Each January, I choose a word that I want to focus on for the year. And inevitably, the Lord chooses another word that he knows I need more.
Last year’s word was “charitable” and it’s still remaking me. I considered choosing it again, but when I jotted down this word, I knew immediately it was the one.
I knew it was my word for 2017 because I immediately chafed when I wrote it down. I mentally justified my current attitude and actions. I assured myself I was plenty available. As available as a busy person can be.
Yet my defensiveness revealed my deep struggle. I like things to go the way I plan them. I don’t like interruptions, no matter what the source. I like accomplishing the things I set out to do.
This desire was highlighted in a show I was recently watching. One of the characters talked about keeping a two-column journal when she was a child. Each morning, she was to write on one side how she expected the day to be. On the other side, in the evening, she was to write how the day actually was.
As soon as I heard about this exercise I realized my struggle: a perfect day for me would have both columns look identical.
Even as I write this, I’m ashamed to admit it. Aside from having no sense of adventure, I know that wanting both columns to match is nothing to boast about. It assumes that I know best what is for my life. And that my plans are really the best for me. And more importantly, that my plans are the best for God’s kingdom.
Annie Keary, a 19th century writer, viewed the interruptions and impediments to her work as sent by God to keep her from being selfish. She found that the most important work she could do for God was often some minor random thing that was thrown into her day. That “trifling haphazard thing,” as she called it, was often the best thing she could offer God.
Annie Keary knew what it meant to be available.
I do not.
I rarely see the interruptions to my work as anything more than frustrations and annoyances. While I know that God sovereignly governs my day, in the moment all I can see are the things I’m not getting done.
A friend of my husband once said, “the most important ability in the Christian life is availability.” Availability means setting aside my agenda, what’s convenient for me, what I want to do, to embrace God’s plans and direction. Even when I do not understand God’s plans or know where they are taking me. View full post »