03 September 2016

Preparing a Table

"You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever." Psalm 23:5-6

A new school year is always a time of reflection for me.  And this year, the time for reflecting has been unfolding slowly.  I have felt rushed and stretched more than ever, which has been surprising because its the first time that all four boys are in school all day.  I've been hustling and reaching my goals for each day, but its felt pretty hallow and instead of feeling accomplished I have been left feeling frantic.  My soul was not made to make lists and crush goals.  I crave quiet and creativity.  If I forget to leave space for those things, it doesn't matter how many things I mark off of my to-do-list, I will still feel incredibly empty at the end of the day.  I know this about myself, yet I forget.   Or I think "its a new season, maybe it'll be different."  But no matter the season, my wiring remains true.  

So this week, I didn't go to any group fitness classes.  I went for long walks with a few soul-feeding podcasts, and I made time to sit and read.  I let myself doodle without an end-product in mind.  

Not surprisingly, I felt less frantic, less stretched.  God meets me in those quiet, creative places and I miss Him when I don't remember to slow down.  I had this vision of sorts, of Him setting a table before me.  With the boys all in school, its as if the table has been completely cleared.  And everyone has asked me "what will you do now that they are all in school?"  So I kept trying to figure out what to pile up on this table.  I felt an urgency to have a satisfactory answer for how I fill my time.   

And, finally, this week God said, "Let me set the table.  Trust me to put what is best before you.  Just stay at your seat, don't grasp, don't hustle.  Just wait for me."  

If I am honest, the things He is setting before me aren't necessarily the things I expected.  It reminds me of when the boys come in before dinner to set the table and they ask, "plates or bowls?"  My answer will give them a hint about what we are going to eat but they don't know fully yet.  

I don't know fully yet either.  So I am trying to just sit before the table and allow Him to set it before me.  I need to trust Him to prepare this table before me -- in the presence of my enemies.  And I realized sometimes, "my enemies" are inside my own head. This week I have felt a clear call to find my voice again, to write down my words; and that sends me to a familiar place of self-doubt.  A place where questions begin with "why would you think your words matter?"  "what do you have to say that hasn't been said?" 

I also began a part-time job at our church in the spring.  This is certainly not something I sought out for myself.  I have all kinds of doubts about whether I am able to do this job well and take care of the needs of my family everyday.  My inner dialogue continually berates me for not being more organized and more driven.  Yet, when I look back on how this job came to me its obvious that God chose it for me.  So I need to trust that He has a plan for me in this position for this time.  I need to trust that He has prepared this table before me and I can tell those inner enemy-voices to shush it. 

I certainly do not have it all figured out after a week with less hustle.  I do have a renewed hope that God is able to accomplish what He desires in my life and that He is able to do it in ways that I can't predict. I feel less pressure to get it all done and more peace to trust that He can make a way.  I have less guilt about building quiet and creative time into my day.

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