Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Get Ahead...

Our winter in Franklin, TN has been a bit unusual. The weather, despite global warming, has been colder, and the kids have had more snow days than I can ever remember them having. Like anything, too much of a good thing can tend to get old.

I would have to say that the snow days were getting old, at least for me. Eliza was feeling the same, though, one snow day in late February. She told me that she was bored and didn't have anything to do. "Hmm," I thought, like any mom would, "I can think of plenty of things for you to do!"

With that, she began to create her own list of things that she could do -- preferring her list to mine. One item on her list was reading. I thought that was a great way for her to spend her time. She really does love to read, and sometimes we are living so fast paced that we forget it's an option.

Eliza had recently purchased 3 new books from her school's Scholastic Book Fair. She had started all three but finished none. I turned to Eliza and said, "Eliza, why don't you read one of your new books and get ahead." Puzzled, Eliza looked at me and said, deadpan, "Mom. I already have a head!"

She did indeed already have a head. Silly me. What was I thinking?! I went on to explain that I meant she could get some reading done in advance so she could keep up with her reading schedule at home and school. This satisfied her enough to sit down and read for a while, head intact.

Ironically, we often find ourselves trying to "get ahead" when maybe we need to "get a head."  I believe that we spend too much time in the future and not enough time in the present. I'm not suggesting that getting extra school work done in advance is a bad thing. I want to apply this concept to our lives.

We live in such a fast-paced society that it takes a snow day (or 2, or 3) to force us to stay home and be still. Even then, many of us cannot even be still at home. Every room we step in needs something done to it. It needs sweeping. It needs picking up. It needs rearranging. It needs cleaning. I could go on, but you get the point.

How many of us can sit in our home and do absolutely NOTHING -- not one thing. Does the silence get to you? Does the need to move force you out of your chair? Does the need to unload the dishwasher, wash the clothes, sweep the floors, keep you from spending time in a chair alone with you, alone with the Lord?

Sadly, I think a lot of us would answer "yes" to these questions -- me included. For example, I'm home today. It's very quiet. I don't have too much to do until my carpooling begins and my taxi rushes to and from school, to and from play practice, to and from homework club, to and from track, etc.

At any rate, it's quiet here now. I can hear the refrigerator rumbling. Toby, our Boxer, is sound asleep and taking deep breaths in and out, in and out. Sadie, our Maltipoo, is curled up in a chair. Every now and then I hear a little rumble from her. It's a very grey day, and I'm tired of grey (even though it seems to be the "it" color for Spring -- I don't think grey and spring go together, but nobody asked me.). It's so grey that it makes me tired and sleepy. It's so grey that I don't want to get out of the house. So, I'm resting in the grey, but I'm also typing in the grey.

My mind tricks me into believing that I'm useless if I'm not doing something. It's not true, but still, the thought comes. I am, however, also reflecting in the grey. I'm reflecting on my morning and how it relates to Eliza's and my conversation about getting ahead or a head, if you will.

Today I arrived for a meeting a whole week early! That's how "ahead" I am. I made arrangements for Eliza to get to school. I got dressed early. Cleaned up the house for Bible study and got to Grassland Middle for our 8:00am appointment with the enrollment counselor for Baker's freshman year in high school.

This was a BIG deal. I had to have a lot ready ahead of time, and I had to make a lot of preparations which included getting copies of our most recent utility bills as proof of residency, getting paperwork filled out and being knowledgeable enough to know what we were going to be talking about.

At any rate, obviously, I was "ahead" of schedule, but in this case, had I taken time to use my head, I would have seen the date clearly on the appointment card. It's in bright red at the bottom of the welcome letter. I totally read it as March 3, 2010. Never once did I see March 10, 2010. I don't know how many times I read it. I even showed it to Don (but he can't read well without his reading glasses.). Was I too busy to even see the writing on the paper, to stop and thoroughly read what was in my hand? I guess I was.

Don was joining us for the meeting, and even he had made special arrangements and cut a coffee meeting short for this morning. I came on home with an hour and a half before my Bible study group was to arrive. I didn't have "anything" to do to prepare because I had done it all ahead :) of time.

So, I went and sat down in my favorite chair in the living room. I picked up my book, Daily Light for the Daily Path and read today's scripture. The opening scripture is: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." (Prov. 3:5-6) When I read that, I wrote in the margin "and He shall direct your paths" even when you make silly mistakes like showing up for an appointment a week early.

God sent me home this morning to spend some quiet time with Him. Perhaps, as my friend RoseAnne suggested, He wanted someone to get a smile from me when I made this morning's trip in error. Anything is possible... what is probable and likely is that God wanted me to turn to Him, to sit down with Him and to hear His word for me today.

Scripture is soul food. When we read the Word, we become infused with the very breath of God. His words are life giving. His promises are eternal. His covenant with us is binding. His longing for us to be still with Him is real.

God said to me, "No need to get ahead today. Just keep your head on straight and go where I lead you." In Psalm 62:8, David says, "Trust in Him at all times... pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us."

The Lord wants us to seek solace in Him, to be still and know that He is God. He wants us to come home to Him and to ourselves. We have to listen if we want to hear. We have to be quiet in order to know where to go. God says in Isaiah, "Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left."

God will direct our path and make straight our ways even when we lose our head while trying to get ahead. Rest in Him (even in the grey).

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