Friday, September 26, 2008

Theory and Fact

One hazard of writing a devotional blog, is that it is soooo easy to find yourself feeling like a hypocrite of the highest order!

Take yesterday's post for instance; "Passionate Emotion" was the topic for our writers group, which met last night. I was "inspired" to make the subject fit the blog post, so that I wouldn't have a post to write at 10.00 p.m. when I got home. But the ring of truth was slightly missing. I noticed that when I pushed the Publish button, and I pushed it anyway.

I had ended the post by writing what I thought I should. It bore no resemblance to what I actually did. I apologise for that to you, dear reader.

"I’m there, in that good place; and I am waiting; waiting for God." Yes, that is what I wrote; but I wasn't. At all.

I forgot that I was writing about me and began writing In Theory.

I woke up in this morning and stepped into the stream of the day flowing fast, past my bed. I instantly became a piece of flotsam, bobbing about and trying to hang on for dear life.

When I checked my email, I saw that my dear daughter-in-law, Sue, a.k.a. Miss Accountability, had written on my Face Book page, "It's Thursday. Is the plan still haywire?" How did she know? And did she have to ask?

The truth is that The Plan went haywire on Monday morning and stayed that way through Tuesday and Wednesday. By the time I got up this morning I was so tired, I had no patience and not a nice bone in my body.

Before I left the house I sent a "hurt" email to one of my dear friends who asked an innocent question that I took offence at.

And I didn't have more than a quick read of my beloved Daily Light on the Daily Path. Not exactly Waiting for God.

Within minutes of landing in my office I was impatient with one of my team who asked me another question. That's it; no one should ask me questions when I am tired!

I dashed off to a meeting that was on my schedule, but I was not really sure why. It was the right thing to be there, but I felt that the mess I felt on the inside must show, so on the way home, on my lunch half hour, instead of eating, I went shopping.

Back at the office I rode the wave that the stream of the day had by then become.

I was glad that I had a chance at the end of the day, to reconnect with the coworker with whom I'd been impatient in the morning. We chatted about the issue at hand and then I said goodbye.

"Was there anything else?" she wanted to know.

"Um, well, yes, sorry about this morning," I said, "Will you forgive me for my impatience?"

"Again?" she said.

"What do you mean, 'Again?' " I said, "Do you mean "I'm asking to be forgiven," again? You have to, don't you? Isn't that what we're supposed to do?"

And she said that she supposed so!

I apologised to my friend of the morning email too, who fortunately had chosen to ignore my umbrage. She has been perfecting behaviour management; do not pay attention to behaviour you don't want to reinforce. It does seem to work.

Paul is away, so I was able to stay late at work and plug away at the things that had been The Plan on Monday, before an unplanned situation diverted the course of that and the next two days. As one by one I brought order to my world, I began to feel better, even though it was late when I left.

I felt lighter. My offences were confessed and forgiven graciously, and I had caught up on the original things that needed to be done.

When I got home, the phone was ringing as I came through the door; a call related to the situation of earlier in the week. The call confirmed that the work we had done was good. Trust was earned and deepened because we were honest about a wrong and focused our energy and efforts on putting it right. I felt God's smile.

I ate a late supper alone with a book, since Paul is away. The book, Harold Taylor's, Making Time Work for You, is the sanest book on time management I have ever read. Tonight I read about the 10 Time Management Myths, but it was Myth # 7 that sank in like salve on a sore.

Myth # 7: The biggest time wasters include telephone interruptions, visitors, meetings and rush jobs. Harold writes, These are not time wasters, they are time obligations; they come with the job.

Moms home with small children could apply the same principle and be set free from the frustration of plans gone awry.

The first four days of this week have been heavy for me and the rest of my team. We haven't necessarily got the things done that appeared to be the most important on Monday morning, but we made wise decisions to prioritize the right things as we worked the week, and the swell of the wave is leveling out.

So, yes, daughter-in-law Sue, I am so happy that I can say, "It is Thursday, and The Plan is no longer haywire." But tomorrow...who knows!

2 comments:

Marilyn said...

Okay, you've forced me out of my withdrawal from responding, dear friend! I'm sorry to hear the early days of this week have been heavy for you. :-(
I was going to respond to your "Passionate Emotion" post, elected to remain silent and now I'll go ahead.

First, thank you for a trip to John 21, a deeply moving study in restoration! Perfect timing for me. You wrote beautfully about it, too. I enjoyed it.

This passage is meaningful for me. In John 21, Jesus essentially issues the same call to Peter that he did back in Matthew 4. It's not in precisely the same words, but both times, he's engaging Peter and inviting him to get on board.

Not to oversimplify, but in the interest of brevity....three years have passed since Jesus first invited Peter to commit to Him. If Peter opts IN, it isn't in ignorance now. So it isn't just "Will you follow me?" but "Will you follow me NOW THAT YOU KNOW WHAT"S INVOLVED?" And that's a little different.

Now that Peter knows what he might face...Now that Peter sees his own shortcomings...In the face of his failings that he can't forget about, is he still willing to press on and follow?

NOTHING that Peter did or didn't do changed Jesus' availability for the relationship, but did it change Peter's availability? That's the question.

You, Peter, have had a taste of walking on water. Are you going to distance yourself from that power now, just because you're feeling bad about yourself?

How fortunate we are, how blessed, how fortunate...to have a God who will let us wander the beach, musing about our shortcomings and failings only so long, before coming to give us a wake-up call.

Another ramble. Sorry. I'm WILD about this passage and loved both posts about it. Keep writing!

Belinda said...

Oh, Marilyn,
Thank you for the encouragement, on many fronts. I might have thrown the baby out with the lake water. :)

Amen to all that you wrote so passionately and rightly and beautifully. You expanded and enlarged John 21 for me. Thank you for that too.