Set Yourself Up for Success
"This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do." Joshua 1:8 (HCSB)
I gripped the steering wheel while my heart beat a little faster than usual. Something didn’t feel normal.
I followed behind my husband, both of us pulling moving trailers, our sights set on Florida. We knew this road well, and we’d pulled trailers down it before. But this time, something was wrong.
I phoned Luke with my concern: "Every time we take a turn or hit a bump I feel like I lose control of the car."
We switched cars so he could feel it for himself. One bump later, we looked for a place to pull over.
"It’s loaded wrong," he groaned.
In our haste to leave, we threw our things in without a plan, leaving the light items in the front and the heaviest pieces in the back. That combination made the load unstable. The only thing we could do was unload and start over.
A local post office set the stage for what turned out to make quite a stir in the little community. A few ladies even crossed the street to check out what they thought was a garage sale. We assured everyone we would be on our way just as soon as we loaded everything again — this time in the right order.
I’ve discovered my life can feel the same way.
I have important assignments. Given by God. But in my haste, I set my sights on where I’m going and forget how important it is to "load" my days the right way.
The day’s duties and demands, time with God and my family … they all get thrown into my soul without considering what goes in first. Then as I go through my day, the road feels shaky. The load of life seems to control me. My heart beats faster and fear fills my journey.
Yet God reminded me of a time when that wasn’t my practice. No matter how much I had to do, I started each morning — before the sun rose — on my knees with my husband. We handed over our burdens to God, determined to surrender to His way and stand in His strength.
I made time in God’s Word a priority, not an afterthought. I took God seriously when He said, "Pray constantly" (1 Thessalonians 5:17, HCSB).
And that changed everything. No longer did the load demand my attention. No longer did the load lead me. No longer did I grip the day in fear of the next bump or turn. Instead, I settled into my God-given assignments with confidence.
God spoke our key verse to Joshua as he took command of the nation of Israel and stared down a big job … cross a river and conquer a land full of unfriendly people and fortified cities. No small task for the new guy.
But, after God issued His orders, He did not go straight into battle plans. In fact, God didn’t talk war strategy at all.
Instead, God told Joshua: Stick with me. It’s as if God knew our human tendencies to focus on the plan, instead of the Planner. To look to the goal instead of the Giver of the goal.
The key to Joshua’s victory would be his surrender to God. And the same is true for us today. Before we scroll through social media. Before we reach for our calendars. Before we pick up the concerns that tucked us into bed last night. Let us load God’s Word.
Dear God, I know I cannot handle this day without You. Set my heart on Your presence from the moment I rise to the last blink of my eyes. Help me ignore the demands of my day until I’ve loaded Your truth into the foundations of my soul. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 119:35, "Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it." (ESV)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What is the first thing on your mind when you wake up in the morning? What keeps you from devoting the first moments of your day to God?
List two or three ways you can deflect those thoughts to a later time and guard the first minutes of your day for whispers with God.
While you talk with God, keep a pen and paper nearby. Jot down "to-dos" that creep into your mind, then continue your conversation with Him.