Monday is here, folks.
Either you're super excited for a fresh start doing what you love, or you're dreading it because you're not so crazy about where you're at. There might be an in-between.. you don't love it, but you don't hate it, not really any complaints. There's plenty of levels of adoration you could be feeling about the upcoming week.
Some of us might dive head-first back into the craziness that the work week brings us. Some of us might not have stopped working over the "weekend" even, or some of us will ease back into it. Sorting through emails, prioritizing the tasks for the week, so on and so forth.
Whatever your level of stress, anxiety, joy, or excitement that thoughts of this week bring you.. remember this.
"All things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and by him all things hold together."
Last week, I came home from work and it was a beautiful evening, still sunny and warm, so I decided I was going to sit on the deck for awhile. If you know me, you know I'll typically get home and just get right back on my computer for a few hours. Well, it'd been about 2 weeks of go, go, go and the introverted side of me knew I needed a break. I knew what I needed, and that was time to just sit and read and not look at any screens for awhile. I opened up my Bible and it happened to be to the verse above in the book of Colossians 1.
We were created through Him and for Him.
We weren't created for other people, to fulfill the needs of every human being around us. We weren't created to wear ourselves thin, to get so stressed that we snap at others when they disrupt our plans by just five minutes. No, He created us to bring His kingdom glory, to fill us with his wisdom and knowledge, to rescue us from the darkness and fill us with His light, so that we too, could be a light in the darkness to those around us.
Each of us was uniquely created with special gifts and talents- talents that only you possess. Things that only you can do. Do you know what your special qualities are? Are you using those on a daily, weekly, monthly basis or are you brushing them off to the side because you can't possibly make a living doing what you know you were created to do?
Have you ever thought that your life isn't just for you? That by doing what you were created to do, you're impacting the lives of those around you and it might just be you living your life that completely changes another's life because of the impact you had?
When we stop being so concerned with being labeled "successful" by other people and truly pursue and work on those things we're gifted for, something starts to happen. We find freedom, we find peace, we find blessings upon blessings. Sure, you might have to balance a full-time job and those passions on the side at first, or for quite a while, but will you trust the Lord to provide for you, even if it doesn't seem possible?
We weren't created for other humans. To check off item after item on our to-do lists. To get little sleep because we're beyond stressed. To be super high strung every minute of the day. That's not how He wants us to live.
We were created for the Lord. When we allow Him to use our lives in the ways He created us for, you never know what could happen. All I know is that He has far greater plans than anything we can imagine, and that reminder was something I needed. When my priorities get clustered and I start to make excuses for why I'm not doing this or that, when I start to say yes to things I know deep down I should have passed on, I start to feel it. I'm busying myself with things that yes, might bring in some extra money, but that will take up the time I could be doing the things that I know in my heart the Lord wants and needs me to do.
What will you busy yourself with this week? Outside of work, will you take the time and use it to shine brighter to those around you, or will you use it to mindlessly pass the time watching TV, playing video games, or things you know you could spend less time doing?
The choice is ours to make! Let's make this world bright. Let Him use us in ways that only He can.
Have you ever felt totally helpless with a situation and wanted to help so badly but had no idea how?
I came face-to-face with one of those situations the other day, and it reminded me a whole lot of how the Lord probably feels with us sometimes.
A man had been sent to the area to complete a task for us, then would head back to the Chicago area after he was finished. Well, what sounds like it would be sweet and simple trip turned into a whole hour-long struggle, one in which I felt totally helpless.
You see, the man didn't speak english, his phone was out of data, and he had no idea how he was going to get home. He took his phone and signaled that he needed to use ours. I thought he was trying to say his phone was dead so he needed ours, but when he showed it to me, his battery was full. I was confused, so I handed him the phone. He seemed a bit nervous and stressed, but I couldn't pin why. I tried asking him in Spanish if he needed directions, but he didn't speak Spanish, either.
Well, shoot. He called a number multiple times with no luck. He was leaving voicemails and I could just tell he was becoming quite frantic. His hands were trembling and with each unanswered phone call, you could sense his anxiety rising.
At last, his contact answered and after much discussion, it was solved. He connected to wifi, loaded the map, and then was on his way. That doesn't mean I wasn't still nervous, I got on the phone twice before he left asking if the man's map would still load on his phone once he wasn't connected to wifi any longer. Yes, he assured me, it would take him home.
It was a simple, quick easy solution. Connect to the wifi, load the map, head out on his way. However, with language barriers and unanswered calls, it seemed completely out of anyone's control.
When I was driving home that night, I couldn't stop thinking about that, and thought of how so many times, I have felt like that man. I had an idea of where I was going or what I was doing, but ultimately, the Lord had control over it all.
How many times have I felt frustrated, anxious, afraid? How many times have I tried to handle something all on my own, only for it to overwhelm me because it wasn't something I was meant to do alone? How many times does the Lord watch over us and just wait for us to lean into Him, surrender it all, and trust Him to work it all for our good? Probably way more often than we'd like to admit.
He doesn't give up on us though. He's there- the one constant, even when we choose to try to do it on our own and resort to Him lastly when we've run out of data ourselves.
I can always tell when I've "run out of data." My mind gets to racing and I become super high-strung and stressed. I know during those times what I need, and that's quiet time to just be with the Lord and decompress, but it's also during those times when I have to force myself to do it, otherwise the to-do list will keep winning.
We don't have to run out of data. We don't have to keep pushing ourselves, using it all up until we've reached the limit. We can pause. We can seek direction, comfort, healing, clarity, discernment from Him before we get to that point. We can pause for five or ten minutes in our hectic schedules and refocus.
It's not easy. It's tough to trust someone we can't see, to trust He will guide us where He needs us, doing what He created us to do. You might get "recalculated" and rerouted more than you anticipated, but He'll always lead us, never forsake us, and always be our guide, whether we understand where we're headed or not. He sees us, He knows our futures, and He's never going to let us run out of data.