When Happily-Ever-After Slips Away
"The LORD will vindicate me; your love, LORD, endures forever — do not abandon the works of your hands." Psalm 138:8 (NIV)
If you are anything like me, you can become quite skilled at putting off your happily-ever-after. Maybe you’ve said things like …
"Once I get this work done" …
"When things slow down at work" …
"When this crazy month is over" …
"In just a minute" …
But once the work is complete, the minute has passed and the busy month has concluded, something else always comes up. Your "one more thing" has no end.
That’s when things start to happen: You drive into the intersection before it’s your turn because you’re tired and distracted … you scream at the ones you love the most because you’re stretched too thin … you wake up feeling irritable and unhappy despite the abundant blessings in your life.
Then you speak to a friend whose husband is fighting for his life and realize your happily-ever-after is slipping right through your busy, little fingers.
That’s how it played out for me. It was the slow deterioration of my highly distracted life that led me to pray for the Life Do-Over I once thought was impossible.
Let me show you what my do-over looked like:
At the height of my bulging social calendar,
at the height of my ability to "do it all,"
at the height of my perfectly orchestrated life, God gave me the strength to let go.
I surrendered my plan, as well as societal expectations, in order for God to show me His plan. Each morning I designated 10 minutes to be still and listen. Once I began to hear God’s gentle voice, instead of the damaging demands of distraction, perfection and pressure, I was able to grasp what mattered most in life.
I told my inner drill sergeant perfection was not required on this journey. God nudged me when to let my children help prepare the meal … when to stay a few more minutes at the dinner table … when to stop hurrying and let my child set the pace. God showed me that accomplishing tasks perfectly and efficiently is less important than being present and connected to the people I love.
I told my harsh inner critic to stop sabotaging my joy. I stopped letting the bulge around my waist or the wrinkles around my eyes prevent me from jumping in the pool … dancing with my children … or voicing my life-long dreams. God showed me that in order to reach my full potential, I must stop letting the mirror or the number on the scale determine my worth.
I informed my internal over-achiever that I would no longer be everything to everyone. I realized that continually saying yes to everything outside the home meant saying no to the most important things inside the home. God showed me that in order to be joyfully fulfilled, I must choose to place my time and energy in what (and who) mattered most.
It has been five years since I began my Hands Free journey. When I lay my head down at night, there is no longer a list of unfinished to-do’s running through my head. I am no longer consumed with guilt over missed opportunities to live, love and laugh. Instead, I am filled with gratitude for the grace of God, a daily do-over gift available to all of us.
Dear God, Thank You for reminding me it’s not too late to live the life You have planned for me. Please help me discern what is important from the many distractions and time wasters in my life. Please nudge me when my loved ones are near, wanting me to listen to them, talk to them and love them. Lord, please help me see what really matters. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Rachel once wrote: "There is peace knowing I spent today living my happily-ever-after instead of tacking it to the bottom of the to-do list where it will never be touched."
Think about your daily to-do list. Is there time for living, laughing and loving each day? How might you surrender both self-induced pressures and societal pressures to allow God to lead you on a more fulfilling path?