We leave for our vacation to Texas tomorrow. However, the word â€œtomorrowâ€ needs some clarification. For the past several weeks, I have been under the (mistaken) impression that we were to leave late Friday night (technically, Saturday morning). But, as I was looking at the e-ticket last night, something in the wording just didnâ€™t look right. This morning, I was still more than a little concerned, so I called a very helpful ticket agent (and probably gave him and his co-workers a good laugh), who verified my suspicionsâ€¦Yes, we do in fact leave tonight. So, of course, I did what anyone would doâ€¦I panicked. I went into hyper-drive, and began running around like a crazy person trying to get the laundry finished, the house cleaned, the boarding passes printed, our rental car reservations changedâ€¦all while keeping Hannah semi-entertained â€” and I was beginning to lose it. I found myself getting frustrated with Hannah, with the process of packing, with the lack of timeâ€¦ And as I looked around at the chaos I began to think of our girls Bible study last night. What was the topic? Priorities.
We are reading Lies Women Believe, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, and last nightâ€™s chapter was on priorities. It was full of great insights, and encouragements as I read through it a few days ago in preparation for our meeting. As we sat at Starbucks last night, and talked about what we had learned, I was once again reminded how important it is for me to start out my day with time spent in Godâ€™s Word and prayer. But, just overnight I had forgotten – again. DeMoss says,
â€œI know the great value and importance of spending time alone with God in His Word and prayer each dayâ€¦.But far too often I find myself turning my attention to the details and tasks of the day without first taking adequate time to â€œinquire of the Lord.â€ When I do so, what I am really saying (though Iâ€™d never actually say it) is that I can handle that day on my own – apart from the presence, wisdom, and grace of God. I am saying I can do my work, keep my home, handle my relationships, and deal with my circumstances without Him. That independent, self-sufficient spirit is an expression of pride.â€ (p. 123)
As I looked at the mess I had created, both in my home and in my mind, I realized that while my to-do for the next few hours list had to be reorganized, there is one item that can never change. My time with the Lord must remain a consistent priority – regardless of my circumstances. It is only through time with the Lord, seeking His grace and strength that I can face all that the day holds. Without that time, my words, my reactions to circumstances, my thoughts are going to be self-centered, and far from honoring the Lord. So, after about an hour or two of running around like crazy complaining about how little time I had, and all that I had to do, and accomplishing absolutely nothing, I sat down with my Bible, and did what I should have done at the start.
Of course the conviction was immediate as I began reading in Ephesians 4:1-2,
â€œTherefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in
a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in loveâ€¦â€
Well, I certainly was not behaving in a way worthy of someone called to serve Christ. I was impatient, complaining, frustrated, selfishâ€¦all over a simple misunderstanding. Later in this same chapter, in verses 23-24 we are told to:
â€œâ€¦be renewed in the spirit of your
mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been
created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.â€
The only way to â€œbe renewed in the spirit of your mindâ€ is to spend time in the Word! Only then can we be convicted of our sin and selfishness (â€put offâ€), and understand what needs to replace those wrong attitudes and behaviors (â€put onâ€).
I am so thankful that the Lord used this time in His word to refocus my mind and my thoughts. After seeking His forgiveness for my sinful behavior, I was able to begin the day again. But, this time I had a new perspective â€” a biblical perspective. The tasks ahead no longer seemed so daunting, Hannah didnâ€™t seem as clingyâ€¦Did my circumstances change? No. We still have to be at the airport tonight, and I still had to pack and get the house cleaned, and keep Hannah entertained. But, I was very vividly reminded that my time with the Lord has to be a priority. I canâ€™t just say that it is a priority, but live as though it doesnâ€™t matter when circumstances become busy or stressful. I have to make it a priority. It has to stay at the top of my â€œto-do listâ€ regardless of what other tasks or people are demanding my attention. If I am going to â€œwalk worthy of the callingâ€ on a daily basis, I have to remember that I cannot do it on my own strength.