Sometimes my life seems like the movie “Groundhog Day”.
Every morning can feel like a repeat of the day before. The same messes to clean up. The same squabbles to referee. The same meals to make and bums to wipe. The same homework to help with. The same routines. The same struggles. The same books. The same conversations.
Except unlike “Groundhog Day”, this “sameness” thing rarely seems to work to my advantage. I seldom feel like I’m on top of all the things or like I’ve got everything under control and my to-do list is hardly ever completed.
This morning I felt overwhelmed.
It’s December 4th (Or is it the 5th? I’ve had to check the calendar 3 times already today) and there are still pumpkins on our front steps. Christmas decorating has started but there are still tubs of lights and wreaths and ornaments in the living room and the lights just burnt out on the garland and we have yet to get a tree. I seem to start our family Advent devotions at least one day late every. single. year. And yesterday I gave my kids 2 pieces of candy from their Advent calendar because I forgot what day it was.
Our refrigerator and and fruit basket have yet to be refilled from last week. There are emails to respond to, phone calls to make, appointments to schedule, meals to prepare, gifts to buy, parties to plan, clothes to wash, and bathrooms to clean. We’ve been battling our first colds of the season and my boys have been snotty and whiny and hold-on-to-my-leg-while-I-make-your-eggs clingy.
I felt myself questioning if I’d EVER totally get my act together. If I’d EVER have it all figured out. If I’d EVER stop my clamoring and finally reach great mom, great wife, great-fill-in-the-blank-of-whatever-I’m-doing status.
But as I took my boys for a walk this morning (I didn’t feel like running, but goodness knows we needed some sunshine and this Mama needed some coffee), God brought verses I had read just a few hours before back to mind…
You see, another way my life is unlike “Groundhog Day” is that I don’t need an alarm clock to start my “repeat” day. Every morning, like clockwork, my 2 oldest boys bound (literally, they sound like elephants) out their door and into my room at 7:01 (or maybe 7:13 or 7:21 if they “sleep in”). And because I want the first words out of my mouth and into their ears each morning to be better than my own, my little guys climb with me into the bed their daddy had already left for work and we read a Psalm together. This morning these are the words we read and prayed…
“My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself; I am like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child I am content. Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.”
My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty…I remember it’s not about me and what I do.
I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me…I remember I won’t have it all figured out and some things will always be beyond me.
BUT…in spite of this, despite of this, in.the.midst.of.this…
Like a weaned child I am content…I remember I can stop my clamoring and stressing and striving and wanting and be satisfied in His presence.
Put your hope in the Lord…I remember to put my trust, my expectation, my satisfaction in Who His and what He has done.
You see, last year at this time, sitting in the recliner and holding Baby Jack only meant one thing to him – DINNER. He would clamor and squirm and fuss and reach and root. But now that he is weaned he is content to and wants to simply be with me. To feel my closeness, my presence, and my love. Now my boys want to crawl into my lap, not because of what I’ll give them there..but simply because I am there.
And the great I AM is here.
Emmanuel – God is with us.
Here I can breathe. I can quit my stressing and striving. I don’t need all of the answers or a haughty and temporal feeling of accomplishment and “greatness”.
In Jeremiah 45:5, God tells his people…
“And do you seek great things for yourself? Seek them not…
But I WILL GIVE YOU YOUR LIFE…”
Stop seeking greatness. Stop seeking freedom from difficulty. Seek Me instead. I will give you life. I AM the life. And I am here.
Isn’t this the beauty of Christmas? We couldn’t get to Him. We couldn’t save ourselves. We had no hope. But into our mess, HE CAME.
Into our mundane and our mess and our monotony. Emmanuel – God is with us.
Into our fears and questions and anxiety. Emmanuel – God is with us.
Into our striving and performing and stressing. Emmanuel – God is with us.
Into our suffering and pain and sickness. Emmanuel – God is with us.
Into our dissatisfaction and disappointment and disengagement. Emmanuel – God is with us.
Into our weaknesses and failures and inadequacies. Emmanuel – God is with us.
Into our darkness and sin and enmity. Emmanuel – God is with us.
Not to throw us a temporary hunger fix.
Not to make us great.
Not to give us a pep talk and tell us that we’re alright.
But to live a perfect life we couldn’t live and die a death He didn’t deserve. To not just enter into our sin, but actually become our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21) for us, that in by putting our hope and trust in His work on the cross and His victory over the grave, we might receive His righteousness.
To give you your life…
To be restored back into His presence. Like, from the very beginning, we were always meant to be.
In His presence.
So now let us want Him more than greatness. More than pretty houses and checked off to-do lists. More than freedom from suffering or temporal success and fleeting pleasure.
Finding our joy and fulfillment and delight not in the gifts, but in the Giver.
Simply being in His presence.
“You make known to me the path of life; IN YOUR PRESENCE there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”