I like to use today to get ready for tomorrow.
For the past few years I have kept a bullet journal (see what it is here). I have found I can use it to keep this family of 5 organized and on time within its pages. It has been a great tool for my sanity and definitely more economical than some of the pricey planners on the market right now. The problem is that here in the summer of 2020, it is impossible to plan more than a couple of days in advance.
To complicate matters, at both home and work I am feeling a TON of pressure to prepare for the school year and whatever comes next. Both my spouse and my boss are staying super supportive. No one has given me any hard and fast deadlines to adhere to – yet, the tightness in my chest and the spiraling thought circle in mind would testify otherwise.
It seems every conversation I have only further pushes me into desperate feelings of not knowing what the “right” decision is or what I should do next. There are too many contingencies to even begin to plan for the infinite possibilities of what lies ahead.
I want to make good use of my time today so I can “do” tomorrow, but when I don’t know exactly what tomorrow holds, I am finding I don’t know how to “use” today.
God has given me this day. The Bible tells me that it is good day. The Bible also tells me that I should be a good steward of my day because the days are short and only God knows how many days I am allotted. It is biblical for me to make good use of my time, to work with my hands and to redeem this day.
God also tells me in His Word to “Be still and know He is God.” Scripture also says that we aren’t to worry about tomorrow because each day has enough trouble of its own. Because He takes care of the grass and the flowers and the birds, I can rest in the fact that He cares for me and will take care of me too.
This season of “quarantine” and “pandemic” and “should do” and “shouldn’t do” leaves me daily in a strange space. I want to be productive, planning for the days ahead AND I want to be patient to see what God is doing, where He is working and how He is doing it.
Honestly, I thought I had learned this lesson weeks and weeks ago. But, as the weeks have turned to months and my sin nature refuses to be easily beaten into submission, I am finding a need to seek Him first again.
This need to seek Him above all things and in all things is a battle. It is a war. My enemy does not fight fair and my flesh would rather zone out into social media worlds, mindless games on my phone or yet another re-run episode of Law and Order.
The struggle is not just daily. I can’t just pray once in the morning and live the free, abundant life of John 10:10 all day. I wish it was that easy, but the distractions are many and the temptations are real. Slipping into the mindset that “I’ve got this!” and “I know how to handle this” seems to be my default response. Before 2020, most things I thought I could handle and most things I knew what to do with it.
My journal/planner/agenda is evidence that could easily condemn me before any judge. (Did I mention I was watching a lot of crime shows?) My book isn’t evil or sinful. It isn’t good or pure. It’s a thing. It is Switzerland, completely neutral. However, it shows the allegiance of my heart – and there is the problem. It shows I believe I am in charge of my own life. Its pages prove to me that I believe I can control my life. They reveal to me the state of my heart, my motivations and my self-righteous pride.
As a Christian I gave charge and control over my life to Christ. Through the grace of His Spirit, I continue to lay my life down and let Him direct my steps, my thoughts, my words, my feelings – me. This is a daily thing – sometimes an hourly, sometimes a moment-by-moment surrender.
Often it feels like I am losing the battle, but His Word reminds me He has won the war. This process, this struggle, battle, journey, dance – whatever illustrative analogy you want it assign it, is called sanctification. God is sanctifying me in these days to make me more like His Son and He has promised to finish what He has started.
Sanctification is a joint process – me working in His truth and He working out its application in and through my days.
What does sanctification for me look like this summer with all of its indefinite uncertainties and unparalleled experiences?
I am reading solid devotionals. I am listening to proven podcasts. I am choosing gratitude over envy. I am looking for His provision. I am finding signs of His glory. I am claiming promises from scripture. I am memorizing these passages.
He is softly speaking to my heart. He is consistently reminding me of His goodness. He is always increasing my faith. He is steadily showing me He is faithful. He is patiently re-teaching me that He is in control. He is forever forgiving me my short-comings, aka my sin.
Don’t assume I am only pursuing Him. I am far from perfect. I am just learning once again that when my thoughts and my feelings are taking over, I know where I need to turn, forsaking “my” whatever for His better. The more intentional I am, the more sanctification seems to take place.
I don’t have the answers for the up-coming, fast-approaching school year. I don’t know what the new “normal” will look like. I don’t know when this virus goes away and leaves us all alone.
I do know that when I stop and purposefully push into the God, who has all the answers, He soothes my soul. He comforts my weary heart and reassures my over-extended brain. He works, does and accomplishes what I cannot.
Sanctification right now, looks like me working to find rest in Him and He is keeping His word. As I seek Him with my whole heart, I am finding Him and He is all the answer I need for this day. He has given me today and for whatever additional days He sees fit to give me going forward, I know He is the answer for tomorrow too.
I am still using today to prepare for tomorrow, it just looks different than it ever has before.
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~Meditating and Memorizing ~ Psalm 16
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