It’s that time of year again. Time to plan. Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, New Years, and all of the little celebrations in between which would be birthdays in my household.
Do you make lists? I make lists, and more lists, and lists of lists. If I don’t keep making the lists, I feel like I am missing something. Right now I have a running list for our schooling through the end of the year.
I also have lists for birthday shopping, Christmas shopping, cleaning, activities for children, Christmas programs at church, and don’t forget the chores and groceries. Lots of plans, lots of to-dos, and a lot to check off. Plans.
As we move forward into the season of light, I had a friend mention to me about how she never looks forward to Christmas. She feels that any and all joy will be sucked from her life as she tries to fill the wish-lists of five children, arrange her home just so, abide by the requests of her husband, and make priority for the Lord. She feels that she will be stretched, drained and burnt out. The joy will be gone.
I would like to encourage her that in all the planning and in all of the busyness of the season, the only thing that should really be on that list of plans, is time in worship of our Lord. Make a list that only says Jesus. Abide in Him and all else will follow. Show the children that worship comes first. Show them that the to-dos are all about Him. Find joy in the meaning of Advent. Be encouraged that the Lord is close even when you feel drained.
Proverbs 16:3 NIV says to Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. When we see that no matter what we expect of ourselves doesn’t prioritize what we were made for, we can start working on a new list of plans. The Lord has it all laid out for us. We need to be open to His leading and to truly listening to His voice. When we focus on the negatives and to just get things done, we aren’t bringing Him glory. We begrudgingly just want to get through the day and be done.
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21 NIV
I have struggled with a lack of joy and just getting though the mundane. Sometimes I look like I have it all together, but I am right there swimming the wrong way up the creek with the rest of you. When I turn my focus to the Lord, and have Him direct the plans of my life, my struggles are less, and my life is blessed.
I can find that my to-do list of laundry gives my hands the ability to bless the lives around me. My planning list for church ministry gives me a kingdom mindset. My grocery list gives me time to plan a way to nourish my family. Things start to feel less hopeless, and more joy-filled when I allow the Lord to plan for me.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
We don’t need to be happy to be fulfilled. Joy comes from serving our God and being Kingdom minded as we accomplish His will as well as our chores. Plans can be made without doing so in vain.