How many items do you have on your to do list today, which you were hoping to have accomplished yesterday?
To Do List Tasks
When it comes to my personal to do list, I have a great many things that I wish I had gotten to yesterday. I also have several tasks that I imagined I would have completed much earlier in this month. Some items seem to continually float unfulfilled on my to do list for long seasons where I never seem to find the time and resources to complete them.
Many of the tasks on my list have self imposed deadlines, chores and responsibilities that I estimate dates of completion for in my own mind. Day after day, I find my estimates fall short. Sometimes I’m a little off, but sometimes I am off by a great deal when most of list remains in tact and uncompleted at the day’s end.
Whether the list is long or short, the resulting record of unaccomplished responsibilities can leave me feeling frustrated.
Most of the tasks on my to do list are within my control and current level of capability. These are things that I need to do that I know how to do right now. Dishes, laundry, cleaning, writing cards, all things I just need to have time to work on. No learning, growth, development, or real dependency on others. These items are often repetitive and have clearly defined starting and stopping points.
Then there are the big things in life. The ones outside of my control. The ones that I have no previous experience in that require growth, learning, and development. Many of which will have awkward first steps, and several tumbles along the way. These things are often complex and complicated by the number of people involved, a myriad of potential possibilities.
There are no clearly defined starting and stopping points. Instead their impact upon our lives can vary dramatically over time. Our relationships, our families, our faith, our careers, our jobs, where & how we live, our businesses, our hobbies, our health, our educations, and our friendships.
Crazy Crazy Changes
Take for example my work life. If I was able to go back to visit my 21 year old self right before my graduation from college and told her where we would be career wise at this point in our life, I would absolutely crush her and leave her heartbroken.
It would have been terrifying for her to know that much of what she dreamed of accomplishing has not happened yet. At the same time, she would not have understood how empty and unsatisfied she would feel with some of the things she would attain.
No matter how much I stressed the small sweet moments in life we have right now, I would have filled her with frustration, leaving her fretting and figuring how she could best prevent the picture I painted for her from becoming the way I described.
By training and experience, business is my background. I hold a degree in Finance, and one in Business Economics, as well as a Masters in Business Administration. Facts, figures, problem solving, processes, projects, planning, reporting, and communications are all roles that I am very familiar with. Living in larger towns, with plenty of people, and potential opportunities.
And now…now I focus on raising my kids, and substitute teach at our small local elementary school on a short term basis. We no longer live in our sweet subdivided neighborhood where we could see our neighbors by looking out a window. We live in the country where my neighbors’ homes are distinguishable by their yard lights and groves of trees, not by their houses themselves.
Our move to this rural area also brought career changes for my husband. Eric, is a small engine mechanic. Motorcycles, four wheelers, boats, watercraft, snowmobiles, and the like are the machines he specializes in. He is very good with his hands and very patiently persistent in his problem solving. While he still works as a mechanic, our move to the country brought him opportunity to raise cattle on this farm also.
Our big transition happened in 2011. All these years later I still feel like I am in a time of transition. To say I was hesitant to make such major changes would be a great understatement. I was down right rebelliously resistant.
I vividly remember telling my husband on June 6th, 2011 that I knew that I could not survive moving away from my cherished friends, family, the home I loved, my work opportunities, and our church. Leaving all of the supports I had worked so hard to build and put in place.
As I began sharing about our move with family and friends, they were sad, hurt, and did not understand why so much would be changing, so quickly. So felt I had to put on an air of optimism to earn the support of others, when there was a part of me that wanted to rally support to prevent us from moving. We put our home up for sale in July 2011. My two kids & I moved in August so they could begin a school year fresh in the area we were relocating to.
It was not as if the changes all happened quickly, with the flip of a switch. No, it took time. Time. Time and trust. Trust in my husband, that he really was doing this out of wisdom, out of love for our family. This wasn’t easy when he was the one wanting to make the move and we were the ones who moved first. Trusting that God would really provide for us, even if we seemed to be making some absolutely insane decisions.
This move, these changes, this transition, it has not been a glowing success in many ways. It’s been a road riddled with breakdowns, storms, washouts, and days with a whole lot of emptiness. It has contained many moments of joy and laughter, of love and compassion. There have been so many good lessons here, even though some of them have really hurt.
