Tight grip on the steering wheel. Watchful eye while maneuvering in and out and around. Elevated blood pressure. Furled brow. Coffee in the cup holder sloshing around due to the severely bumpy road.
Do you ever notice who is driving in the fast lane?
It’s the slow people!
“Why are you driving in the fast lane going slower than the people in the slow lane?” I shout at the car in front of me. Does this guy really think he’s helping traffic? I whiz around him and press the accelerator. Rushing off. Knowing I’m late! Imagining the 50 sweet faces awaiting my arrival to sing joyful songs of Christmas celebration. What a way to start a Monday morning! I'm ashamed to say... that's how it began.
As I’m frantically driving to work, I exit the interstate. Just 25 more minutes and I’ll be there! I might make it before the bell rings. I am a music teacher! I have a gazillion things to do this morning and all day long! Time is very limited. Those six-year-old faces flash before my minds eye. What are they seeing? I ask myself. I recall the emotions that I feel when someone else enters a room who is frazzled and in a mad dash. It’s not pleasant! I am convicted. The soft voice of the Holy Spirit speaks gently in my ear…Breathe! … Slow down… Relax!... I’ve got this! You are my image bearer. OUCH!
I make it to school before the bell rings.
Traveling through the halls later that day, I found myself walking faster than anyone else! Maneuvering in and out and around, my pace is accelerated. Do you ever notice how the slowest people walk in the middle of the hall, taking up all of the space?! ugh!
Furled brow, swinging arms, intense focus. I am in production mode! Places to go, things to do, crunched for time. I am literally on a very tight schedule and fear that I will never get it all done. Every 30 minutes is a replay but with added dynamics and personalities! I am constantly adjusting and solving problems. Memories of the early-morning haunt me. Yet that gentle whisper reminds me once again… Breathe…slow down…relax… I’ve got this! You are my image bearer.
Tuesday brings it’s own set of issues. But they are much like the day before. Rushing! Solving problems! Putting out fires. Scheduling more for tomorrow’s already heaped up platter! Once again a different set of 50 young faces observe my countenance. I remind myself to breathe, slow down, and relax. He’s got this! I am his image bearer. I hide behind a smile and try to set aside today’s frustrations as I am bombarded with more questions and issues to solve. "Does everyday have to be this complicated?" I wonder. My mind and body is full and weary as I remember that I have an appointment and am now late and it’s after work rush hour! I make the “ I’m running a little late” phone call and then relieved that my appointment is rescheduled. But that means more for tomorrows plate.
Once home, I received a phone call from a dear friend. I can almost see her questioning face as she tries to make sense of my side of the conversation. As I ramble on, the inflection of my voice indicates I’m wiped out, pressed for time and my brain is not functioning properly! I am now frustrated that I have not been the best image bearer and my self-worth begins to spiral downward. (Satan always attacks us at our weakest moments...well, he does me!)
Wednesday now begins with another mad dash! Deadlines for correspondence are in full pursuit. Did I mention my house was a wreck and very disorganized?! I called to check on an event that I realize should happen tomorrow and should be apart of, only to discover that it was last week. Does any of this sounds like your story? I know it does, because I missed an accidental phone call (butt dial) from another friend. When I returned the call, she was just as frazzLed and crunched for time as I have been and we shared our frustrations. We both agreed it was time for Jesus to come back, and we would catch up with one another after our craziness ends! Her words to me…God will redeem the time!
I found this very interesting as I had just received a text from my first friend, checking to see how I was today. Her words were… Breathe, rest your body and mind soon. God will redeem the time!
I smiled and thought, “How like God, to remind me once again, what He has been saying the past two days!” Plus He added twice today that He would redeem the time. My thoughts shifted toward Him, my great Redeemer! In the past when I have thought of him as the Redeemer, I equated that with my salvation. And though that is true, he is also in the business of redeeming many other things. Not only does he redeem, He gives much more than we could expect or dream. Good measure, pressed down, and overflowing! Oh how loving and tender are His mercies toward me… and you!
I apologize that I had to drag you through the mud telling you all about my first three days of the week! It exhausts me again as I am re-reading and re-living those moments! I am but a sinful soul, confessing my heart before you. God continues to teach me more about His character (and about myself) as I muddle my way through every page of my life!
My mind flashes back to the Bible story that I learned as a small child, the two fish and five loaves for the feeding of the 5,000. The lesson I have learned through that story, back then, was that God provides. Today, as I look at the backstory, I’m sure that Andrew and the other disciples were feeling the pressures of the day and saw the compassion on Jesus’ face, knowing the that multitudes were in need of spiritual and physical nourishment. They tried to take on the responsibility of thousands. It was the end of the day, people were probably tired and hungry, as the disciples tried to figure out how to feed them all… and how to hurry and do it! I am sure that all of the how, why, what, when, where, questions raced through their mind as they were up against time, for it was growing late. They took their problems to Jesus and he provided. Good measure, pressed down, and overflowing! More than what was required. You know the story. Baskets of leftovers! There’s another account in the Scriptures, when Jesus fed the 4,000. The story is nearly the same. More than enough was provided.
There are two new things that I have noticed, as per this crazy week, as I have recalled these true and real life stories. Jesus had compassion and commanded them to sit down!
I still have much work to do and a full weekend. But as I sit on my front porch this Friday morning writing this blog, I am relaxed, slowed down, remembering to breathe, and sitting down! I am blessed with his thoughts and actions toward me. I recall a song that I, well, when I first heard it, didn't really like. I thought it was shallow. But from time to time, its simple melody plays contemplatively through my head and spills deep into my heart, filling a restless void.
It's title, Breathe by Michael W. Smith.
The Father has redeemed my time, my mind is at rest, and my spirit is renewed! May I encourage you to do the same?
I confess, it’s been a really tough week and I have not reflected your image appropriately. You have tried to remind me to breathe, relax, and slow down, but I've been too busy to listen. My days seems full of important activity. Responsibilities weigh heavy on my shoulders. Fiery darts come from every angle and have I tried to put out their flames. I get burned because many days I forget to put on your armor. Though I appear strong, I am very weak! My heart is burdened because this seems to be a repeated plea. Please forgive me for my lack of priorities and not keeping you first - even before I climb out of bed. Thank you that your mercies are new every morning. Thank you Father for your compassionate heart toward me. I am blessed by the words you speak and the fashion by which you deliver them. Help me always to bring glory to your name and bear your image with boldness, grace, and love. You are truly the air I breathe...good measure, pressed down, and overflowing...and I humbly give thanks.
In Jesus' Name, Amen
Always reminding myself to breathe!
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