A quote from my devotion this morning: "Success is the result of work done in peace. Only so can work yield its increase. Abide in Me, and I in you, so shall you bring forth much fruit. Be calm, assured, at rest. Love, not rush. Peace, not unrest."
Amen! This is what I need! I get so worked up over all the things I want or think I need to do, and how quickly I want them done, that I end up running around like a chicken with my head cut off and bring forth only stress - no fruit. How much of what I keep myself busy with is even necessary? I think that's a good question and one I should ask myself every day. How often have I worried about something only to have it taken care of with little to no effort on my part? Quite often, actually. 99.9% of the time I worry for no reason. Actually, 100% of the time, worry has no good purpose - there's no real good reason for it. What does worry get us; ulcers, premature gray hair, high blood pressure? I don't see any of that as good. My grandma used to have a plaque on her desk that read, "The hurrier I go, the behinder I get." I have found that to be incredibly true.
I actually experienced the truth of my devotion's quote just yesterday. I was forced to relax a bit yesterday due to some physical constraints. I spent quite a bit of time in the Word yesterday morning, and purposefully pared down my to-do list and slowed my pace. I chose to relax and give God some control (baby steps, you know. Giving him all control is the goal and I'm not quite there yet). As a result, I had a very nice day and actually got more accomplished than I thought I would. I was much more at peace. Don't get me wrong, I get a lot accomplished most of the days that I'm forcing it - all revved up and stressed, but I'm always grumpy and super tired by the end of the day. It takes a lot of energy to be totally in control and being stressed all day will wear you out.
Something else I read this morning: "Have no fear for the future. Be quiet, be still."
I wonder if I create these unreasonable to-do lists, and push myself to accomplish so much in a single day because I have a fear of the future. I'm afraid of the time when I may be able to do even less than I can do today. I'm not getting any younger, after all. There will come a time when I have even less control over my life than I do now, and that thought terrifies me. What if I'm not here tomorrow and I leave my family with a big mess? Then there's the fact that I want things to be a certain way and they're not that way yet. I have always wanted a nice conversation area on my back deck complete with a fire pit table for those chilly fall nights, and to go with that I want a perfectly manicured backyard. Neither of those things exist yet and my days are numbered. I'm over 50, you see, so who knows how much longer I have. Kind of like a bucket list, I have these things that I WANT to get accomplished and something in me is driving me to the point of stress over them. In the short term, my house HAS to be neat and clean and my refrigerator and pantry well stocked for the weekends. So, my week is filled with housecleaning, cooking, and baking to-do's. More than I can usually get done in a week, partially due to the physical constraints I mentioned earlier, so my "has to" never really gets accomplished. I'm just spinning my wheels. Lightbulb moment!! The physical constraints frustrate me, they hold me back and I can't let them win. I have to prove that I am just as capable as I ever was, even though the truth is quite the contrary. That puts me in mind of a three-year old saying "I do it!" to a task that is obviously too much for him. The need for independence and control over our circumstances is a strong part of human nature. It emerges early, and it comes on strong.
Well, I think I've learned some things here today. I am very prideful, stubborn, and a control freak. I need to remember the day I had yesterday and relinquish every day to the Lordship of my Heavenly Father. I have to give myself permission to rest in Him, have no fear for the future (or present circumstances), and quiet my stubborn little 3-year old inner self. "Love and peace"is not just a hippie mantra, it's Biblical! When we're at peace, we actually have time to love God, love others, and love ourselves because we're not rushing from project to project obsessed with the idea of worldly success. Success that really matters, success in God's eyes, is being at peace and loving. Sigh.....just saying those words makes me feel more peaceful. :-)