Learning the unforced rhythms of grace


Steady September Steps

Today was interesting.

It was our first day back from holidays and I was glad to be home, felt rested and relaxed.

My to-do list began reasonably with a few things: laundry, sorting through mail, getting some groceries. But then, something happened. I added 30 more items to the list . . . and I wanted to do them all today! Not only that, but I wanted to start big projects, sign up for new activities and fill the calendar up with plans. 

I wanted to prepare not only for this month, but the whole year! I felt energetic, optimistic and excited about the newness of September.

But, I stayed slow . . . on purpose. I recognized something in my soul that seemed familiar, especially around the beginning of September.

I put my to-do list down, made myself a cup of coffee and sat outside under the shade of a tree. I wrote in my journal for awhile, chatting in a prayer-like conversation with God about the last few weeks. I wrote down the moments when I sensed His presence and when I tried to control things on my own. I reflected on a few things I learned and observed about myself and others. I prayed, in writing, for the upcoming weeks ahead and surrendered my heart to respect what God is doing in my life and not get greedy for more. I wrote for about 20 minutes. It felt good, forced at first . . . and then good. 

As I wrote, I recognized that this ever-increasing energy of the day was really driven by a deeper desire to control as many variables as I could in order to feel secure. If I had things all organized and a calendar full of significant and fun things, then I thought I could enter September with peace and security. 

It doesn't work that way. Thankfully. Imagine, if peace and security came because we created it. That's a lot of pressure. 

Today, peace came as I sat with Jesus. Security came as I realized only Jesus' love for me brings security. No amount of accomplishments will help me sleep peacefully at night. No efforts of my own, will bring me enough stability and steadiness to handle the surprises that this year has ahead of me. 

September can be fun and exciting and full of fresh starts. But it also needs steady steps . . . ordinary days . . . routines that have space for rest and reflection, fun and playfulness. Sometimes the full calendar is connected to our fear of being alone . . . fear of feeling like we haven't accomplished enough or what we are doing is not significant. 

This September, let's be people who take steady steps. Let's choose carefully, where our time will go, have the courage to say no to things and allow the intensity of this month to be calmed by intentional decisions that leave room for Jesus to be in the center. 

Psalm 27:4-5 (The Message)

"I’m asking God for one thing, only one thing:
To live with him in his house my whole life long.
I’ll contemplate his beauty; I’ll study at his feet.

That’s the only quiet, secure place in a noisy world,
The perfect getaway
, far from the buzz of traffic."

If you want to read more of my blogs (and podcasts) on the topics of anxiety, type the word anxiety in the box below and it will give you some titles to choose from.