Timing Is Everything
I started drafting this blog parked on 57 on my way to Philippi. Upon the abrupt stop in cell-phone-no-man’s-land, first I prayed it was nothing serious. Police and ambulance were swiftly on the scene but I saw nothing to really explain what had happened. Once I offered up my prayer, my mind wandered. (That’s what happens when my mind is not closely chaperoned.)
If this Holy week leading up to Easter has taught me anything, it is that timing really is everything.
About half an hour before the stop on 57, I was irritated and vexed that my supervisor called me with a task requiring me to pull over and get logged into my computer. Honestly, the delay was no more than 10 minutes…just enough to prevent me from being present at the time of the accident. Sure, I was stuck at a standstill, but none of the lights flashing on the roadway were there for me.
We see the memes on social media all the time. Some story about spilling your coffee,missing your bus, whatever specific inconvenience or minor pitfall that stalls your progress; however, that irritating pitfall ends up saving you from some great tragedy. Friday morning it was avoiding a potential accident. Earlier in the week I was frustrated because every customer I spoke with was not available. I had plenty of work pending but my Wednesday was mostly administrative stuff, because no one would schedule for me to see their vehicle. It was an exercise in frustration. I knew the fewer customers I could reach on Wednesday, meant more work on Thursday and Friday. As usual, I quickly saw that my ways are not His ways.
Ordering My Steps
My prayer lately has been for God to order my steps. Between you and I, that is a scary prayer to pray if you have a control streak in you. I want things on a calendar, planned, organized and ready for execution to achieve optimal results and make the most out of my time. Sometimes, when God orders your steps…it does not quite work out in your planner. In my heart, I want to trust and obey God implicitly, with the greatest and least of things. I want the joy of the Lord to bubble out of me. Trust and joy are a vast departure from the “old Sue”. I trust more, both in God and His people, than ever before. I have more joy than ever before. I am chasing FULLNESS of joy. As our Pastor said in service today, when you are full you cannot get anymore in. Trust me…I have room for more joy.
So back to this ordering my steps business. A friend has recently encountered some very difficult challenges. On my irritating slow Wednesday morning, we spoke on the phone. She was obviously frazzled and needed an ear. I was thankful for the silent work phone and light schedule. Under normal conditions, I am either our of service or too busy for any lengthy conversation. She was juggling multiple tasks and calls. We have all experienced those overwhelming moments where we did not know whether to laugh or cry. She was there. After we hung up the phone, I felt the nudge.
Suddenly, I had this overwhelming need to put my eyes on her. To hug her and tell her she was not alone. In the flesh, my first thought was “you two barely know each other, why would she want you there?” My spirit was already responding as I pointed the car toward her location. I did not know what she was driving. I did not even know if my presence was wanted. Evidentially, God was ordering my steps, so whether she wanted me there or not…I was on my way. A few minutes later she received a text from me saying, “I’m in the parking lot”. Honestly, she was probably as surprised about me being there as I was. My work phone never rang, not once while we were together.
Please do not mistake this as a pat-me-on-the-back story. I’ve been praying for God to direct me. I’ve been praying to be more aware and obedient at the urging of the Spirit. I’m not sure how much I helped my friend, but I know I was obedient. In trying to help another, a prayer was answered for me.
Why Can’t I Hear You?
As clearly as I felt God’s direction with my friend, is how perplexed I have been about what is missing in my spiritual quest. Once more, timing is everything. Saturday I finally used my Christmas gift, a spa gift card. I was scheduled for a massage, pedicure and manicure. When time came for my luxurious afternoon, I was anxious. Yeah. I said I was anxious about a relaxing all about me afternoon. First, I was nervous about my first massage and pedicure. I am fluffy and more than a little insecure about my weight. Feet just freak and gross me out. As I am sitting in the “relaxation area” sipping my water, I momentarily thought of faking an emergency to justify rescheduling. Instead, I took a deep breath and settled into my comfy chair and started reading “The Best Yes” by Lisa TerKeurst. I was through the first couple of chapters before I was called in for my massage.
Sitting there it began to dawn on me why my spiritual quest felt like a V8 running on 4 cylinders. I read my bible everyday and I enjoy my time reading my bible. I pray throughout the day, it seems less crazy to talk to God than to myself in the course of my day, but I know I need to focus and dedicate some real in-depth prayer time. More than the express prayer in the morning before I start to read my bible. I need to feed my soul. My husband and I went to a connect group on Friday night, and I cannot begin to express the peace in gave me to be fed and pray. It was time scheduled for feeding my spirit, in scripture and prayer and in fellowship too.
Part of my massage time was spent meditating on scripture and what I had already read in Lisa’s book. Part of the time was silent prayer, eventually my mind kind of went blank because a massage is absolute heaven. (Thank you to the husband of the year for that gift!) Once my massage was done I had a little time to read before my pedicure and of course I was able to read during my pedicure too. Lisa talks about her 3.5 hours. It is 3.5 hours she schedules for her writing. She treats it like any other appointment. She honors it. Once I was done at the spa I got home and started to evaluate my schedule. There are four things I need to add to my schedule.
- Dedicated prayer time. I don’t mean a quick prayer or more constantly conversation with God during the day. I mean focused intentional prayer. Prayer that has me digging into scriptures to stand on, scriptures other than my standard Deuteronomy 28 or Psalm 91.
- I need to be fed. I need to attend a connect group that feeds me, that challenges me. I need the fellowship of fellow believers to help sharpen me. (more on this part in a few)
- I need to exercise. Every ache or issue I have relates back to being over weight. I want to go on a mission trip. I want to go hiking. I want to do lots of things that require me to be in much better shape than I am now. I need to exercise for health not vanity.
- I need to find my 3.5 hours. It may not be 3.5 hours, it may be 2. It may be 6. The point is, if any of the books or writing projects are going to be completed, I need to schedule in the time to work on them.
Adding something to my schedule means something has to move.
Knowing Is Half The Battle
I think it was G.I. Joe that had the commercials telling us “Knowing is half the battle”. What they don’t tell you is doing is the other half. As I looked at my schedule Saturday, I started feeling anxious. Where am I going to find another hour or two a day to pray and exercise? A connect group means another night scheduled away from home. The 3.5 hours…yeah right, where is that coming from?
I prayed about it. People depend on me. I have set certain expectations of what I can and will do to serve. Any stepping back sort of feels like I am failing God, failing those I love. I did not hear a voice. No angels showed up in my living room. I just recalled the story Pastor shared about the starving baker and remembered the phrase “Best Yes”. I help in several areas at my church, each are dear to my heart. I have some new responsibilities coming up with my employer that will take more of my time. There is only 1 of me and I can’t afford to starve myself.
Timing really is important. We are coming to the end of the school year and the end of the connect group cycle. My new responsibilities will pick up in late May, early June…so I have some evaluating to do. I do not want to let go or step back on ANYTHING. I am happiest when I am working and serving at my church. I have to accept that if my pitcher gets empty I cannot pour into others. Even God took a day to rest. He commanded the Israelites to have a day of rest. He knows we get run down. He knows we need time alone, time in fellowship and most of all time with Him. It would appear that while God is ordering my steps he will be overhauling my schedule. I…no we, God and I, need to work on my personal “Best Yes”.
Let me just write that on the calendar