Winter has arrived even though the calendar says it won’t start until next week. With fresh snowfall overnight, page 347 began early as I was at work before 6 AM. And with snow falling at various times throughout the day, it was after 6 PM when I cleared the walks for the final time and headed home. In between those two sixes were a lot of things that made my day challenging and forced me to deal with an ever-rising frustration level. In the midst of it all I struggled to keep my mind focused on things that were pure and noble and praise-worthy. The feelings of discouragement have followed me home, so I’m going to pause the writing and head to bed — some time with God and sleep should give me a clearer mind to finish writing this page in the morning. 🙂
Well, the next morning has arrived and now I’m writing yesterday’s page following some prayer time out in the crisp night air as I cleared the walks. Page 347 began in much the same way — prayer time out in the midst of nighttime calm and crisp snow underfoot. Once the outside work was finished for the time being, my attention was turned toward getting the inside ready for the day. As I look back, I think part of the problem was that I got so caught up in the things that needed done with the arrival of snow that I got the inside of the building ready for the day but didn’t use that time to get the inside of me ready for the day. The day was busy but it didn’t seem like any of the things I worked on actually were accomplished. On some of them, progress was made and on others it felt like the time spent on them didn’t accomplish anything. That is the problem with only being able to see with a temporal vision rather than the eternal vision that God has. I become too quick to decide something didn’t work or was ineffective or was a waste of time, simply because it didn’t bear fruit in the season I thought is should have — the season of “now”.
With overcast skies all day and the snow coming and going, I didn’t have a lot of visitors outside my office window. There were a couple of blue jays, however, that did stop by long enough for some photos. While not often desired for their song — their call is usually rather harsh sounding — I always enjoy seeing the bright blue color hopping from tree to tree outside my window. God’s gifting in each person’s life is designed to benefit not only them, but the entire body of Christ. Just as people often think of the blue jay as a nuisance bird because it doesn’t act the way a cardinal does, we often fall into the trap of labeling people as a nuisance simply because they don’t fit our expectations and we aren’t willing to look at them for who they are created to be.
As I look back on the day, perhaps that same attitude crept into my mind about the “unaccomplished” tasks of the day. If the tasks I am working on don’t take place in the way I think they should, or in the time frame I think they should, it is far too easy to think something went wrong. Sometimes it is probably true that things went wrong, but often it has more to do with expectations (whether accurate or not) that went unfulfilled. Hindsight helps me to see that there were things that were not only done, but even some of the “unaccomplished” things were actually steps that needed to be taken in the bigger picture realm.
As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:
- What something actually looks and feels like is usually more truthful than an arbitrary label.
- Not everything will go as planned. In fact, some days may feel like nothing goes as planned.
- Some days are easier than others to take every thought captive. It is usually the more difficult days when doing so is more necessary.
- Sometimes I need a “time-out” to reset my mind on things above.
- Failing to begin my day with the correct mindset usually results in greater problems as the day goes along.
- Even when I begin my day with God as I should, it is easy for me to get distracted when I have to change up my routine.
- My definition of “not accomplished” is not always the same as God’s.
- God’s desire is that you and I would be faithful in being who He created us to be.