Your Word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.
I like routine. In fact, I can get pretty grumpy when my routine is messed with. Don’t get me wrong. I have to be very loose with my interpretation of routine with three small children, but I do not like it when things change drastically or my life gets shaken up. The past few weeks have been a time where my routine has both helped and hindered me.
As I stated in a previous post, I have been facing some unexplained health problems. I had to fall back on routine in order to make it through many days. Kids were clean and fed. The house was reasonably clean. With rare exception, everyone was where they needed to be, relatively on schedule. However, there were times when I gauged my success for each day assuming my health was 100%. This caused irritation and frustration for myself and my family.
I think many of us suffer from simply going through the motions of our routine. We settle into the everyday because it is comfortable and we feel like we are in control. I am not saying there are no positive aspects to having a routine, but it should be more of a guide than a dictator of our actions. Relinquishing control of our routines allows us to serve others more effectively and causes less stress in our lives. We can then begin to gauge our success according to what we actually NEED to do each day. We can put tasks aside in order to spend time with those around us. Life does not have to seem like a never-ending to do list or, on the other end of the spectrum, never-ending sameness, loneliness, anger, sadness, etc.
Someone once told me the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. There is some truth to that. We get stuck in a rut of doing the same thing each day, yet we are angry, bitter or sad when new and better things do not come to us. As I shared with you earlier, I have had some unexplained health issues in the past few weeks that I ended up consulting a doctor about. I have been exhausted among many other things. After many tests and a fair amount of frustration on my part, my doctor and I think we have it figured out: sleep deprivation. Yep, those three blessings who fail to recognize the value of a good night’s sleep, or a nap for that matter. The problem, this is mostly out of my control. Kids get scared, hungry, need bathroom breaks, are cold, and so on. However, this diagnosis left me far from feeling hopeless. On the contrary, it left me feeling at peace. The reason: it means I have to rely on God to guide my days, and there is freedom in that.
Relinquishing control of our life does not mean we are exempt from making decisions, but instead you recognize you are incapable of doing it on your own and have to rely on God. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your Word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” When I recognized I needed to refocus my priorities once again, the exhaustion does not seem as overwhelming. I no longer feel guilt when there is a long list of cleaning tasks that need to be done and I take time to rest and play with my children instead. I begin to recognize that there are times when people have to come before tasks. Yes, I still have to clean my toilets, but it can certainly wait if there is something else that needs done, even if it is a nap.
Are you simply going through the motions? Are you living in that hopeless place where sameness is exulted above all else? Are you ready to release the facade of control that comes with your routine? God is waiting for you to step out and experience the full force of His love and guidance. His Word will guide us, but only if we truly immerse ourselves in it. We must live it. Does this seem overwhelming? Small steps are all it takes. Begin by spending extra time in prayer and silence listening to God’s whisper to your heart. Or perhaps by spending more time reading your Bible and searching for God’s nudging. Maybe you step back through the doors of a church after leaving so long ago. Whatever it is, take that step. Put yourself on God’s path. “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it'” (Isaiah 30:21).
My prayer for us this week is for us to take those timid steps with His lamp to guide our feet. I have included a song by Matthew West called The Motions. I hope you find encouragement that God can gloriously use us through those changes that threaten to overcome us. He will bring us beyond how we identify ourselves to be the masterpiece He intended us to be.