I started this blog on New Year’s Eve. I had high hopes and great expectations of a new, fresh start. I would write a little every day, read through the Bible in a year (3 chapters a day and 5 on Sunday), cut my calorie intake to a reasonable amount, and not yell at the TV during football games. I even bought a new devotional book for Doris and I to do together. (The pages are falling out of Jesus Calling.)Then life happened. Mom was put in the hospital, had emergency surgery, intensive care, and just yesterday admitted to a rehab center. My brother-in-law was also admitted to the hospital, underwent a battery of tests, and only last Monday released. On top of that there have been clients to see, year-end reports to begin, budget meetings to attend, and emails to answer. I have been sleeping in hospital chairs, updating FaceBook, previewing nursing homes, and wolfing down Big Macs from behind the steering wheel. I am 31 chapters behind on my Bible reading. The devotional book has not been opened (though we have gone back to Jesus Calling about every day), and I am just now picking up this blog again.
Stuff doesn’t always fall into place the way we anticipated it would. Schedules fall through, budgets get out of whack, goals get set aside, and we get lost in the morass of the mundane. We are swallowed up by life and it’s only January 12. Not only does that happen for the New Year but it happens for the new you. We decide to be different. Stop an old habit. Start a new one. Change a relationship or change ourselves in a relationship. The intentions are good but BAM, life smacks us in the face and before we know it we are right back to business as usual and living under the weight of regret. Sound familiar? It sure does for me. In fact, the older I get the more it seems that life is winning.
Two things come to my mind this morning, first Jesus is not surprised by that. He anticipated it. Remember the conversation with Peter on the seashore after an early morning fish fry. I love Peter. He is the king of big plans and good intentions. “I’ll follow you anywhere Lord.” “Give me a sword, they won’t get by me.” “I’ll never deny you Jesus.” Even on this morning he is declaring, “Lord, after all this, I’m your guy. I love you. I’ll take care of your business for you.” And Jesus says,” Peter, when you were young you went where you wanted to go but the older you get, the more life dictates the direction of things for you.” (The gospel according to me.) He says. “You will reach a point where others will pick out the clothes you will wear and even make you go places you do not want to go.” (John 21) Things are only going to get more and more out of your control, He says. And brother, He was right.
My calendar seems to fill itself up. My schedule for the day begins screaming at me the night before and my To Do list shakes me awake at 3AM and says, “You’ve got no chance of getting this stuff finished.” I pile on top of that a healthy (actually unhealthy) dose of should haves, and oughts, and I am pretty much sunk before the boat ever leaves the dock. Frustrating to me maybe but not surprising to Jesus.
Which leads me to the second thing, also from Him, He has a plan for all of that. In Matthew 6 He is wrapping up the Sermon from the Mountain. It has been a good talk about blessings and staying focused on the right things. I am sure a lot of people are standing there saying, “Hey, I’m going to do this stuff. A whole new way of living for me. I’m putting a plan in place and this time next year you aren’t even going to recognize me. I’ll be a lean, mean Jesus machine.” Jesus gets that from them and He says this, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (Matt. 6:34 MSG) Pretty good advice, huh?
Listen, plans, and dreams, and goals, and even New Year’s Resolutions, aren’t bad. They help us focus. They challenge us. They can be agents for change. But be prepared. Life is going to happen. It may come at you in ways you never expected. It may be doing that now. You only have one job. Look for what Jesus is doing around you and in you right this minute and plug into that. Tomorrow we’ll figure out the next thing to do but for today, just me and Jesus. The 12 Step crowd says “Living one day at a time. Accepting life on life’s terms.” I can do that. I’ll try to catch up on my Bible reading. I’ll get some of my running in, and Doris and I will get to the devotional book later. But for now, take a deep breath and see God at work. And revel in that….while you’re at it, have a BigMac. Mike