I know you. I’ve seen your schedule. You are up at dark-thirty and last one to bed, and you aren’t eating bon-bons and watching soaps. You’re feeding families, doing laundry, volunteering, working, teaching kids. And you’re tired.
‘The trouble with life is that it is so daily,’ my father used to say.
And in our busy, busy world it is very hard to find sanctuary, to find grace. The schedules hold events that have to be done. One missed moment, and the whole thing dominoes into a mess.
We have our own to-do lists. Then the military adds on expectations. And, somehow in our mind, we add on Christian line-items. Oh, we know we are saved by grace, but then we put ourselves into another category of ‘working out our salvation’ that is heavy on us working. The guilt piles on if we aren’t adopting and homeschooling and being missionaries and building houses for the poor and feeding the homeless and and and….
And we end up approaching the throne of grace in shame, somehow certain we should be doing more. We know we’re supposed to live in grace, in rest, but somehow we can’t bring ourselves to believe it. The Lord tries to reason with us, but we can’t seem to hear.
I’m in awe of strong swimmers. People who are comfortable in the water, who can move with it and just glide on top amaze me. I hold my breath, close my eyes, kick with all my might and exhaust myself very quickly.
So too with life. I see saints who can swim in grace, riding through the very same schedule as I have but doing it with joy and ease and not losing their mind. Oh how I want that.
Many will tell you the problem is we’re doing too much, which is true. But many of you simply can’t cut anything out. The babies have to be watched, the house has to be cleaned, the hurting spouse has to be called, the children have to be taught. And even if we could strip down to Amish-simple, I think we’d still be sitting in a bare corner with our head spinning because our soul has not found grace.
How do we do that? How do we live and breathe and move in grace?
For the next few weeks, let’s do some real soul-searching about our busy lives. Here’s a few thoughts to start with:
*Instead of kicking with all our might to the throne, we go there to get grace.
*Gratitude is always a first step.
*Turn the schedule over to Him and allow Him to dictate what gets done. If that is very little, still be thankful. Learn to value what He values—holding a child, counseling a neighbor.
*Expect hard times. Don’t be surprised that some days are hard. Expect days where you can’t get anything checked off and don’t worry about tomorrow. Jesus said ‘each day has enough trouble of its own.’ Recite that to yourself when you are tempted to work yourself to exhaustion.
*Consider carefully your priorities. What are you truly trying to accomplish, and why? Is this what you want to teach your children as important? Do you want them living under this pressure?
*The only one wanting you to live in guilt and despair is the enemy. Take a conscious stand against thoughts of being overwhelmed that are stealing your joy.
Day 1—Psalm 90:1-11. Make a list of the Lord’s attributes, and your attributes. Who do we need to take seriously today, God or ourselves?
Day 2—Psalm 90:12 Numbering our days in our own wisdom can add on the panic: “I only have 52 more Saturdays with my son before college. Eeek!” But how does the Alpha-Omega number days? How will numbering our days help us get a heart of wisdom? Have you seen the calm perspective of the elderly? Things that seem so terribly urgent today come to pass, not to stay. Pray this regularly this week.
Day 3—Psalm 90:13-16 Vs. 16 talks about His deeds and His splendor. If we rush in and do everything in our own strength, we will not get to see these revealed! What are your ultimate goals? What will truly satisfy you and make you sing for joy and be glad all your days?
Day 4—Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
What areas do you need His grace in today?
What do you think of when you hear the term ‘fall from grace’? We usually think of it as someone who has fallen off that exercise wheel—someone in sin, or at least not pulling their weight. But the term in Galatians holds a very different light: “You who are trying to be justified from the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen from grace.” (Gal. 5:4) In what areas are you trying to justify yourself, prove yourself, save yourself? How can you give up? How can you say ‘I can’t do this, it will be Your strength and Your glory Lord’?
Day 5—Psalm 90:17 We trust in the Lord and do what He’s telling us to do. He establishes the work of our hands. How is that relieving to you? What outcome do you need to leave in His hands today?
Don’t let others dictate to you what you should or should not be doing. That is between you and the Lord. He knows what He wants you to handle. An old practice of the monks is to breathe in saying to yourself, “Abba,” breathe out saying “I belong to You.” Doing this for several minutes, several times a day can help center your mind on His control of your life.