Trusting the Timing
This is where I am at right now, in this chapter of my life. When I look forward, I know there will be many more big changes that come for me, for my marriage, for my family. Some of which would probably break my heart in this moment. Some that will bring me more joy than I could currently understand.
I ask myself this morning, will I trust the timing of it all? Or in my frustration will I fret and ferociously work on figuring out a “solution” to my present circumstances.
While I can not currently share the details, lets just say that right now there is a dark and heavy cloud of uncertainty hanging over our home. It has been here for a while now, which makes me fret with frustration. I want to frantically figure out an immediately implementable solution. I deeply desire to know HOW and WHEN I can fix this.
As I look forward, I know that I also need to look back. Because then or now, I know that God is with me. There is an important need to remember the personal challenges that God, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus have been with us through up to this point. More than needing to figure out a fix, I need to trust in God’s timing.
If you look up the word TRUST on webster.com, you will find several definitions including these:
- Assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone
- Dependence on something future
- A charge or duty imposed in faith or confidence as a condition of some relationship
When we think of the word trust we think of confidence, of faith, of assurance, and of certitude.
We want to trust in the things and people of these world. We want to trust in the relationships that we have worked to establish. We want to trust in the jobs we have to be there for us and to provide income for the things that we need. We want to trust our colleagues, neighbors, and even strangers to be good, honest, and helpful. We want to trust that the car will start, the heat will work when it is cold, and our insurance will protect us from the losses we purchased it to prevent.
In our broken world, we find broken trust. Relationships that turned. Jobs that were lost. Income with decreased purchasing power. Broken appliances in multiples, untimely flat tires, rude strangers, manipulating colleagues, and no coverage for the premiums paid. This is just a random sampling of the matters of daily life. There are also the traumatic and atrocious crimes that fill our news reports, worse than the stuff nightmares are made of.
“Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.“
Proverbs 3:5-6 (Message)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Be assured and rely on the strength of His character, of His ability, of His strength, and of His truth. Depend on the Lord. Put your faith and confidence in Him through a relationship with Jesus. Trust that the Lord knows HOW and the Lord knows WHEN.
As our relationship with Jesus develops, our endurance to not figure and fret out of frustration grows. We may not have a greater understanding about where the solutions to the troubles of our circumstance will come from, but we will have persevering confidence that God is working on those problems.
When we submit to God, trusting His timing, we can turn our protests into praises and complaints into compassion for those around us who also struggle and suffer.
Graciously Greeting God
“In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.”
Proverbs 3:6 (ESV)
We need to greet God, graciously and lovingly, into all areas of our lives. True acknowledgement is not just to admit or allow God in, but is a genuine greeting of gratitude. It is recognizing God’s status and authority; then giving Him access to ALL areas of our lives.
There are areas in our lives we keep others out of. It’s like that room or closet or corner area in the basement of our homes that we do not let others see. We could never imagine having guests over and giving them a tour where we would willingly lead them to these places acknowledging and displaying the cluttered chaos.
But…that is exactly what God wants us to do in our relationships with Him. He desires for us to grab His hand and lead him right down to the most cluttered chaotic corners of our lives. The perfection of the Lord’s character can cut through any confusion, commotion, distress, damage, pains, and problems.
Just as a builder knows how long the foundation needs to set before walls are constructed, the Lord knows the timing of all things needed to keep us on firm foundation as He builds us up into what we will become. No fretting or figuring involved, we must fix our trust on His timing.
Help us to trust Your timing. Lord, help us to grab You by the hand, feeling the strength and tenderness of Your grip, so we may willingly lead You into those cluttered & chaotic corners of our lives.
Lord, help us to not hesitate to take You into those hidden areas that we are ashamed or disappointed of having. Those are the areas where we need You the most. Those are hard corners to confess that we have. We do not even want to go into them ourselves, let alone lead anyone there willingly.
In the confession and revealing of these corners, You can reconcile, renew, restore, refresh, and rebuild. What is empty You can fill. What is broken You can repair. What has been lost You can find.
Help each of us to hear Your voice and to trust Your timing. In the gracious name of Jesus, amen.