Last fall over a nice breakfast at an outdoor cafe, Jim spoke life giving words of advice to me which have changed how I seek to view each day. We were discussing things I wanted to accomplish or seemed pressured to make happen. Some of them were personal: time alone with God, working out, making healthy food, while others were family and work related. He could tell I was frazzled with everything that I felt needed to be done. After listening, he asked if he could share an observation with me. (I was encouraged that he had listened so well and that he asked my permission to speak into it. We have been working on communication and that was a big bonus time for us!) What he shared stunned me as I realized how accurate he was.”Bethie, I’ve noticed that you tend to measure your days by what you DON’T accomplish versus what you DO get done.” I sat in amazement as he continued, “You get a lot done in a day. You are using your time well and are disciplined. But, you are not content with what you accomplish on any given day. This is a frustrating way for you to live and will lead to continual discontentment.” Jim was spot on!
I thought back to a time about 12 years ago when my dear friend Phyllis Stanley told me that she prayed each morning for the Lord to “order her days.” We had discussed the very thing that Jim was pointing out to me: “Why can’t I seem to be content with what I accomplish versus what doesn’t get done? How do I order my days?” I am in my 50’s, and had hoped I would have this figured out by now!
Maybe you experience this as a mommy missionary as you look around the house that has somehow gone from picked up to resembling a disaster zone in 30 minutes while you showered and did your hair! Or, maybe you were prepping food for people to come over and noticed the kids had been silent for a while, only to discover they were decorating your walls with markers. So much of motherhood is just getting everyone through the day, dressed, fed and kept alive! It isn’t anything we would usually write down on a to-do list so it can be easy to feel like we got nothing done by the end of the day. I remember times when our sons were young that I would write a list down of things to be done (some of which I had already accomplished) in order to cross the list off so that I might feel better about my day. Seriously Beth?
I am trusting the Lord to teach me in this area. It is a temptation daily to be hard on myself for the things I don’t do versus seeing each day as a blessing and allowing God to order my day. Several verses out of Psalm 90 seem to articulate this best:
- “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom”…(Ps.90:12)
- “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days”…(Ps.90:14)
- “ Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” (Ps. 90:17)
I am asking God to guide me as I seek to order each day according to His wisdom and have sensed more peace and calm in my heart. The Lord gives 24 hours each day. All He is asking is that I am faithful to what He is asking of me, no more, no less. Living in NYC it takes more time and energy to do everything from gathering groceries to catching the subway. In addition, there is so much to see and experience that regardless of what I am doing, it feels like I’m missing out and not doing other things! Each day has new challenges of its own and asking God to order my day is essential. I want to live a life satisfied in His love trusting him to establish, bless and multiply the work of my hands. As a result, I believe that my heart will grow in wisdom and my soul will rejoice in the steadfast love of the Lord.
As you minister to those around you both little and big, maybe you would like to join me in praying this prayer: So teach me, Lord, to number my days that I may gain a heart of wisdom. Satisfy me in the morning with your steadfast love that I may rejoice and be glad all my days. Lord, please establish the work of my hands as I seek to live to bring honor and glory to your name. With this prayer, I hope we all slowly learn to measure our days not by what we didn’t get done, but by what we did!