Tuesday, April 08, 2003

And then...Joy

Yesterday was packed. I had a list of about 10 errands to run, one chapter to write, and one chapter to edit. Plus it was Cameron's first day of baseball practice for the season and we had to get Christopher ready for a four-day high school trip to Dayton, Ohio (meaning he needed to find all the clothes he wanted to take so I could make sure they were washed and ready). My approach to days like this, when work and life entwine so much, it usually very methodical and logical. I make a list, I set priorities, I make a plan, and I carry it out, step by step. But yesterday, because the errands were scattered all over town, I was trying to figure out the best route, the best way to approach all these things and get them done before baseball practice. Instead of my logic kicking in, I just felt frustrated. I couldn't make sense of it. For some reason, a clear route wasn't emerging. At one point, I thought, "This is silly. Why can't I figure this out? I do this all the time..." and I prayed about it and tried to leave it with God to solve.

By 2:00, the answer hadn't occurred to me. I looked at my list of things to do and tried to put them in a smart order. My frustration grew. The only thing I knew to do was the first step. I knew I needed to get something notarized for my daughter so I could Fedex it to her by the end of the day. That was my priority. That's all I knew. So I started there.

The people at the bank were very friendly--I didn't have to wait, everyone was pleasant. I felt my spirits pick up. Walking out to the car, I knew what I needed to do next. So I did it. After that was completed, I knew which task to work on next. So I did that. By the time I picked up the boys from school, most of the errands were done and a surprise by-product had appeared in my day: Joy. The boys and I laughed and talked. We stopped and had a fun dinner together. I got the rest of the errands done and Cameron delivered to baseball practice (a half-hour early, in fact; I had the time wrong) and the feeling of joy stayed with me through the night and I still feel it today.

Amazing how something I struggled with, something I tried to turn loose to God, came back step-by-step to bless me in such a wonderful way. I could see no answer but the next step, but I know now, sitting here, that when I stepped forward into what I knew to do, the next step presented itself. This is a good lesson for me, because I'm a map-maker, a planner...I like to have the experience sketched out before I jump in. But God has another way. And it mixes my own skills with his guidance; my listening with his speaking; my trusting with his leading; and my action with his direction. Thanks for the object lesson, God! And for a productive--and joyful--day. :) k

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