About a week ago, maybe two, I wrote an article about making plans lightly so that I can be more pliable to God’s leading. This is an area of weakness for me, which is probably why God continually throws me curve balls. I must admit, standing at home plate, bat in hand, it can be hard to know which ones to let pass and which to swing at. I’ve always taken a “swing at everything” approach, trusting God to intercept when necessary.
Until it comes to the day to day, then everything looks like a bad pitch. The other day I received two exciting emails, almost back to back. One was from an editor of a very respected magazine requesting an article I had queried about and another was from an international ministry that seemed so inline with my passion and personality, I just knew it was from God. I was a little concerned about all the responsibilities and ministry obligations I already have scheduled, but I just knew God would work it out. He was the one opening the doors of heaven, so He’d be the one to provide the bucket big enough to catch it all.
Now those are the type of assignments a Christian wants to surrender to. These emails led to a day of praise and prayer. As we drove home from a week-long vacation, I told God that I would surrender my plans, expectations, and goals to Him. I would be completely pliable. (Although, I must admit, I had my weekly to-do list scheduled in my iphone calendar.)
But then I got home and surrender wasn’t quite so glamorous. We returned to a dead sprinkler system, and equally dead lawn, an empty fridge, and pounds of laundry. While my husband attempted to fix our sprinkler, I headed to the store. Not a good idea on a Sunday evening, especially the second to last Sunday before the start of school. Two hours, and two phone calls later (why does everyone call the minute you step inside the grocery store?) I returned home rather frazzled. And I still had quite a bit of unpacking and laundry to do. Along with a very busy week ahead.
It was about to get busier. While I was gone, my husband had determined the cause of our sprinkler problems. Apparently we had blown a fuse, which meant we needed an electrician. Although I would have preferred Monday when I already had a repairman scheduled to fix my new stationary bike, the electrician couldn’t come until Tuesday. The day of our daughter’s thirteenth birthday party, when I’d be taxiing kids to and from our house and juggling a bunch of ravenous, giggling teens.
Okay, so I can handle this. No biggie. A couple hours at the pool, some grilled burgers, and a little Wii and we’re good to go. But then my husband reminded me that his parents were coming in on Friday, which meant that I’d have about three days to shovel whatever mess the girls had made during the party, do some quick meal planning, and hit the grocery store once again. If I was even here. Should my sister go into labor (which she is long overdue for) anytime between now and Sunday, all plans are shot and I’m off to Nebraska to whisk my three year old nephew off her and her husband’s hands, potentially leaving my husband to play host. (I hope my in-laws like fast food.) And if she goes into labor on Saturday night, my husband, daughter, and in-laws are going to have to cover my Sunday school class in the morning. Either that, or I’ll need to drive the three hours back home with my nephew in tow.
Needless to say, I was anything but the cheery housewife I would like to pretend to be. As I stepped over the mounds of post-trip clutter to make dinner while waiting for the load of laundry to get done, I fumed at all the things that were getting in the way of my surrender. I know, many of you are laughing right now, but I was so consumed with self and my “God-given” agenda that I lost my pliability.
Until I happened upon Anne Baxter’s blog post on the kingdom of God. As I read her article on the kingdom of God being within you, I was reminded of the conversation I had had with God on my drive home. How quick I had been to surrender everything to Him–when I thought that meant a writing assignment or ministry opportunity. When it meant folding laundry or waiting for electricians, not so much.
Thanks, Anne, for the much needed heart check your article provided. It reminded me that surrender is not just for the big things, but also for the day to day.