Reaching back into my journal from my summer of silence…
WORK or PLAY?
Yesterday I cleaned the garage. It was a hot, dusty, spider-filled day.
And, as it was my long procrastinated attempt at sorting through my too-much stuff again, I was fairly overwhelmed with decision-making. I’ve struggled and failed to find a matrix that works for sorting through 36 years worth of accumulation. Throw in a few childhood memories and I’m sunk.
By the time I came inside to de-cobweb my hair and wash off the sweat of a hard summer day’s work, my little cottage was filled with all manner of pretty things stacked in haphazard disarray. My grandmother’s china overflowed a table in the hallway, vintage creamware cluttered the kitchen counter, boxes and boxes of books awaited my attention.
Isn’t that just the way of life? One mess leads to another until cleaning up messes overrides the best of plans… and I think that maxim applies to relationships as much as to garage cleaning…
So when I woke up early this morning with a rare day alone on the agenda I was torn. Should I spend the day studying for that Pastor’s Conference I am speaking at in Uganda? Or… should I play house with all my pretty things and spend my day creating beauty?
I did neither.
Instead I picked up a catalogue and feasted guiltily on pictures of cozy rooms and elegant arrangements. Between sips of steaming tea, I glanced at my Bible and tried to ignore that insistent sense that I really ought to first listen to the One I’ve given my life to.
I wanted to decorate all day… but I was certain that He would tell me to get to work. And so I stalled and sipped tea and wondered where to put what, feeling like a naughty girl ignoring her chore list as if I was ten years old again. Memories of sneaking a few pages of my Nancy Drew mystery instead of dusting my room came flooding back.
Guilt, guilt, guilt.
Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I tossed the magazine aside and picked up my Bible. How can I call Jesus my Lord and ignore Him as I ready for my day? With a sigh I opened to where I’d left off the day before, ready to listen yet secretly wishing for the freedom to do what I wanted.
What I read… and heard, made me fall in love with my Father all over again. Because He’s not who I seem to consistently think He is: He’s not a taskmaster cracking the whip or a teacher clucking His tongue at my flakiness. He is not waiting for me to open my Bible so He can show me my chore list.
Yes, I listen for instruction. Of course He often corrects me. And sometimes He calls me to deny what I want to do in order to accomplish what I am called to complete. But that’s not the whole picture, not even close.
Here is where my morning reading took me:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You believe in God; believe also in me.
My Father’s house has many rooms:
if that were not so would I have told you
I am going there to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
I could fairly feel the brush of His Spirit against my soul as I breathed in His truth— He’s not mad at me for wanting to decorate my little cottage on Firwood Road! In fact, He is spending His holy hours doing the same— preparing a place for me, a place where we can relish intimacy, a place of rest, a place of untangling troubled hearts caught up in self-imposed pressures.
His love wafted over my stringent should’s like the fragrant candle burning on my bedside table. I breathed deep— and smiled.
And so, this morning, before I get up and putter about arranging my pretty things, I want to remind you what I am just now remembering for myself. Because some of us get it wrong sometimes… and we lose peace… we miss His joy and stagger under a load He hasn’t meant for us to carry. And then we work too hard and feel guilty because we’re crabby and short-tempered and generally hard to live with. (yep, that is me confessing who I’ve been this last week!)
This, then is truth:
Jesus is… a Redeemer lovingly restoring a broken world back to Himself.
He is… a Creator inviting you to play along with Him.
He is… a Maker of Beauty.
From a heart delighting in who He is,
P.S. Are you like me? Do you impose rigid rules on yourself that actually aren’t from the Father? Can you name a few to help us recognize them in ourselves?