Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Holding it Together

I start most days with the best intentions.

I have an ongoing to-do list, keep an up-to-date calendar, plan our meals a week at a time, and strategize how to approach projects. I try to go to bed at 10pm (and make it by 11 most nights!).

But I've discovered this great truth: there just isn't enough time in the day to accomplish everything.

In one sense, I've always known this, because I don't usually care if I cross things off the to-do list and I am definitely not an Achiever.  But as we now prepare to plant a church in New York City, time seems so much more precious and I constantly feel like I'm grasping just to hold onto it a little longer.

We all like to believe the illusion that we have our lives together, that we're actually in control of each moment. When my day goes as I've planned, I can pat myself on the back at the end of it and congratulate myself on how well prepared, how disciplined and industrious, I was. Good job, self! You accomplished and earned everything you wanted today.

But what happens when my day feels overwhelming before it's even started, when the to-do list has only grown longer, when I've let people down because I couldn't make time for them, when my children are whining and clinging to me, when our calendar is empty of support-raising appointments, when there are phone calls, thank you notes, newsletters, blog posts, and messages to write and I haven't had time even to eat? If completing these tasks is dependent on my ability, then when I fail (as I always do), what do I say to myself then?

Some days, I feel like I'm barely holding it together. Some days, it takes everything in me not to scream at my husband and kids and walk out the door without a backward glance. When I look at our meager finances, our unfinished house, our too-fast-approaching desired departure date, I am tempted to despair. When I think of all the people I need to call, to see, to connect with, I am exhausted.

But the problem in all of this, whether good days or bad, is that I'm looking at me.
I am not the center of the universe. I cannot scoop up the ocean in my hands, nor measure the sky between my thumb and little finger. I did not make the stars or am able to call each one by name. I have no control even over the next breath that I take, much less the order of my day or the tasks I can complete. And I certainly cannot take credit for bringing people onto our support team or successfully sending us to NYC.

No, instead, I have to look to Jesus. For he is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. By him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. Jesus is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  

All things, like my family. My calendar. My hopes and plans. My fears and disappointments. My life, my to-do list, my finances, my house, my relationships.  

My life isn't about me, nor is it about how well or how much I achieve. For Christ has already accomplished everything on my behalf! The truth is, I do a terrible job at "holding it all together". So today, every day, I turn to him. He is God after all.

So, have I let you down lately?


1 comment:

  1. Nicole,

    I find it helpful to remember that Jesus only had 24 hours in each day too. Best that I can figure, the way to figure out how to use them well has to do with listening to the Holy Spirit all the while you're doing the necessary or scriptural things, like taking care of your children, being prepared to answer those who ask about your hope, or taking out the trash. My own expectations are always more numerous than the Lord's, and when I listen He seems to step in and sort it all out, or provide help.

    It will do no good to gather a list of ways you've failed people, Nicole. Either you should go to them right away if you know of a situation, or they should come to you on their own and tell you. Otherwise you'll be out of Philippians 4:8 territory in terms of what you're dwelling on.

    Your kids are well cared for, your husband praises you in the gates, and together you're listening to the Lord's voice for your lives. The rest will no doubt be imperfect sometimes, but is covered by his perfect love. "He gently leads those who are with young", and boy don't we need it most then!