Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
Do you ever have those days where it seems like nothing gets done? I am talking about the day that starts out with a plan of things to accomplish, a list of tasks to do, or a schedule of obligations to fulfill. You wake up with every intention to accomplish it all but somehow it is the interruptions that seem to control the day.
I started my summer break last month and was so excited to finally have some unstructured time. I would be able to accomplish some tasks around the house. My plan was to start each day with a morning walk, and my devotions. This would set the foundation for a great day. The first day finally came. I had my list of things to do and started my day with the morning walk. So far so good! When I returned to the house, I had every intention of fixing my breakfast and retreating to the porch for my devotions. As I ate my breakfast, I thought I would just take a moment to check my emails, which, before I knew it, consumed more time than I had planned. So now I needed to get my breakfast dishes put away and I noticed the dishwasher had not been emptied. I thought if I empty this now, then I can go to the porch for my devotional time.
I finished the kitchen and finally retreated to the porch, sitting down with my prayer shawl, devotional, journal and Bible. I truly had the best intentions to spend time with Jesus, however when I sat down and opened up my Bible I looked at the table. There was enough dust on there to write my name in it and underneath it there must have been six stinkbugs. Needless to say this was distracting me and I needed to take care of this before I had my devotions. I got up and went to get a dusting cloth and spray from the cleaning closet, but when I pulled the rag out, several things toppled over requiring me to take the time to clean and reorganize the entire closet (after all, this was one of the tasks on my list of things to do).
When I finished reorganizing the closet, I went out to the porch to dust the table and pick up the stink bugs. This turned into a much more involved cleaning project than just dusting the furniture and sweeping the floor, since I discovered the results of a leak in the corner. While getting this project completed, the phone rang. It was my father, which consumed the rest of the morning.
Did I ever do my devotions? I have to be honest with you. The day seemed to fill itself with one distracting activity that led into another one, from laundry to cleaning out drawers to making dinner for a friend. While I was working on each task, I felt the guilt looming over my head that I had not completed my devotional time yet. I was seeking God as I worked, but I had not spent time reading His word, His wisdom and listening to His voice.
Whether your distraction is dust, dishes, dirt, or other demands of the day, how do you handle the detour from your original plan and priority? Do you allow the day and the events to control your time and activities? Do you look at each task and assess its importance to your goals? Or, do you fall victim and give complete power to the distractions?
Each day is a new beginning of making a conscious choice to look to Christ for guidance in the activities for the day. Sometimes our days are scheduled tightly with obligations and activities planned for every moment. Other times our days are filled with our own plans and goals and sometimes it is completely overwhelmed with demands of others over which we feel we have no control. Whatever your day brings, distractions are likely to occur. It is a choice to let the distractions and demands have control or to take control and find contentment in the choices that you make.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
In other words, we have a choice as to what voice we hear as we make decisions for our day.
So as I look back at the frustrating detours to my day, I will try to make each task a basis for a prayer. For instance, praying for the shelter of my house as I clean the dusty areas and even throw out the stink bugs. I will pray for the people in my family that own the items in the closet as I clean it out. My closet involved organizing church meeting notes, my school lunch bags which would allow me to pray for my church and school.
We can use any distraction or task as a basis to pray. This can extend to laundry, cleaning your bathroom and even making dinner. Praying for those who wear the clothes, sleep in the beds, and with meals there are multitude of blessings to praise God.
Of course there will be days when circumstances consume more time than we had planned, but remember, if we do everything for the glory of God, He will bless us richly giving us a true sense of purpose and peace, even in the distractions.
Remember Proverbs 19:21: “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
Dear Loving Lord, How small and narrow my thoughts can be. I truly want to turn my distractions to time with you, praying for my blessings and interceding for those whom I love and for those whom are important to You. Help me to rejoice always, pray continually and intentionally live each moment for your Purpose. Amen