It’s a super busy time for me, as with most people, around Christmas. I just had five days of non-stop, fills-the-whole-day kind of events coming on the heels of a major event that takes me weeks to prepare. My 80+ year old mom had been getting kind of frantic that I’d been unable to help her much during that time to be ready for Christmas. I hated putting her off, but knew that shortly I’d have a moment to help her shop and get everything under control. Monday I set out early with my lists in hand so I could combine hers and mine. When I got to her home, I grabbed a cup of coffee, (always a pot on there) and she took me downstairs to see what she had. Her gifts were neatly organized by person, family and age. There was really nothing more to get.
Just two months ago she was diagnosed with diabetes. She had been sounding more frantic than her worrisome self is normally, and things just weren’t adding up. At first I thought anxiety was getting the best of her, but one day there, I decided to take her to the ER and get a couple things checked that were not right. Her right arm wasn’t coordinating and she was trying to stay on task, but just couldn’t. My mom is a pretty tough little lady who has been through quite a bit. Married to a man who left when I was three and my sister was six months old, he went on to be married six times. He left her in another state he had just moved her to, with no money and no transportation in a house he said he bought with their money, but had only rented. She survived a non-cancerous grapefruit-sized tumor in her head that took her hearing on one side and some of her facial muscles. Two years later a bout of meningitis almost killed her, but she bounced back from that as well. So she’s not without some strength and wear. She seized control of her life and made things happen with grit and hard work.
The trip to the ER showed out of control diabetes and she became insulin dependent on the spot. Slowly as her sugar became controlled, she has become once again, the organized woman we know. So to see her little piles of gifts all lined up and her dinner menu in order was a great sign. But with the diabetes incident fresh, she still felt frantic and unorganized. She couldn’t see that she herself can be confident in her abilities.
I noticed something similar in myself leading up to the big event I was preparing for. A couple weeks of feeling out of control and wondering if I could do it all would occasionally catch me off guard. I began making lists everywhere anytime a detail popped into my head. I’d sit down here and there and think “you’ve got it covered”. But as I got busy again, the chaos would wrankle away my confidence and I would worry a bit.
I can see how hard the devil works to make that happen. Being busy and physically tired in the process of accomplishing something is a great time for him to insert a feeling of chaos. In fact, I’m betting some may even quit in the middle of a God calling because the chaos and exhaustion of it all causes us to feel worn and out-of-control. I know I have wanted to quit many times when I was on a big project. These last few weeks have reminded me, there was no confusion or chaos, I only “felt” like there was. I was on a solid path. It’s a one-foot-in-front-of-the-other kind of path that is daunting when we look around us and become distracted by the many different situations happening at once. That is what the devil wants.
I’d like to offer a method to keep that feeling of confusion, the kind that makes you want to retreat and quit, at bay. First, keep your eyes on God only and the task at hand. In Luke 9, Jesus gives the disciples orders on moving forward and telling the world about him. He tasked them to not worry about those around them, to go and get ‘er done. After much teaching, one of the disciples says he needs to run back to say goodbye to his family. And while this is also a reminder that we sometimes sacrifice and need to follow Gods calling immediately, it’s also a reminder to me, that looking back, looking away from the job we are on, clouds our issues and changes our focus. Focus on the task at hand and the creator of your calling. Do not be clouded by what is around you.
Second, when you are feeling overwhelmed and confused and out of control, remember that is not from God. That is the devils attempt to thwart you from your mission. In 2 Timothy 1:7 the Bible clearly states “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” The way I learned it in the King James Version: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” That alone should embolden us for the ride. When confusion mounts, it’s time to sit back down and order your task, and your goal. Chaos is of the devil. It doesn’t necessarily mean we abandon the task, we abandon the chaos and use the good mind God have us to get our plans in order.
I have so much yet to do before Christmas. It can be overwhelming. But each day I make a new list, and am crossing it off as I go in order to stay on task. The sound mind God gave us will help to keep us on track if we keep our eyes ahead on the both the creator and the plans he has for us.