Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Philippians 4:7-86-7, MSG*
Tuesday was a full day.
It was my first day filling in for a friend at her work, and that meant keeping a lot of mental balls in the air—not an easy task for someone who’s easily distracted. Between learning where to find everything and what to do with it, what I’d naively expected to be a morning slid halfway into the afternoon.
Not a big deal… except I’d planned to spend said afternoon cooking a large pot of spaghetti sauce and making apple-rice pudding for my writers’ group’s supper meeting. And writing this blog post.
Okay, cancel the sauce and open a can. Easy. Print the document I’m supposed to critique for the meeting before starting the pudding, so I don’t forget.
Open the email program to find the document. Also find urgent prayer requests I need to respond to under my hat of prayer team lead for The Word Guild. (And bless my wonderful assistant who’s already at work on this!)
So by the time the rice is cooking, I know I’m going to be late for my meeting. So much for going early to help set up. And I can’t reach our hostess on the phone.
Before you start playing tiny violins to accompany my suffering, I need to say it was a good day. Not bad, just hectic. And I’m not complaining.
We’ve all had days like this or worse.
What’s encouraging me this evening is that for once, instead of tensing up and trying to “hurry harder” I was able to remember the verses from James that talk about embracing what comes and being eager to cooperate with what God is doing, rather than fighting the tools He may want to use to shape us.
I’d read these verses recently, and I think our conversation here last Friday about using Scripture to retrain our minds made the truths stick.
When uncertainty and self-doubt asked (several times!) why I thought I could do this job, and self chimed in “I don’t want to do this anymore,” I remembered that God is quite able to help me learn and serve with a cheerful heart.
And He did. I even saw Him in the encouraging way the others treated me.
When perfectionism and fear murmured about my potential mistakes and what was left undone, it was enough to know I’m still learning and I did my best.
Time was passing, but I knew I was where God had me to be and instead of trying to mentally slow the clock (you’ve done that, right?) I trusted Him to arrange the rest of the day.
Well it all got done, even this blog post after my meeting—for which I was late and had to resist the guilt that goes with that. I’m tired, late getting to bed, but I feel good. Whole. Like I got it right even though a performance review of the day would reveal imperfect work.
It seems a tad self-focused to share this, but it’s not about me getting something right. It’s about God and discovering what relying on Him can do. We can each do that, and sometimes listening to one person’s story can encourage us about our own.
Father, thank You so much for Your grace today that enabled me to rely on You instead of on my self-defeating behaviour patterns. I’m sorry this is such a rare thing, and I pray in faith that You will finish the work You’ve begun in me—begun in each of us. Remind us of Your Word, help us to choose to believe what You say instead of what our inner critic claims to be true.
Many artists sing “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” but one of my favourite versions is by Third Day. Here’s their amazing medley: “Give/Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus/With Or Without You/Your Love Oh Lord” from their Offerings 2 CD.
*The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson.