This time of year, my small homestead is full of demanding customers. It seems as though every morning I am met with a slew of complaints.
"Waiter! This breakfast took waaaay too long!"
"Waiter! I've been standing here for an hour!"
"Waiter! This service is horrible. I want to speak to the manager!"
Of course, this is all quacked, clucked, barked, meowed or neigh-ed, depending on the 'customer'.
And then I head out and have a good inner-giggle when I stand in line at the grocery store and I swear, my chickens and ducks are in line with me.
My point though is this - we all want to go straight to the top. How many of us have asked to speak to the manager at one establishment or another?
Lately it's been impressed on me that MANY of us are experiencing life struggles that have us wanting to 'speak to the manager'. You know who you are. And I'm in line with you. Suffice it to say, my current struggles and challenges are NOT what I thought I signed up for. And sometimes, I just look up and roll my eyes and say, "Really?! THIS is you being all in charge? THIS is your plan for me?"
So a few days ago, in the midst of one of those moments, I asked the Holy Spirit to lead me to a verse that would be helpful. I opened my bible and read:
" 'If my covenant with day and night wasn't in working order, if sky and earth weren't functioning the way I set them going, then, but only then, you might think I had disowned the descendants of Jacob and of my servant David, and that I wouldn't set up any of David's descendants over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
But as it is, I will give them back everything they've lost. The last word is, I will have mercy on them.'"
You might be wondering what this has to do with your life, your challenges. For a moment I did. Then I saw it. The promise. The black and white challenge to the lie that your life, my life, is out of control.
See, if we can be distracted with the lie that our lives are spinning out of control, we can distracted into believing that WE have to fix it. But the gold lies in God's challenge - basically, 'Hey, is there still night and day? The way I set it up? Yes? Then relax. I HAVE this. You're going to be okay. I'm still in charge. I'm still in control. Bottom line - I will have mercy on YOU. Chill out.'
Feeling life your life is spinning out of control? Stressed about your husband, your wife, your kid, your mother, your job, your finances, your house...?
Today, God wants to encourage you to take a deep breath and watch the sun set tonight. Then watch it rise tomorrow.
Then, exhale. God's got this.
I've yet to meet someone who hasn't at some point expressed fatigue, weariness or that emotional thin-ness that comes with being human. Especially those who strive to live intentionally - and especially moms with young children.
2012 has been a challenging year for our family. The death of my father-in-law, long work hours for my husband, the inevitable marriage struggles, the work of raising a highly intelligent toddler, and my own spiritual and personal growth, have in truth left me feeling, well, fatigued.
With each challenge though, I see God's face and hear his voice. An encouraging word from my mother on my parenting techniques... An offer from a friend to use their pool... Friends that offer me positive perspective on my life... Hearing my son say 'I love you Mom' out of the blue...
With each encouragement, I hear Jesus whisper into my life, "Give that fatigue back to me, daughter. No need to carry it. Let me give you something lighter." And in those moments I exhale the fatigue, deliberately letting it go. Inhaling, I allow Jesus to fill me with hope and energy and purpose.
Galatians 6:9-10 says, "So let's not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don't give up or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith." (MSG)
As the mother of a toddler, I love that last part: "..starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith." It's a serious reminder and directive that our FIRST priority is to ourselves, then our family (the people closest to us) - spouses and children, then parents and siblings, THEN our church family, THEN our larger community, THEN... well, you get the drift.
If you're feeling over-fatigued, I would encourage you to check your priorities. If you aren't ministering in order, my experience is that as you realign, you'll find more energy. And if you still feel fatigued, it's time to make that conscious decision to give it to Jesus, looking for the hope and encouragement he'll be offering to you.
And claim that promise - "...at the right time, we will harvest a good crop..." God is in charge of the timing, but your efforts and energy will pay off.
Today, God wants to encourage you to never give up. Today, God wants to encourage you to recheck and if necessary, realign your priorities. Today God wants to promise you hope.
"We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well."
(1 Corinthians 10:24b MSG)