Matthew 11:28 – Come to Me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (ESV)
I am sitting down with a fresh cup of coffee and my brightly colored pens to arrange my plans for the month ahead. I am a list maker. I have a large calendar with huge blocks filled with eye-catching multi-colored commitments. I don’t want to miss anything I’m supposed to do. I don’t want to miss anywhere I’m supposed to be. I can juggle and plan like a pro but sometimes I am juggling and planning to the point that my list needs a list of its own. Sometimes my calendar keeps me focused and on track; sometimes it is so overwhelming that I want to give up before I even start. Sometimes the bright colors give me motivation; sometimes the very sight of so many colors makes me weary. Sometimes I can’t keep up. Sometimes I just can’t juggle it all. Jessica Turner said, “Caring for ourselves and pursuing our passions is part of becoming who God created us to be.” I agree with her but also know that I can get so busy helping others with pursuing their passions that I am too exhausted to even know, much less pursue, what my passions might be. Psalm 23:2 says that the shepherd makes His sheep lie down (KJV). He makes them lie down because He knows that they need to rest mind and body. Judith Hanson Lasater said, “Taking time out each day to relax and renew is essential to living well.” I know that there are times when I allow the busyness of life to devour my days until there is no time to relax and renew, no time to rest and be refreshed in God’s presence, no time to hear God’s plan for what He created me to be. Lucille Zimmerman summed it all up she said, “Humans may be social beings, but solitude has been shown to have great social value. Jesus was a great healer and teacher, but He took time to rest and pray. Solitude is essential for our spiritual experience – it is where we hear the still small voice.” Jesus, I follow You in the work but help me to also follow You in the rest. The multi-colored words on my calendar are not there to impress others but are tools to help me focus and stay on task. The pretty colors are not there to impress but what they represent is meant to impress. Galatians 1:10 asks me who I am trying to impress, men or God, and I know that sometimes my honest answer would not be the best answer. Lord, I read Matthew 11:28-29 and know that You are telling me to look to You for productive rest, to look to You instead of to my calendar for my direction, to look to You.
Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
Proverbs 19:21: You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail.
(New Living Translation)
I am sitting here this morning with my coffee and a pen and paper. I’m making a list! I love a list. Sometimes I will have more than one list going at the same time. I have a grocery list, a packing list for vacation, and a list of what I need to do before we go on vacation. I love the control I feel by knowing what needs to be done now and what needs to be done next. I especially love checking things off my list. It makes me feel as if I’m accomplished great things, and there are days that I need to know I’ve at least accomplished something, even a small thing would be good! Sometimes I will put something on my list that I have already done just so I can check it off! Lists make me feel accomplished. Lists make me feel in control. Lists let me know that I’m doing things right. The Rich Young Ruler (Mark 10:17-27) also loved lists. He loved to have a list, and he loved to show people how he had checked off the things on the list. He said that he had kept all the commandments, and I believe him because You didn’t call him on it. He probably had the list in his pocket ready to show everyone how many items he had checked. Lord, You were trying to show him that obedience to the commandments would not give him eternal life, that only comes through a personal relationship with You. And a personal relationship with You means spending time with You. You try to show me that too. A list makes me feel in control of the situation, but You are in control of all that was, that is, and that is to come. I like knowing what’s happening now and what will be happening in the future, but Lord, You tell me that worry (or planning or even making a detailed list ) won’t add a single day to my life. I have the opportunity to accomplish great things today – not by working at worldly things that I can check off of a list but by sitting at the feet of the One who created all things and listening to His plans for my day. Your word tells me in Jeremiah 29 that You know the plans You have for me. In Proverbs 19, You tell me that I can make plans, but Your will prevails. Lord, I know that following a plan isn’t a bad thing but listening to You and following Your plan is so much better.