Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Time to Do the Will of God

I wake up thinking about all the things I ought to do today. I need to take care of my hair with the proper products - keeping it soft and healthy (some day when I actually care about it); I must care for my skin so that it is not damaged by the sun, the dead cells are sloughed off and signs of wrinkling and aging are hidden, not to mention moisturizing (you can bet that will happen once a month). It is important to care for my muscles with exercise and my bones and other organs by eating right and taking vitamins (I'll get around to that eventually). I should visit the doctor regularly also to take care of this body of mine (once every few years or so). I ought to brush my teeth and floss to watch over these pearly whites and I should file and trim my fingernails too (which I rarely do - the nails, I mean, not the teeth!).

I'm exhausted already and I haven't even gotten to caring for my mind. I should be keeping up with current events - aware of what is going on in Darfour, Belgium, Tokyo, Baghdad, and Iran. I ought to keep learning new things to keep my mind nimble and I should actually know what the Dow is doing and what it means to me. I need to read the top ten bestsellers list and be aware of all the works of historical Chrisitaniy. I really should know who my state representatives are and what they stand for - I should be writing them with important political concerns. I probably ought to support lobbyists that I agree with. And I really would, if I could figure out how to fit that into my exfoliating, eating right and flossing!

And, more importantly, if I were actually a good Christian, I would be having devotions daily with my children around the table filled with homemade foods, in a tranquil and loving atmosphere. I do dream about that. The floor would be spic and span, the dishes would be all put away, the paper piles would be non-existent and the children would always obey without reprimand. The living room would be recently vacuumed, dusted and all toys would be in their respective places. Children's faces would be sparkling clean and their tones would be cheerful and respectful.

My kids should be involved in the church play, Girl Scouts, basketball, Bible club, Sunday School, piano lessons, choir, baseball, karate, and 4-H. I ought to be on the PTA, a Sunday School teacher, leading a Bible Study, involved in an aerobics class, attending a book club, involved in a prayer group, singing in the choir, and walking for various causes.

Overflowing with guilt and weary from just thinking about all the things I apparently "SHOULD" be doing and "OUGHT" to be concerned about each and every day, I just fall over into the easy chair and give up. I can't actually do all the things this world (even the Christian world) thinks I ought to do. So, where do I begin and how do I live a worthy life without being filled with guilt that I can't keep up the pace? (I'll let you know when I finally get the answer to that one!)

"One reason we are so harried and hurried is that we make yesterday and tomorrow our business, when all that legitimately concerns us is today. If we really have too much to do, there are some items on the agenda which God did not put there. Let us submit the list to Him and ask Him to indicate which items we must delete. There is always time to do the will of God. If we are too busy to do that, we are too busy."

~ Elisabeth Elliott ~

Maybe the first thing I OUGHT to be thinking about each day is what God wants me to do. Not what everyone else is doing, not what I think I should do, not what the TV tells me I ought to do, not even what well-meaning Christians believe I need to be doing, but what My Father in Heaven tells me to do. That's where I need to start.

Colossians 1:9-12 "For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light."

Apparently, the apostle Paul believed that the most important thing was that we know God's will SO THAT we could live fruitful, worthy lives, always growing in our knowledge of God. It seems to me that I might have more time to focus on Him if I cut out a few of these oh-so-important things on my to-do list today. Like almost all of them. I'm going to worry more about spending time getting to know God today and let Him tell what I OUGHT to be doing and let the rest slide.

If taking care of my skin and being on the PTA are important to God, I'm sure He'll let me know!

Visit Sarah for more "In Other Words."


Susan said...

Good Morning Sarah,

Great post, great thoughts. Yes, it can be so over-whelming, especially at this time of the year.

I always enjoy your thoughts.

Be blessed my friend,


MiPa said...

Wow! This made me think! Bless you.

ellen b said...

Thank you. I really love that Colossians passage, it truly puts things in perspective. God bless you this season with His best and all the rest that overflows from His best into your life...

lori said...

I have a list of SHOULD and OUGHTS too...apparently after the dentist visit, flossing more than just before going is one of them...
but what HE wants me to do..that is the key...A few years ago, I came to that conclusion..not for anyone else but Him....whew...lots to let go of, worth it..YES...but wow!
I LOVE reading what you have to say, you know that..and again..I tell you, wonderfully said!:)

Diana said...

Great post...amazing how we think of all the other things we need to do before we think about what God wants us to do! So many decisions in a day that we really need God's input!!

Amy Grant Bayliss said...

I hear those well meaning "you ought to"'s alot. Everyone always thinks my kids will suffer socially if I don't put them in fifty different activities. My kids do just fine with only one extra-curricular activity a year. We have good quality family time. That is the socialization that I believe God intended.

Great post! Thank you!

LisaWA said...

That was wonderful and I can relate! Oh.. the things I should be doing.... the things I should to I do not and the things I should not do... I do... ugh... Paul had something there hu? :)

Thank you so much for sharing your heart and visiting my blog!


Sarah said...

Thank you so much for contributing today! I am always blessed by everyone's wisdom each and every week!


Jennifer said...

This quote was so timely for me. I too have been trying to focus on what *He* wants me to do, rather than what I think I *should* do or what others expect of me (other than hubby, of course. :)) He *will* make our path straight if we will fix our eyes on Him.

SharonB said...

Heather thank you for this reminder! Awhile back I realized that there is enough time in the day to do that which God wants me to do. Recently I've been forgetting to ask God what He has for my day and I've begun to listen to everyone else's "to do" list. :-)

Tiffany Stuart said...

Freedom in Christ means we are free to breathe, relax and enjoy his presence. And we can let the rest become second.

My list of should's and ought's is enough to drive me crazy some days. I want God's will.

It's always good to hear from you. Keep on writing and seeking His face!

Thanks for your post.

Much love,

Elisa @ Extravagant Grace said...

Wow, Heather! What a post. I'm weary just thinking about the pressures we women collectively put on ourselves to be accepted and considered worthy. It is a struggle, isn't it! Yes, we need to return to the cross and live like Paul. Without doing so, we'll collapse and be useless for the Lord.

By the way, have you read Disciplines of a Beautiful Women, by Anne Ortlund? She gives quite a perspective on this whole experiences. Your post reminded, at the end, reminded me of her book.

Denise said...

Beautiful my friend.