As a teacher, one of the tools I use is a lesson plan book to help order the day. After thirty-five years of teaching, I retire at the end of this school year. How will I spend my days now? No matter where I am in life, I have lessons to learn. And, to truly live well, I must depend on God to write the lessons in my plan book.
Absolutely. Positively. Definitely. 100% sure.
I used to think I knew without doubt how to be a wife. A mother. A woman of God. But the older I get the less I know.
Well, not really. But what I was absolutely, positively, definitely sure of in my twenties and thirties, even my forties and fifties, no longer seems quite so crystal clear in my sixties.
I struggle with that a little. Sometimes a lot. Crystal clear seems easier than murky and unsure. I feel comfortable when I can see where I want to go and the best way to get there.
Oops. I feel comfortable when I can see where I want to go and what I think is the best way to get there.
Those words-I want and I think is the best way-define a way of thinking that puts me in the driver’s seat. My plan. My way. Left to my own devices, I make a bee-line to my own goal like a kid doing a cannonball in a pool of people. I only see myself and my own agenda. Anyone-their plans, feelings, and needs-get lost when I close my eyes and jump without thinking.
God tries to teach me over and over again I need His plan and His way. And that means trusting Him even when that plan isn’t crystal clear to me.
I Am Absolutely, Positively, 100% Sure of God’s Plan
I can say with confidence God’s plan is
- for good (Romans 8:28)
- for my welfare and to give me a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11)
- wonderful (Isaiah 28:29)
The only thing I need to be sure of is who holds me in the shelter of His wings. Who knows me better than I know myself. Loves me unconditionally. All. The. Time.
I know exactly where I’m going and how I’ll get there. Through the love and grace of God. That is crystal clear.
Time for #fiveminutefriday with Kate Motaung
I carry a burden. One of my own making. A distance in a relationship I treasure. Instead of holding my tongue, I said rude, unnecessary words, causing hurt. I’ve done it more than once.
And while I asked for and received forgiveness, the wound remains. “I need a break,” I hear. Guilt and remorse flood my heart and mind, threatening my peace and joy. I keep returning to what I could have, should have, done.
What can I, should I do now? I worry about it, fretting, certain nothing will ever be the same. I drive myself crazy.
In my current Bible study, Broken and Redeemed, I find the answer in Psalm 55:22, Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you.
Cast My Burden
To cast my burden means to
- throw away
- get rid of
And isn’t that exactly what I want to do?
My burden is heavy. It tires me. Makes me bone-weary. Irritated. Worried. My entire countenance shows that I carry a burden. I want to throw it away, get rid of it forever. I want to separate it from me as far as the east is from the west.
But no matter what I do, the burden returns. Even when I try to put it out of my mind with a trip to the beach, losing myself in a book, or buying new shoes, it follows, robbing me of the peace and joy I seek.
Since I can’t rid myself of my burden, I long for someone to help me. Relieve the stress, fear, restless spirit my burden causes me.
Who can I share this burden with? Where can I go for help?
The Lord. He willingly takes my burden, but I must be willing to give it to Him. Cast it not just anywhere, but to Him.
But He does more than remove my burden.
He Sustains Me
Sustain means He
- gives strength to
- buoys up
The burden causes sorrow, regret, fear, confusion. God understands my feelings, and He comforts me. I can bring my burden to Him with tears and remorse, and God offers patience, love, and mercy. He reminds me of His faithfulness and goodness in past troubles and promises He continues to work for my good.
When I don’t know what to do next, God helps me. He gives the words to say to the one I hurt. If I don’t know how or when to apologize, He provides the humility, the words, even the right tone of voice. And once I’ve done my part, He gives me patience to wait.
I may wonder how I can possibly go back into a difficult situation, and He encourages me by reminding I am a daughter of the King, beloved, forgiven. Free. The strength I need to take the first step and the next one comes from God.
At times, I feel the waves may crash over me, keeping me under the water until I drown. Self-incrimination. Self-doubt. God buoys me up, keeping me safe. He carries me back to the shore and restores me, first to Himself, and then to others.
While I wait on God to work in my heart and the heart of the one I hurt, He buoys me up, heartens me with His promises. His love. His care.
Let Him sustain you. Cast your burden on the Lord. He will sustain you.
We walk through the gate, hand-in-hand. It’s our fortieth anniversary, we’re celebrating by returning to where I first realized I loved him. Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom. It promises a world of wonder. To be a place where everyone who’s young at heart thrives. Where dreams come true. It claims you enter with a spring in your step and a smile on your face. Just the thought of spending a day in the Magic Kingdom causes you to twirl and dance.
And we come here for a little of that. Time to enjoy each other. Reflect on forty years of laughter woven in with mundane and some sorrow. As always for me, Disneyland lives up to its hype. We enjoy a barbershop quartet while licking ice cream cones for lunch. Chat with the artist who deftly cuts our silhouettes adding to the ones we already have of our two daughters and three grandchildren.
We reminisce about the tomato I accidentally squirted in Van’s eye during our date forty years ago, Van continuing to insist I did it on purpose. All throughout the park, we hold hands. It is magical.
For a few hours.
When I walk back to the car, feet aching, there are new memories to cherish. But the magic of Disneyland doesn’t follow me into reality. Disneyland, with all its magic, is temporary. Its happily ever after is a fantasy I can’t bring home in a souvenir bag.
Once I step back into the reality of bills to pay, teaching seventh grade, meals to plan and cook, never-ending-laundry, I look back at the magic and wonder how to get more.
The answer is not the fantasy of Disney’s magic kingdom, but to live fully in the eternal Kingdom-a Kingdom not of this world. The Kingdom of God.
God is more interested in who I am than what I accomplish. He wants me to let go of my To-Do List and embrace His To-Be Plan. Today I am privileged to be guest posting for The Consilium. I hope you’ll join me there.