Most days I wake up already feeling unsuccessful. Before I stir from underneath the covers and plant my feet on the floor, I’m midway through reciting my list of things I’m overwhelmed by or probably won’t get to today. Laundry, healthy-eating, writing, parenting well, you name it and I’m probably thinking about what a lousy job I’m doing at it.
I would love for every single day to be filled with a perfectly pleased and cared for family, eating healthy home-cooked meals inside a clean and orderly home, all while I maintain a healthy body, nourished friendships, and a thriving writing ministry. My head is spinning just typing all those things out, but yet I start out each and every day with a to-do list longer than anyone is capable of conquering; falsely assuming if I can just order the tasks the right way and manage my time strategically then I could knock everything out.
Even on a day where I hopped out of bed when the alarm went off, dove right into the day’s Bible reading, fixed somebody breakfast, got people dressed for the day, cleaned out my bedroom and my bedroom and bathroom closets, I still had a mile-long list of things I didn’t accomplish. I didn’t finish the laundry, put away all the kitchen dishes, or spend any time writing. Instead of going to bed feeling productive, I fell asleep disappointed in myself for the things I didn’t get to.
Last week, I admitted this struggle to a friend. She suggested something so simple and yet embarrassingly revolutionary. She advised me to start my day with a simple prayer asking the Lord to “order my day” and then for to ask God to help me to accept what He’s ordained. I felt foolish for not realizing my obviousness need for such a prayer. I’m used to the knowledge God ordains my day in the bigger things like a sick kid or cancelled plans. But, often I don’t ask the Lord to rule over the menial tasks that make up my domain – laundry, dishes, bills, and other chores. I act as though I am the master of these areas and get to work on them without even asking God for wisdom.
So here’s what I’m learning:
My plans for my day, aren’t necessarily God’s plans for my day.
Waking up already feeling overwhelmed is an indicator that I’m attempting to be my own boss. (I admit I am a control freak who God is constantly taming.) If I use anxiousness as an indicator, it will remind me to submit what I want to accomplish to the Lord and know he will provide and make a way for me to get to what needs to be done. What I want may or may not be on His agenda. When things don’t play out my way, I need not be so flabbergasted. Actively committing my day to the Lord’s purposes and asking Him to direct me to the things I need to give attention to (be they glamorous playdates or meet-ups with friends or unglamorous things like toilet scrubbing…) will help me to focus on faithfulness instead of franticness.
I need to ditch the guilt and shame.
God does not love and accept me based on my household merits. Thank you, Jesus. Spending the day burdened by guilt and shame over what I have not accomplished is an indicator that I’m living tied to the law – attempting to earn my righteousness through the work of my own hands. Instead, guilt and shame over my own insufficiency should lead me to gratitude for the sufficiency of Christ and all He accomplished on my behalf! God isn’t disappointed in my mounds of clean laundry or shaking His head in the heavens over my reheated leftovers. He loves me and accepts me even at the end of the day when I’m still in my pajamas.
His strength is my strength.
“…according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
When my eyes open each morning, I want to be filled with the knowledge of Christ and the overwhelming fact that He is my strength. My resolve and spastic strivings for perfection will never be enough to earn my own righteousness. I rely on Christ and His sacrifice on my behalf to rescue me from death. I can also rely on His strength to rescue me from my own anxiousness, guilt, and shame over an unconquerable to-do list. Today, I’m asking the Lord once again to fill my day with His strength to live by faith; accomplishing His purposes for His glory and resting solely in His fullness.
21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. (ESV)
2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. (ESV)
16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (ESV)