleasure of watching them from my seat nearby. Truly, a beautiful morning to be alive. As I enjoyed the beauty of God's creations, I spent some quiet time in the additional company of a few of my favorite devotionals and God's Word. One of the devotionals that I read regularly is called Jesus Calling. I read several passages this morning, but one of them particularly spoke to me, so I thought I would share it here. The passages in this devotional are all written in the first person, as if Jesus were speaking directly to us. Here is the entry from May 6, followed by the suggested scriptures:
Do not search for security in the world you inhabit. You tend to make mental checklists of things you need to do in order to gain control of your life. If only you could check everything off your list, you could relax and be at peace. But the more you work to accomplish that goal, the more things crop up on your list. The harder you try, the more frustrated you become.
There is a better way to find security in this life. Instead of scrutinizing your checklist, focus your attention on My Presence with you. This continual contact with Me will keep you in My Peace. Moreover, I will help you sort out what is important and what is not, what needs to be done now and what does not. Fix your eyes not on what is seen (your circumstances), but what is unseen (My Presence).
This really struck a chord with me. I don't know about you, but there are a million things on my list of things that I need to/ should do. Some are things that I hope to do today (get my filthy car washed, empty the dishwasher, run a load of laundry, return a phone call, etc.) and some are things that hang over my head that I need to do "sometime" (clean out the file cabinet, reorganize the playroom, get frames for the posters I want to hang, call that long-distance friend to re-connect etc.) Sometimes I successfully stay on top of the first list, but there is always that nagging feeling that I am never quite finished. As the devotional suggested, the sense of always living in a place of "not quite finished" can rob me of peace. Peace that Jesus says is my birthright in Him (John 16:33)
I love the message of this little devotional. Essentially, it is asking me to examine from whose to-do list I am operating? Whose agenda am I following? Mine, my spouse, my kids, my friends? Who or what owns the key to my peace? Clearly, we all have responsibilities that we need to honor and work that needs doing, yet I am freed by the idea that resting, walking, living, abiding in God's Presence can help me determine a better way. And, it seems to me, that consulting God's to-do list allows me the opportunity to contribute to His Kingdom, to join in His work, to be part of something bigger. As I get a little further along on this journey with the Lord, I am learning to anticipate the adventure of holding onto my own agenda a little more loosely. When I am willing to be interrupted as I work through my "list," I often find that God has something much more wonderful planned for my day. And strangely enough, when I abide in Him, I tend to get done the things that really need doing.