I had a wonderful reminder of that recently. I was out on my regular running/walking path. It is a wonderful rural stretch hidden in the midst of growing surburbia. There are horses, cows, and chickens along the way. It borders a Nature Conservancy meant to protect nesting migratory birds, so there are many open fields, with the beautiful mountains off in the distance. and often all manner of birds to see. There are many regulars I see on my path, all ages, sizes and dedication of runners and walkers. Most of us are not the runners who are in training. There are just too many things to see, too many beautiful things to get distracted by, such as horses and colts to pet or migratory birds nesting or flying over the nature preserve. So most of us who run along this path, aren't trying to increase our pace, we are just out for fresh air, enjoying nature, and getting some exercise, Recently though, I saw someone I hadn't seen before on my routine path. I saw a lady far off in the distance, pushing a double stroller, running at what seemed quite a fast pace, (actually since I am so slow, anything seems fast!) As she got closer, I could tell she was a dedicated runner, she had all the appropriate gear, with the exception of that double stroller. In that double stroller were two boys who eyes were wide eyed with wonder at all the interesting things this little path holds. We acknowledged each other as we passed, and I heard her boys saying, "Wow mom, look at that, or ohhh, that is cool and Mom, I think I saw a snake! " I grinned to myself, wondering how long she would be able to ignore the wide eyed enthusiastic chatter. Sure enough, on the return loop, I again saw her in the distance, this time she was walking, and the boys were out of the stroller. As we got closer to each other, I noticed the boys had put rocks, sticks, and leaves in the stroller. Those boys were beaming, so proud of the bounty they had collected. Mom looked at bit defeated. She said to me," Who needs exercise anyway?" I walked over to her, and said, "This may not have been what you had planned when you walked out the door to run this morning, but this is way more important. You are a *great mom, you are doing such a good job. Those boys may not remember a run in a stroller, but they will remember you stopping and allowing them to explore and take home their treasures." (Among which, upon closer inspection, was a snake skin!) She got a bit misty eyed and thanked me for the words of encouragement. And we agreed, that sometimes our agenda for the day, is anything but "Our" agenda.
That happens to all of us doesn't it? Our day gets **hijacked, and we get off track, doing nothing we had hoped to accomplish in that day. So much for exercise, so much for cleaning, or laundry, or whatever it was we had wanted to get done that day. And then we get a little grumpy or mopey or just plain down because the day came and the day went and we didn't do what we wanted to or thought we needed to do that day. Let me say that again, 'We didn't do what WE wanted to or thought WE needed to do that day.' And now let me ask a question, "Whose day is it anyway?"
This is the day, the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalms 118: 24
Yes, it is His day. He made it, therefore it belongs to Him. And He may direct our day in a direction other than what we had planned.
The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs His steps. Proverbs 16:9
Are we open each day to His direction for that day? Or do we hold on so tightly to our agenda, our list of things to accomplish, that we don't heed His direction? And if so, what opportunities might we have missed? For His glory? For His kingdom? For serving and loving others?
That young mom, the one running with the double stroller, she had an agenda for that day. And I don't think it included slowing down to a dead stop, walking the rest of the way home, and bringing home a bounty from nature's treasure chest that her boys collected. No, her day was altered into something much better. Something those boys will remember and with excitement tell others.
I hope we will 'live with abandon' in surrendering our agenda to His. I hope our eyes, ears and heart are open and listening to God's call to occasionally abandon our agenda, and go where He is taking us, to the opportunities that He places in front of us.
It's ok to make those ' to do' lists. In my life, with my 'Dory' sized attention span, it is a necessity! But it is not ok, to be so rigid with our plans, that we don't listen to and heed the direction He wants us to go.
Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." Yet, you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow...Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that." James 3: 13-15
So maybe our 'to do' lists should look like this, as a daily reminder to us that on any given day, it really is His agenda.
* For all you young mothers out there whose every day gets hijacked by your little ones, you know I have a tender spot in my heart for you. So, please listen to my words. YOU ARE DOING SUCH A GOOD JOB! I AM SO PROUD OF YOU. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. Your agenda is simply to raise Godly children, not to have the cleanest or fanciest house, or make the cutest things ever, or meals that would rival any top chef. You are not in competition with anybody. Quit beating yourself up for what you 'think' you aren't accomplishing, and look into the eyes of those children. All they want is your love, your time and your sweet nurturing. And you have that in spades!
**For an excellent blog piece on our thoughts getting hijacked, see lindsayslens, and her words on thoughts being hijacked.