Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Center Your Day Around Jesus

Yesterday I needed to make a list of things I was thankful for. It was a less than smooth morning and I needed a reminder.  I decided to do it in pictures because that was more fun and so I put this little collage together. 

But then I remembered an important principle I had been studying that helped me even more. I am supposed to center my day around Jesus. Not around what I wish my reality was or what I want my day to look like. Not around naptime or my husband coming home or drinking Dr. Pepper or anything else I might look forward to. Not around checking everything off my list or my perfect vision of home. 

I was frustrated because we got a late start. (I told my husband that I got up 9,000 times the night before with our children although that might have been a slight exaggeration.) As much as I hate mornings I hate getting a late start because then I feel behind from the get-go. I was frustrated because my children weren't living up to my expectations. (And I'm here because they need training and loving, not because they have already learned everything.) I was frustrated with myself. Then I remembered. 
...and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;       Hebrews 12:1b-2a
It's about Jesus. It's not about me or what I want. It's not about my expectations for the day; the race is already set before me. Jesus has mapped out my day. I need to look to Him for strength and grace for my race. It can be a race today because all today needs is today's energy. I don't have to worry about tomorrow. I don't have to worry about getting up and doing this same stuff over time after time.  I just need to be faithful today. 

Our preacher has taught us that patience is "cheerful and hopeful enduring." God's working in me. God's working in my kids. I am not to run impatiently or in frustration. I don't have to finish today. I won't finish until I go home with Jesus. 

I read somewhere that I shouldn't complain about the service God has called me to until I have done as much as Jesus did on the cross. That really stuck with me. I'm not to compare myself to what my husband or my neighbor or anybody else is doing, just what Jesus did.  That means I should never complain. I will never give as much of myself or give up as many of my own desires as Jesus did when He died for me.  

So how can I center my day around Jesus? Here are a few things that help me. 

1. Start your day with Jesus. Read your Bible and pray. Ask God for His help. 

2. Know what's most important. We've recently narrowed our parenting goals down to two concepts. (Another post for that story.) Can you pinpoint exactly what you are supposed to be doing right now? Knowing that takes some of the pressure off. All the little things just aren't that important. 

3. Release control. This is a mental effort. Actually all of these are. So many of the battles in our lives are mental. That's why we are to bring "into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." (2 Cor. 10:5) This is Jesus' day. His plans matter, not yours. Give it to Him.

4. Give yourself grace. A lot of times the things that stress me out are expectations I've imposed on myself. I must read x number of books with Micah to be a good mom. I must complete x amount of work around the house to be a good homemaker. I can't give you a verse for those things and while they are good occasionally I need to throw them all out the window.  God's plans for my day may not involve any of my checklist! 

5. Repeat. I have to constantly remind myself to stay focused on Jesus. That it's about Jesus.  

Jesus can help me to walk through each part of my day with His grace.  Through the expected, the unexpected, the unpleasant, and the exciting. I don't have to wait for some thing to happen for me to have a good day and then be disturbed or upset if it doesn't happen.  Jesus is enough. 
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalm 16:11 (emphasis mine)

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