We've all heard the stories. A pressure cooker, filled with a pot roast and vegetables, merrily whistles it's tune as the contents near a perfect degree of tenderness. Then, without warning, the pot malfunctions by blowing it's top, sending scalding steam, potatoes and carrots to new heights--ceiling heights. It's not a pretty sight. What went wrong? Everything seemed just fine before the kitchen turned into war zone only Mr. Clean would dare attempt to clean up.
Well, let me put your minds at ease. There was not an explosion in my kitchen. But I am feeling somewhat like that pressure cooker. A few days ago I had confidence the locking lid was A-OK. But now, I feel steam escaping through the safety valve and wonder if the seal will hold.
For someone who doesn't have a 9-5 job, I am amazed at how busy I am. I have over one hundred on-line high school students, another twenty-five on-line perfusion students and I coach everyday. Then, there's that book I am working on and the occasional home project. Research and plans for a raised bed garden are in the works as well.
Not bad, huh? No kids at home to argue with over homework or curfew. But recently, things seem to be piling up. Speaking engagements that I've prayed for are coming at me like driving snow into a windshield; four in the next two weeks alone. A publishing contract arrived in my inbox that requires a big decision. A phone interview with a literary agent is scheduled; long anticipated but intimidating. My father-in-law has just been diagnosed with cancer and is in the hospital. Everything has changed for this once energetic and independent man. The prognosis for this 86-year old man is not yet realized. Weekend trips for us are becoming the norm, especially now that he is scheduled to be released to his home four hours from us. But the trips make it impossible for me to fulfill my duties as a coach. I know family comes first but still. . . Then, one son is still seeking much needed employment and another may move home while he embarks on building his own "tiny" home. That prospect excites me but the logistical details of even storing his stuff clutters my thoughts. A nice consulting job has landed in my lap but it will require about twenty hours in preparation. And time is short.
I know all the pat answers. Trust God. Don't worry. So true. But how do I do that?
The familiar Matthew 6:25-31 passage comes to mind. "“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is
not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in
barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more
valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 'And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today
and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe
you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’"
Comforting? Yes. The necessary action and perspective to be able to do that? Verse 35 tells us. "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
OK. So let me get this straight. If I seek God and righteousness I will never have another concern. Hum. Not exactly. God doesn't promise us trouble-free living. Trouble is what builds character. However, God promises to take care of our needs.
But I read "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Uh-oh.
So let's be practical. I pray. I trust. I do what pleases God. And then I make a list.
Yep. A list. I find I deal better with many obligations when I have a list and a schedule. It helps me see in black and white what needs to be accomplished. It helps me prioritize responsibilities. It helps me plan my day. And when see all of this clearly, I am much less prone to allow the steam to blow the lid right off the pot.