I love resolutions. Goals. Planning. I want to see what is ahead and go forward in a prepared manner. I love the fresh start, the clean piece of paper. I have so many resolutions swarming in my mind. Healthier eating. Home organization. Books to read (clearly, the most important).
Starting off the year, Little Bear got sick. We had just returned home from a week-long trip. It was the week I wanted to organize the gifts and new toys, wash the clothes and clean the house. Get into our “new, improved” New Year’s routine. Instead, it was a week of house disaster and lots of sick kiddo cuddles (and clean-up). The weekend proved a reprieve, and I thought, Ahh, we can move on! And then I got sick. And then hubby got sick. And the kids started waking up before six a.m. every morning. My plans – my fresh start – were collapsing around me.
It is often hard for me to remember that I am not in charge of the trajectory of my day, let alone my week or year. I can plan all I want and none of it could come to fruition if it is not God’s will. In the blink of an eye, everything can change. The day. Or my whole life. I enjoy planning good things (meals, activities, outings) for my family, but I have to understand that these are all just possibilities. Plans are not guarantees. I need to hold them loosely. I need to trust in the Father’s much-better plan.
“I think I find most help in trying to look on all the interruptions and hindrances to work that one has planned out for oneself as discipline, trials sent by God to help one against getting selfish over one’s work. Then one can feel that perhaps one’s true work – one’s work for God ‘ consists in doing some trifling haphazard thing that has been thrown into one’s day. It is not a waste of time, as one is tempted to think, it is the most important part of the work of the day – the part one can best offer to God. After such a hindrance, do not rush after the planned work; trust that the time to finish it will be given sometime, and keep a quiet heart about it.” Annie Keary, writer, 1825-1879 (quote found in Keep A Quiet Heart by Elizabeth Elliot)
I am so tempted to be angry at the interruptions to my day. I often fail to see the opportunity. I fail to allow the experience to better my character or bring me closer to God. Instead, I complain. I huff and sigh. I show my impatience. I do not trust God. And I rush to try to align the path once again to my own plan. Where is my quiet, calm heart? My heart is pouting or yelling.
What makes my plans so important? Is a clean house really more important that comforting a sick child? Is a trip to the library really more important than showing my child patience in the midst of a frustrating situation? Of course, no. How quickly I default to my own way. What if this interruption is the most important part of my day? What if it provides the opportunity to change my life, or another’s? Or, what if it looks like the least important thing to everyone else, but to God, it is the work He has laid out for me to do? Will I rise to the occasion, or will I cross my arms and frown?
“We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
If I believe that – and I heartily do – then why do I complain against so many things of my days? I can write my ideas for our days, but I must learn to hold it all in open hands. I trust Him. On the days when things seem to follow the routine, and on those that don’t. On the calm days and on the seemingly-unrecoverable ones, I will hold on to His truth.