There are certain cycles of behavior in my life that I am continually repeating. The biggest one is trying to control my time. The world is screaming about efficiency and productivity. My human need to control everything in my world grabs onto it.
It starts with one little thing. First, it’s a simple plan for the day. That plan then begins to grow, and I turn it into a to-do list. That to-do list turns into a schedule so I can make sure I get everything done on time. I look around, and I see more things I am not getting around to that I wish I could, and so I add to my plate until it’s overflowing. Before I know it, I’m staring at a day without enough time in it, a pile of things I can’t get to, and I’m living in a stressed and frazzled state of hurry and rush and pressure. My failed plan tells me that I am not enough. I don’t do enough. I’m a failure. I’m a mess. I’m a bad wife, mother, grandmother, friend…
The world will tell me that I just need to be more motivated and more intentional with my time. “If it’s important to you, you will find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.” Talk about a guilt trip! Social media will make me feel like it really is just me failing. Other women do it all, the workouts, the mom life, the parties, friends, date nights, even the picture perfect Bible time in the wee hours of morning next to a homemade foamed latte in a cute mug with a motivating quote on it. They do it all with a perfect lipstick smile and perfect hair. Me on the other hand, I’m just over here, barely making it to the shower by noon and apparently just “making excuses” for all of the things that I don’t care enough about.
Sometimes, the Christian life that is preached at women doesn’t help. For the longest time, I thought that every Women’s Ministry and Women’s Bible study was written from Proverbs 31. That wife is the Pinterest wife of the Bible days if there ever was one. She’s amazing! She spins her own fabric, she makes clothes, she buys and farms her own vineyards, she gets up early and stays up late, she’s in great shape, she’s smart, she’s prepared, she’s never lazy, her children and her husband adore her. She’s perfect in every way. Seriously! Can you just imagine her Instagram feed? And in this world, we grasp onto that image and strive to achieve it with the added pressure of “because the Bible says.”
So I grasp at more straws. If only I could just get a handle on this piece of my day or master this habit. If I could get up two hours earlier, maybe I could get it all in. And the cycle continues, my world spinning faster and faster until I finally break under the pressure of it all.
That’s where I landed last week. One big pile of, “I can’t do all of this.” Once again, I lay down my pencil and planner and surrender to God and His plan for my days. Somehow, it always works out better this way. Every single time. You see, God's ways are so backward from the world's ways. The world says to do more, be more, and try harder. God says, "Be still. Trust me. Rest in Me. I got this." It’s not a giving up and getting nothing done surrender. It’s waking up and giving the day to Him. It’s resting in His timing and His priorities as He takes my hand and guides me through the hours.
“O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
My eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
Like a weaned child with its mother;
Like a weaned child is my soul within me.”
Psalm 131: 1-2
I have to believe that if God wants me to spin, sew, plant vineyards, haggle with merchants, care for the poor, and function on a few hours of sleep like the Proverbs 31 wife, He will enable me to do it. For now, He’s called me to sit at His feet and listen to Him first and foremost. He’s called me to pray. He’s called me to take care of a special needs young adult. He’s called me to be a mother that points her children to Him. He’s called me to focus on my marriage and my husband. He’s called us to be a team for His Kingdom. He’s called me to care for my home and see that my family has what they need. He’s called me to lift up other women. He’s called me to help with admin things at Firebrand. He’s called me to write. He’s called me to create. THESE are the things He will give me the time, wisdom, and strength to do.
“Teach me and I will be silent;
Make me understand how I have gone astray.”
As soon as I surrender, my soul is filled with peace. The frantic panic is gone. I can calmly look around and take my world in through His eyes. I cringe wondering when my control nature will sneak in again. How many times will I have to repeat this lesson? I will pray that God will give me clear warning signs so that He can help me break this insane cycle. In the meantime, there is so much grace.
“Be still, Dawn, and know that I (not you, not your daily planner) am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10