I remember well a few years back taking a wonderful Bible study by Carol Travilla and Joan Webb called The Intentional Woman. It was the type of study, which seemed to speak my language and my heart, as far as ordering and being intentional every single day. Recognizing above all that it is God, who orders my every day, and His agenda, which I want to follow. But also realizing my struggle from years and years of reactive living blended with a side serving of people pleasing.
It makes for quite a pinball life–bouncing from target to target, some with great points even, but often falling into the drain and having to begin again. Then the flippers, all the forces that seem to order my direction, come in all types. Some are for me. Some are not. On the other side of it, you just feel like you have been PLAYED. And friends? That is not what God wants from us, as we go from day to day.
I believe that to God, we are more like His own beloved special agents with specific purposes. We are daily taught and directed, which way to go. We are also instructed for responding to the various oppositions, which we will most certainly face. So we stay in His Word, we spend time with Him alone every day and listen for His voice constantly. Like our friend Charles from Rwanda shared last night, we may hear Jesus tell us to run straight into the line of fire, with bullets spraying all over, and that may very well be what saves our lives. We listen, heed and obey. We trust the Lord to show us, “This is the way, walk in it.” Our lives, and the subsequent fruit from our lives, DO depend upon it.
But as a pinball, we are prone to lose sight of our goals. We may find a little tidbit of joy here and a little peace there, maybe a big payoff somewhere else, but it is not the way. It is like handing the reins of our lives to so many others (like the multi-player pinball picture above) and going in circuitous directions, only to find ourselves pitched in a drainage ditch somewhere.
So how does it line up?
One process in The Intentional Woman, which was so beneficial for me was to identify all the areas of interaction in my life–for instance, I am Chris’ wife and best friend, I am Noah, Kylie, Tabor and Sydney’s mom, I am a friend, daughter family member, I serve in our church, I serve in online ministries, I work in various capacities, I am a neighbor, I am cab service, I am caretaker, I partake in various groups, I am housekeeper, cook and hostess, I am the finder of lost things, I am the prayer for various situations and people etc, etc, etc. Then we look at those and identify the stress sources in our various capacities. The result is that we identify the stressors and determine how we can best respond to them. In some cases, we can quit that volunteer job; but in others, we are being shaped and molded, chiseled even, and must face it head on and look for ways to make that interaction less stressful.
Forgive me if I do not describe this more fully, I am totally going on memory, too..since, as finder of various things, I am choosing to not go find my book that is likely in my very favorite, locked, chest at the end of my bed.
At this point, once we have identified the areas of interaction, of which we take part, and the stress-points I believe that as Beloved Special Agents, we are to ask God to show us how to respond, how to keep ALL things under His feet, even if they seem over our head.
This brings me to the dailiness of our lives. Sometimes, friends, we need to regroup and restart–identify the holes in our walls, which I will speak on more later this week (with pictures!). For me this is a process of communication flow and daily choices for time management. Some days are smooth and like a well-oiled wheel. Some days, I am on the worst off-road situation in the wrong vehicle. In this case, I need someone to remove all the rocks and rubble, the obstacles, before I can even think about moving ahead. Truthfully? Sometimes I am at a standstill AND need to be. It is the place, where I begin to take time to take stock.
For me, this meant taking a little time for an experiment. I have been working from home on the computer in three different realms of activity lately and the truth is it can be a lonely and hard road. So in the midst of the day, I may go 10-20 times to Facebook to be encouraged, to laugh, to pray and to interact. So far? It’s still something under my feet, and it is FUN, informative and useful. But then I begin to find that it begins to take on a “flipper” life of its own, where work enters in and other things like scheduling and planning–even the events I get invited to often make me feel stressed. And I feel like the pinball again.
So for my experiment, I left Facebook and email alone for a whole weekend. This morning I came back to over 100 emails, messages, invitations and notifications. But having a weekend of family and friend time behind me, including a restful Sabbath day, I felt up to the task of going through each one. They were under His feet AND mine this time.
I’m not sure how this strikes you, dear readers, or how you feel stressed out about certain parts of your day and YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW WHY! Take a step back and ask God what His direction, His orders are for you. Bring those areas to Him.
Then listen, heed and obey Him. God is a FOR YOU. He is your Way-Maker, not your flipper. Let Him be the one shooting you like an arrow from His bow–purposed and living in the sweetness of His YES.
Looking to Jesus,