Making Room For The Unexpected
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3-4
It’s the American way. We live with schedules – school, work, exercise and even in our entertainment. We build our lives around a huge array of timetables of our own choosing as well as trying to balance the demands that others place on us. There just isn’t enough time to fit everything we want, or need, to fit into our daily 24 hour allotment in life.
Unexpected circumstances press our schedules even further and increase our stress levels. Weather warnings and Amber alerts catch us off guard and get our hearts racing. Oh, and what about that jarring "THIS IS A TEST" message that interrupts the one show we just sat down to watch. Or, the moment we turn a corner only to see newly placed construction signs warning of delays. “I don’t have time for a delay today. I’m already running a bit late.” Been there, done that?
Unexpected surprises in life can ruin a well-planned schedule in a matter of minutes. Building in time for interruptions is a great way to help remedy some of the panic experienced when everything seems to be falling apart or is getting heaped up higher and higher on the ‘to do’ pile of life. I’ve even heard it suggested, that for those who like to check things off their list for the day, to add a few slots of time for things that are out of your control. It’s a win-win! In planning for the unplanned, you will now have the extra time available to give someone your undivided attention, to sit in a traffic line stress-free, to just pause for a few moments before your next appointment - and you get to check all these things off your list as well!
Sound too good to be true? Or, just silly?
The point is, we are often so scheduled in life that we actually miss opportunities that God brings into our days. We wave off the friend who stops by saying, “Maybe we can get together next week. Gotta run.” Or we look at our Bible and hear it calling to us, but we keep moving and promise ourselves that “I’ll make time tomorrow.”
What is the unexpected surprise that caught you off guard recently? Was it your husband wanting to spend a bit of time with you by saying "Why don't you come out and watch me mow the lawn?" Or, was it your child or grandchild that tried to show you their artwork, tell you about their fishing trip or who just wanted to sit next to you? Did you miss an opportunity to pray with a co-worker or with the gal from your Bible Study because your internal clock was ticking away?
But, here’s where the real heartache comes in for me.
Making room for the unexpected in life isn’t simply about schedules, it is about our hearts. When the unexpected - and unwelcomed - message comes with news that a dear friend or family member is seriously ill, how quickly do I give that ‘interruption’ over to God? Often, the shocking news isn’t what turns my world upside down, but rather the knowledge that my life may change – and drastically.
How quick can we go from facing a less-than-promising medical prognosis to saying “Thy will be done, God.” Will I make time in my schedule to embrace what God is doing around me or am I too 'busy' to face my fears? Our selfish desires come screaming up to the surface demanding attention. But there it is. God isn’t surprised by the unexpected.
So, is it time to make a bit more room for God to work in your life? For God’s plans. For God’s challenges. For God’s desires, hopes and dreams for us - and those we love? Are you ready to surrender your schedule to the One that can keep you on the right path each and every day?
“Your will, God. May your will be done in my life today. May you be glorified in all I do and say. Help me trust you, God, with my schedule, my life and in the lives of all those I love. Open my eyes to opportunities to serve you and others. Help me make room for the unexpected twist and turns in life that You have ordained for me. And give me the peace and courage to throw out my plans and schedule when necessary and enjoy what you have allowed into my day. Help me to truly embrace Your will, Your way… and in Your time. Amen.”