Monday, February 10, 2014

Order...

      Order is a part of life. We have calendars, daily planners, weekly planners, to-do lists, and grocery lists all because of order. Weddings, funerals, special events, and church services all have order. Order is a way to organize tasks and time. It is a way to prevent chaos from occurring. Order in many ways, is essential to our increasingly busy lives. I am a fan of order.

       Order is important to me. I can't function without it. I need structure. I have to have an efficient plan for my day, this is why I use a planner. There is nothing wrong with this except for when I put more on my list than I am capable of doing, or when I become too tied to it and God has no room to change my plans. I can get so tied to crossing things off of my list in what I think is the best order, that I leave no room for God to order my day.  In my desire to make the best use of my time in cyber schooling the kids, participating in ministries, caring for my family and caring for my home, I can completely miss God's plan for my day. I have a feeling this has happened more often than I realize and it's recently come to my attention because of some unexpected free time.

     My calendar is pretty full until January comes. January tends to be the month that my weekends are free from family events or the kid's activities. Lately I have found myself asking God to order my days, especially the ones in which I don't have a lot going on. The first time I made this request was on a Saturday. I had woke up early to spend time with Him and felt conflicted over what I might want to do later on that day. I had a few different ideas of my own such as visiting with my aunt, thrift shopping, or taking a nap. During my prayer time, I shared my ideas with God and asked Him to help me make the best use of my free time by ordering my day. I didn't end up doing any of those things that were on my mind. I ended up at a prayer vigil for human trafficking. This wasn't a big event, there were only three of us but God was there and I was where He wanted me to be.

     Since then, I have asked Him to order my day a few more times. I guess I was curious to see how different my days would be if I submitted my plans to Him so that He could change them. On the days that I have prayed those prayers I have had some interesting experiences. I've made last minute visits to check on someone He has put on my heart. I was able to help a neighbor shovel her driveway and express my sympathies for the loss of her husband. She even let me give her a hug! I've done less getting things done in order to have more time to prepare my heart for praying at the food pantry. My dad and I made plans to go visit a great aunt I have never met who lives in Kentucky.  This is the adventure of God's order in my life.

     His order isn't always neat and tidy. Many times it looks like an interruption and perhaps it is. His order is an interruption of my order. His order is better and mine is boring. There is a difference between being organized and being married to your to-do list. There is nothing wrong with making lists and making plans, but they need to be submitted to God. They need to be subject to the changes He will certainly make. In God's order He sees the big picture. He knows that it's more important that I hug my grieving neighbor than finish mopping my floor. He knows that timing is everything. Sure, I could finish mopping and then go knock on her door to express my sympathies but it wouldn't be the same. It wouldn't be the same because I would have missed shoveling her driveway. Shoveling her driveway is a way to be His hands. God's order is fulfilling.The things that He places in front of me to do aren't just one more chore to do. They are often opportunities to love others. They are opportunities that I don't want to miss.

      I know that I have already missed so many of them because I have often chosen my own order over His. I can get caught up in being concerned that if I leave things on my list unfinished they will pile up. They very well might. However, if I really think about it most of the things on my list are temporal things. Most of the things God interrupts me with are eternal. The laundry, the dishes, the mopping, and the vacuuming, will always be there. The people God wants me to talk to, spend time with, pray for, or visit will not. My list of things to do can be completed any time. God's order for my day is all about perfect timing. He knows when the person He is sending me to visit needs to be visited. He knows when it's time for a two hour phone conversation with someone who needs a listening ear.  Those opportunities will not always be there, but the opportunity to do laundry will be there for as long as I live!

    I want to be intentional in asking God to order my days. I want my plans to be interrupted with His plans and I want to be interruptible. What about you?  Are you a planner?  How would your day look different if you asked God to order your day? Would you get more or less accomplished? Would those accomplishments have temporal or eternal value? Would your day be predictable or adventurous? Would you be stressful or stress- free?  Would interruptions no longer be seen as interruptions, but recognized as opportunities?   Perhaps the plans we make should always be written in pencil so that they can easily be erased by the hand of God and rewritten with His own pen.

   

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