According to my to-do list, I’m failing at Summer 2017.
I have blown so many self-imposed deadlines. Major goals on my list remain unmet. Even small projects around the house have been backburnered. With the kids home, my day is a symphony of constant interruptions, sounding like the clatter of breakfast, the rushing toward music lessons, the whirring of the washing machine.
And then we got new baby kittens on our farm. I am completely obsessed with them. (Sidenote: Baby kittens are proof that God is in the business of premeditated cuteness — the kind of cuteness that inspires embarrassing acts of adult aggression like squeezing small animals tighter than one should.)
But I digress (which – now that I think of it — is exactly the right word for my summer: a constant digression in a hundred different directions.)
In an effort to stay sane, I have prayed the same prayer every single morning this summer: “God, help me to make choices today that honor Your plans for my life.”
I have been determined to follow God’s agenda, rather than trying to convince Him to help me carry out mine. This is no small task for a woman with a rather robust inner control freak.
When I pray that prayer, there are times when I secretly hope God will empower me to plow through my to-do list, rather than equip me for His.
But God is totally onto me. I’ll bet you know the old saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” Yep. That sums up my summer.
Sure there have been moments of terrific productivity. But often, my daily prayer has led me miles away from the office.
As it turns out, this summer has been exactly what my agenda-driven heart needed. Which is to say, my soul needed a place to breathe. My soul needed days of cute kittens; impromptu picnics with the girls; FunHouse mirrors with my bestie that make my behind look like it deserves its own time zone; kayak rides; and petunias – alongside those satisfying days of productivity.
I can’t simply walk away from my work as a writer and a speaker, of course. But I have surrendered my agenda to the God of The Calendar. I choose to be sustained by the belief that God will help me complete the work He has called me to do. In His time.
Maybe you’ve been like me – caught between your grand plans and your actual life. Maybe you’ve been feeling a little panicky that what you intended to do, simply hasn’t gotten done, even though we’re halfway through July. The closet hasn’t been organized. The landscaping beds are overrun with weeds. That big deadline you set for yourself is proving itself insanely impossible.
Maybe what we all really need right now is a Mid-Summer Manifesto, to remind us that the God of The Calendar has this all under control.
Let’s do this.
A Mid-Summer Manifesto
Today, I refuse to be held back, chained down, worked up, or shoved ahead. I am committed to God’s agenda, God’s purposes, and ask for God’s peace, so I can pursue God’s glory.
I abstain from useless brooding, worrisome thinking, frantic pushing, or jittery striving. I want the mind of Christ, not the mind of chaos.
I yearn to make choices every day that honor His plans for my life, rather than stubbornly sticking to my hour-by-hour plans. I hereby sentence my inner control freak to life in prison, with no parole. That way, I can truly be free.
I will need His strength to do this.
So I come to my Lord weak. And in this weakness, I know that I can borrow His strength. I understand that the strength He gives was costly for Him, but free for me, bought at the cross. But He didn’t stop with the gift of His strength. He also purchased with His blood the following: forgiveness, grace, hope, and forever love. All of the above are renewable resources, available each day to ANYONE in need. (Which is pretty much all of us.)
I believe in strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow. I am confident that — based on God’s unbroken promises since the beginning of time — He will provide both.
Today, I stand on those promises.
I’m counting on the Lord Jesus Christ to come through. I’m counting on Him alone to keep me moving forward. I will keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, instead of diverting my focus to the following distractions: my circumstances, my problems, my agenda, or my own good works.
And no matter what my to-do list tries to tell me, I refuse to believe that I am failing at Summer 2017. Because I submit myself to Jesus — for His great purposes, and for His great glory.