The end of summer came way too fast. Usually I’m itching for the structure and routine school brings, but this year was different. As deadlines approached, the more intentional I had to be about getting prepared. I put everything off until the last minute, as if that would delay reality. I could not motivate myself to switch from summer to school mode!
Don’t get me wrong, I am deeply grateful for the freedom, opportunity and ability to home school. When I am tempted by other options that require less of me, I always come full circle to being totally onboard with God’s path for our family. The discipline, effort and sacrifice are worth it.
At the same time, I enjoy the freedom of summer. We stay just as busy, but the intensity eases. We get to do more because we want to do it, not because we have to. With less to juggle, there’s less stress, less emotion, and more fun.
But alas, like death and taxes, the start of school is non-negotiable. While I no longer have the luxury of dragging my feet, I am dragging my heart! As I do, I’m realizing my resistance is about more than just school. There’s a deeper problem. A monster with many heads. A selfishness with many manifestations.
Even as my fingers hit the keyboard, I’m increasingly uncomfortable. Increasingly convicted as the Lord opens my eyes to just how out of control my indignation has become. How frequently I gripe as I do what is my job to do. How often my tone is uncooperative. How quick I am to make unnecessary comments to vent my displeasure or draw attention to how inconvenienced I feel or how sacrificial I’m being.
I tell myself my problem is too little time: “Woe is me! Can’t you see everything that is pulling me in all directions? I can only be expected to do so much!”
The real problem, though, is not getting to do what I want with the time that I have.
So what my attitude is really saying is, “Can’t you see you’re expecting me to inconvenience me entirely too much? Can’t you see what I want is more important than God’s calling?”
What can we do when we outright don’t feel like doing what’s required of us? There’s no getting around the fact that there are times when we literally have to suck it up and do it, whatever it is. That’s just life. It’s part of living in obedience to Him and His word. Part of becoming wholly His.
The thing is, He has so much more for us! More than drudgery and survival. More than gritting our teeth and getting through it.
In His love and grace, God is prodding me to change my mindset, reminding me:
My time is not my own. “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Corinthians 6:20). I belong to God. As His child, I am to serve the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:24) by serving others – my husband and children, my church, neighbors, and community. Nowhere in all of the scriptures does it say to serve myself, and yet, that becomes my driving goal way too much of the time. I may have responsibilities and things I have to get done, but He has the right to interrupt my agenda for His purposes.
Do all things “heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance” (Colossians 3:23-24). Even when we do things for someone else, we’re really doing them for the Lord.
Do all things without grumbling and complaining (Philippians 2:14). This is the greatest measure of my mindset. Lord, I want to be known as having a merry heart and a joyful countenance (Proverbs 15:13)!
Give thanks to God the Father always for all things in Jesus’ name (Ephesians 5:20), including the things we’d rather not be doing. Gratitude has a way of changing our focus and perspective (see “Gratitude Grows Green Grass”).
Value Jesus. “Count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8).
I love the servant attitude Chick Fil A trains into its people. Every time you ask for something, they respond with some variation of, “My pleasure.” As regulars, I find myself repeating that signature phrase, but usually, it’s with gritted teeth or sappy sarcasm. I truly hate that about myself, but at some point, by the grace of God and His ongoing work in my heart, I’d like to think I’ll mean it, not just some of the time, but all of the time.
Lord, we surrender to You this morning. We want to do what You have for us to do with our time, not just in action, but in attitude. Create in us pure hearts, undivided and sincerely seeking to please You as we become more wholly Yours today.