Friday, November 14, 2008

Praying Mantis on the Broccoli Tree. Part 1

This morning I awoke with a mental list of all the things needing to be done today. I chose to mull over my endless list before slowly swinging my legs over the side of my bed.
unfortunately as I was lifting myself up,the list became my god for the day instead of choosing God as the Lord of my day. In return I felt like I was carrying a heavy bag before the day even began.

I am not proud to share this. However,I am a blessed mother of many children with many demands that await me daily. It would be unfortunate for me to pretend that I had it all together and to share about all the wonderful things I do right. In fact, my heart is for others to see that I have many moments of weakness and my share of failures.

How about you? Can you relate here? Don't we connect and bond with others when we share real life of struggles and frailties along with the victories and successes? There is freedom in admitting to ourselves and others that we cannot do it all. This brings me to one of the most influential books I read this year,"Choosing to Cheat", by Andy Stanley. Today, I thought of the book and the straightforward truth that this writing offers to real people living in a world with high demands and worldly pressures.

As the holidays are approaching we usually find ourselves busier. Not only do we have our normal responsibilities, we have the extra load of list making, meal planning, gift shopping, card mailing as well as company parties, decorating, hostessing, and on and on it goes. I thought that the title, "Choosing to Cheat" is a great motto for the holiday season. What this means is that somewhere and somehow, you are cheating. Either I am cheating on my "to do" list by spending time with my family, or I am cheating on people who need me by striving to complete duties. May we choose to cheat on the right things.

If I consider the number of hours in a day, there is no possible way I can fold all of the laundry, clean the toilets, mop the floors, return all the phone calls, wash all the dishes, exercise, trim my toenails, pluck my eyebrows,put on my makeup, shave my legs,cook 5 course meals,and spend adequate time with my family. If I find myself trying to fit all the things into a day that I think should be done, someone is going to get cheated. Even as I am writing this, my 9 year old son came up to me and said, "Mom, you gotta come outside and see this grass hopper thing!" I knew I did not want to miss a special moment with my child. So I stopped writing and ventured outside barefoot to see his new found discovery. It was a praying mantis propped up on a tree that the children call the "broccoli tree". We had a great time observing the strange little creature. And it was a great opportunity to show my child the messages God gives us in nature.

In reality when you consider the limited amount of time in a day, there is no way you can reach your full potential in all those areas. There is just not enough time. And the wonderful thing about it is that God never intended it to be that way. So you know what? You are free!

The time requirements are endless, so the pressure is off of you. In Stanley's book, "Choosing to Cheat", he says this. "Your problem is not discipline. Your problem is not organization,. Your problem is not that you have yet to stumble onto the perfect schedule. And your problem is not that the folks at home demand too much of your time. The problem is there is not enough time to get everything done that you are convinced-or others have convinced you-needs to get done."

As a result of this there is someone or something that will not get what they want from you. You just cannot be all things to all things and people. You are going to have to cheat somewhere.

It is in this realization that you can find peace and contentment. A weight is lifted and we know we can be free to cheat on the things that really are not as important. Yes, I would love to be 20 pounds lighter, but what time would I miss with my children by focusing too much on my weight? I would enjoy having a spotless house, but one day I will regret moments with my kids when they wanted a hug, or a snuggle, or even some time in the yard checking out praying mantises in broccoli trees.

Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away. So let us join together and cheat a little so we can relish all the blessings we have. In addition, choose to be content even if everything does not get done. If we could accomplish everything we would not need the Lord! The message is for me as much as for anyone else. I want to enjoy God's best for my life each day. And my heart for you is that you too will reap the joys and benefits of God's abundance for you. Let us all aim to align our priorities with God's priorities this upcoming season.

As I am finishing this blog, it is 10 p.m. There is a basket of unfolded clothes in the laundry room. There are several dirty glasses by the sink and few toys were left on the floor. But I am going to leave them all right where they are and cheat on my household chores. Now I am going to sit with my teenagers and husband and enjoy the rest of my evening. The day did not start off great. But it is ending sweetly! It is well with my soul.

Morning Bagel: Jesus said, " Love the Lord your God with all your your passion and prayer and intelligence" This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set along side it: Love others as well as you love yourself. These two commandments are pegs:everything in God's Law and the prophets hangs from them. Matthew 22:37-40 (The Message Bible)

Daily Hug: My hug to you today and from your God is that His grace is sufficient in all things. Personally, I failed today. I gave my life to the God of lists and busyness instead of the one true God of life and peace-. But He understands and knows that it is difficult for us in this world of pressures and unrealistic expectations. May His mercy and patience and understanding bind us together in the reality that without Him we are lost. And that without His strength, our own strength will not accomplish very much for too long.

Lord, Thank you for understanding the struggles and pressures I face each day as woman and as a mother. Help me not to allow tasks in the work place or in my home to steal a part of me that belongs somewhere else with someone else. I choose to guard my heart against preoccupation with the less important duties and to be engaged in the places and with the people who are the most precious. I cannot do this in my own strength Lord. But I can do all things through Christ who so graciously enables me to this. You are faithful and I believe You will help me this holiday season to stay off the fast track and to rest in Your presence.Thank you Father. In Jesus Name. Amen.

1 comment:

kblair said...

So timely for me. I was barely able to concentrate on reading the blog as I thought about the things I need to get done today. There are a few essentials but I'm not going to cheat on my family today.
Thank you Ange.