What’s on the agenda for today?

“I’m going to paint all day!”

I worked all week grading papers, scheduling media, and all the other various tasks that consume my time. Finally,  a full day of uninterrupted painting! Just the brushes and some great music! Bliss.

Right after…

I took Abby and her friend to church for MOPs babysitting at 8am.

Then…

I got home and remembered Abby was staying with Nana for the weekend.  No problem, I’ll just get her school work together to take with her. In the middle of it, the phone rings – a friend in crisis.

By the time I got off the phone, there was  no time to paint. So I answered emails.  After lunch, I just had to make a ‘quick’ 3 hour trip to drop off Abby and visit Mom.productivity

One more ‘quick’ trip…

Michelle and I took dinner to a friend. We’d both been there but neither of us could remember how to get to the house. Add 30 minutes to that trip because we got lost. (Yes, we fit that stereotype. Sigh)

By 6pm, approximately zero painting had been done.

No brushes.
No music.
No bliss.

I was aggravated.

Fast forward three days.

Some friends of mine are getting ready to go to Colombia at the end of the month. They’re going to spend a week in the same city I visited last April. So, I went to chat with them about some of the things they could expect.yellow flower

Among other things, I talked to them about the importance of being flexible.

I told them the culture there is very different.
No one gets in a hurry.
They really take a  ‘siesta’ each afternoon, during which time all the shops are closed.

It’s completely contrary to our accomplish-as-many-things-as-possible-in-a-day lives.  I reminded them that whether or not they have a plan is irrelevant. It is the Lord’s plans that endure.

James in chapter 4, instructed us to say, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and so this or that. Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil.”

peki pekiSo even if we have a very definite idea about how a day will go or how a situation should look, we must be careful not to force our will on anyone. I warned them not to be surprised about what they’ll care about after several days of intense heat and sleep deprivation. It can take its toll on even the kindest person. Practically that means a day may start with hopes of a shower and coffee, only to discover the shower has ice cold water and the power is out.

My advice to them…

When dealing with interupted plans: GET OVER IT. Quickly. Don’t dwell on what was ‘supposed’ to happen. I told them to ENJOY every second of the trip! How many chances will they get to make this exciting journey? There is nothing like serving for God’s glory! When we give sacrificially to show God’s passion, mercy, and grace by the power of the love of Jesus, He will amaze us by His ability to make a crazy situation turn out for His glory.

Why can’t I live everyday like that? Why do I have to wait until I’m in the Amazon Rainforest to live so surrendered to Him?

I think the answer is all wrapped up in my expectations.

Before taking the trip last year, I prayed obsessively. I read Psalm 139 over and over. The preparation weeks were full of worship. I confessed and repented of sin. My heart was full of thankfulness. I was reminded over and over of my utter dependence on Him. I expected Him to be evident in every moment of that trip.

Is it crazy to expect every day to be like that? Why can’t I trust Him completely? Can  every day, with all its challenges and disappointments and joyful victories be met with awe and expectation of more? Hours filled with laundry and answering emails can be for His glory. Right? Right.

So often I measure a ‘good day’ by the amount of work I got accomplished. Maybe I’m using the wrong ruler?

Bro. Lawrence says, “How happy we would be if we could find the treasure of which the Gospel speaks; all else would be as nothing. As it is boundless, the more you search for it the greater the riches you will find; let us search unceasingly and let us not stop until we have found it.”

So is the recipe as simple as a life surrendered to Him? I think so.

What are your thoughts?

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