These past 6 weeks, I have been overwhelmed with a busy spirit. With teaching a new grade and starting from scratch, keeping house, training an active puppy, planning my best friend's baby shower, serving at church, and investing in my marriage, (all things I willingly chose!) the only way I feel I can get half my stuff done is if I'm racing everywhere and always working on something.
When the devastating situations have arisen with each week seeming to bring another, I only can seem to function by keeping busy, which is what the world tells us to do after experiencing any type of hardship--a break up, a diagnosis, a death, etc. Keep your mind off your problems, by hiding behind the busyness. But that only works for so long.
My patient husband has had to put up with a few fits of tears over our weekends when have a decent amount of time to reconnect again. Because ignoring stress by working more or denying that you're sad someone is gone by plugging through your to do list doesn't fix the problem. It only postpones dealing with it.
The same discussion about how I can balance things better seems to keep happening every week because every week I still feel I don't have anything under control. I've prayed, I've made schedules, I've brainstormed about what things to say no to and how to prioritize. It all still seems very chaotic.
On Wednesday, my hubby and I worked really hard to get everything done so we could have some quality time. But life happens and a family emergency arose. Not only was I worried about what was going to happen, but I was frustrated. Frustrated that no matter how hard I try to have quiet moments, it never seems to work.
I have known that this busy spirit in me is not from God. Jesus was never in a hurry. He often took the long way to get somewhere. We serve a God of peace. "Come to me, you who are weary and burdened, and you will find rest," he says.
In college my mom gave me a book called "Margin," by Richard Swensen that talks about how we need to have margin in our daily life to allow for the unexpected and still keep our sanity. Even back in college I was rushing around with too much to do and a driven perfectionism to do it all as best as possible. Wishing I had time to reread the whole thing, I skipped to the last few chapters that talk about health with our time. God really spoke to me with the words I read.
It said, "We can find health [amidst the busyness] through contentment in our current situation."
When I read that God said, "I know this season of your life has a lot of change and newness and responsibility, Tabitha. I need you to accept it as good things I have given you rather than tasks you need to complete or keep up with."
Paul wrote that he had learned the secret to being content. It is truly a secret in our culture because the contentment he talks about is not how people see it today. People are said to find contentment by having or achieving things. But to Paul, contentment meant accepting from God's hand what He sent, resting in the knowledge that He is good, and therefore it is good. I felt freedom for the first time when I looked at everything on my plate right now with that in mind.
One of my favorite verses also came to mind, Hebrews 4:16: "Let us boldly approach the throne of God so that we might find grace to help us in our time of need." Other versions say, "just when we need it," "to find timely help," "when we need it most." I love that, not too soon, not too late, just on time.
This is the principle my mom would remind me of when I started worrying about the future, "Tabitha, God's not going to give you grace for what will happen tomorrow. He'll give you exactly what you need to get through today, and tomorrow, He'll just give you what you need then."
I'll end with a passage I read from "Grace for the Moment" by Max Lucado that really spoke to me.
"It's quiet. it's early. My coffee is hot. The sky is still asleep. The day is coming.
"In a few moments the day will arrive. It will roar down the track with the rising of the sun. The stillness of the dawn will be exchanged for the noise of the day. The calm of solitude will be replaced by the pounding pace of the human race. The refuge of the early morning will be invaded by decisions to be made and deadlines to be met.
"For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day's demands. It is now that I must make a choice. Because of Calvary, I'm free to choose. And so I choose.
"I choose Love . . . because no occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose Love. Today I will love God and what God loves.
"I choose Joy . . . I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical . . . the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God. (LOVE that!)
"I choose Peace . . . I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.
"I choose Patience . . . I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I'll invite him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clenching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage. (Yes!)
"I choose Kindness . . . I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.
"I choose Goodness . . . I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness.
"I choose Faithfulness . . . Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My wife (husband) will not question my love . And my children (dogs) will never fear that their father (mother) will not come home.
"I choose Gentleness . . . Nothing is own by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in praise. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.
"I choose Self-Control . . . I am a spiritual being . . . After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal. I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned, only by my faith. I will be influenced, only by God. I will be taught only by Christ. I choose self-control.
"Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek His grace. And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest."
Reagan and I have been praying that we'll not only take things one day at a time, but also that we'll go through each task and situation as if doing it for God and not for man. And really, that's all we can do during busy seasons like this one. I'm grateful that my God doesn't leave me alone. And I'm so blessed that my husband has been going through each day with me, offering love, encouragement, and a helping hand.
Thank you, Lord for this season. I will praise You in the midst of it.