I’ve been very anxious and overwhelmed this week, feeling like there is so much more that I want/need to be doing with my time than I am able. I just recently took on teaching ESL to a couple from our church for 2 hours, 2 days a week. It’s not a huge amount of time, but it does put a dent into two of the days I had with nothing going on. In addition to that, I am still editing curriculum for a nonprofit, writing a book, applying for jobs, doing house projects, reading voraciously, training for a triathlon, and managing my household by doing laundry, grocery shopping, dishes and cleaning. Who knew I could be so stressed out without a job? (I’m that good.)
I am seeing (yet again!) that my anxiety comes from me concerning myself with the big picture and How It Will All Work Out. And the reason I do that is because I am scared of failing. I am scared of letting things fall through the cracks, of appearing like I don’t have it all together and actually not having it together. I let all of these good things settle on my shoulders, until it feels like I am carrying around a 75-lb backpack everywhere I go. I also make all these good things into My Standard for the Christian Life and if I fall short by even one thing, I am racked with guilt and a I-completely-suck mentality.
It is so hard to live in dependence on God in the practical matters of life! It is hard to entrust God with the things you feel responsible for, the things you have on your plate, all the while knowing that for them to get done, you’re the one who actually has to do them. I mean, my dog is not going to send my resume in to potential employers. Travis is not going to train for the triathlon. The book is not going to write itself. I’m the one who has to do those things.
But I’ve discovered that it all comes down to timing. These things have to get done…but when? My answer to that question is usually something like, “Right now. Yesterday. Two weeks ago. Don’t even get me started.” It’s the illusion that I’m constantly behind or that there’s not enough time to do everything that is stressing me out. It’s not the amount of things to do, but the apparent lack of time.
That’s where God comes in. Since He is outside time, He knows what to do with it. I like to imagine God sitting at a table with all of my goals, tasks and chores spread before Him. As He looks over the things on the table, He grabs one and hands it to me. “Do this one now,” He says calmly. When I interject about another thing on the table and how it’s going to get done and when, He doesn’t answer my question but rather reaffirms His initial instruction. He knows what needs to get done and when; I have to trust His choice and instruction.
I have to believe that if a day flies by and it feels like I have not accomplished even a quarter of the things I wanted to, or if I truly feel like reading a book instead of writing one, or if something unexpected happens like the car breaking down, or the Rec being closed, or me getting sick, these things do not throw God for a loop and derail His plan. His plan is not g0-go-go without rest stops or potty breaks. He is a loving God who cares more about my spiritual state and relationship with Him than He does about what I accomplish in a particular day, though I continually run to Things I Got Done to prove my worth and validate my existence.
Ultimately, I have to believe that God’s timing is perfect and He is working in my life in mundane, everyday ways that sometimes I don’t even notice (though I want to notice them more often!). God’s ways are so much higher than my ways that He is coordinating even the slightest, smallest details in my life to accord with His plan.
“For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart Him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?” (Isaiah 14:27)
“The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.” (Psalm 138:8)
“This God–His way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true.” (Psalm 18:30a)