Lately, my weeks have been a series of non-stop interruptions. I haven’t been able to do any of the things I’d planned on doing. I haven’t sorted through those teetering stacks of papers leftover from my son’s first year of kindergarten. I haven’t started exercising. And I haven’t conquered the edits I needed to have done in time for a conference I’m headed to.
I just want to crumple up the whole summer and toss it in the wastebasket.
But God has this bittersweet way of reminding me when I need an attitude adjustment. A friend who has been battling cancer for years, encouraged me with some kind, gentle words. He didn’t mean for me to take it like this, but after he talked to me I felt like a jerk for moaning about my children acting up. Then, not quite at the lesson-relearned stage, I tried to give a friend the ol’ hang in there boost (thinking she was just frustrated with her kids like I had been). But here her husband- not even 40 years old, was at home recovering from a major heart attack.
I wish it didn't take things like this to fix my attitude. It makes me want to get down from the table and say, “Okay, God. I don’t want to play. Clearly, I still don’t understand the rules yet. I don’t think I’m ever going to get it. Just leave me out and let the others play.”
And that’s when God says, “Why are you leaving now? I just got everything set up so we could play.” Those tender eyes, gently chiding. Those strong hands stretched out, waiting to clasp mine, so I can be pulled back into the game.
Sometimes I feel so human. Like Peter.
“What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can't be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God's command is necessary.”—Romans 7:15-16 The Message
Staying here, in this space, limits God.
God can work around me, but in order to work with me- to get me back in the game, I have to get out of this place. Not even God can reason with a child in the middle of a temper tantrum. It’s time to seek forgiveness. It’s time to let God explain the rules, again. I have to seek out God’s desire for my life, so that I can get back in the game, even if it means I won’t be winning on this turn.
[Verse 10a Paraphrased] "When the time is right, and not a day before, I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” – Jeremiah 29:10-11 The Message
The game plan?
Here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out.—Romans 12:1-2a The Message