It's the end of a busy week. An incredibly busy week. My assignment from the Lord seemed clear to me: "Trust me. Don't give in to the temptation to get stressed."
Sounds simple, doesn't it? Well, not for me. The only way I seem to get anything accomplished is through pulling myself up by the bootstraps, letting the stress rise up in me to monstrous proportions and then chanelling that energy into driving me to getting the job done. I joked with a co-worker today, "Thank God for the last minute because if there was no "last minute" I wouldn't get anything done."
It's true. I seem to do 90% of everything I accomplish in the last 10% of the time before it's due. But God has been unwaveringly leading me to believe in the last little while that though this seems to have worked for me pretty well in the past, and has certainly become "my way" of doing things, it's not really one of "his ways"." I began to see the potential benefits of amending my ways to come into line with his.
A verse that has been popping up everywhere for me in the last few weeks is from Isaiah 41. "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."
If anyone has needed strength in these last few weeks, it's been me. In my path God laid out "the impossible" for me to somehow accomplish. There's no way I could have survived in my own strength. I have had SO much to do. "Waiting" seemed not just "counter culture", but a ridiculous investment in time. But waiting I did anyway. And trust me, with habits as deeply engrained as mine, that required an immense level of discipline and resolve. When the adrenaline began to rise, I would push it back down, quiet my heart, let the Lord know that I was aware that I needed his help and I "waited" for peace to come and assurance that he was in control. Then, having divested my heart of the frantic, I would move forward again, plodding this time, my heart at rest, trying not to think I was absolutely crazy - especially in regards to not panicking over a really huge deadline that has been looming over me for a very long time and was falling due this coming Monday. And me not nearly ready.
Somehow, at the end of the week looking back though, the most important things got done. A birthday celebration with my daughter, a Christmas celebration with Belinda's team (of which I am blessed to be a part), a critically important encounter with someone who is working through some difficult things in her life, a cup of coffee lingered over with a dear friend, a phone call to another who needed encouragement. Notice a pattern here? These are all "people" things. Looking back on the week the "non-people" things don't look so important. Not so important at all.
And my biggest deadline, the one that has been looming over me for months and which was supposed to happen on this coming Monday? Well, that was interesting. All the time I was "waiting" this week, and trying hard not to "stew", God was at work behind the scenes. On my way home tonight I received a phone call that this big event was not going to happen on Monday after all, and probably not until the New Year. If I had stewed and worried and stressed myself out and driven myself, it would have all been for naught anyway. God knew. I waited, and he worked. And I have ended the week with a heart that is quiet and at rest, not all fired up and stressed out of my mind as is far more usual. I'm sitting here at my computer even now, full of wonder and gratitude.
God's ways seem weird sometimes. But they're pretty darn good. Tonight my heart converges with the outpourings of the Psalmist:
"My heart is not proud, O LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, put your hope in the LORD both now and forevermore." Psalm 131: 1-3 NIV