As the holidays approach, I am remembering how "harassed" and "helpless" I tend to feel during this time of year. With all the shopping, errands, cooking, baking, thinking, planning, making, creating, wrapping, and searching, my insides will churn, my heart will feel tight, and, at 31, I’m probably two shakes away from keeling over in total exhaustion when I get in holiday mode! In all my holiday activity in the name of serving my family, I can easily justify setting aside more "regular" things for the time being, such as my time in prayer, my time in the Word, and my time simply being with the Lord. Perhaps even more tempting are the acts that I can think of to serve the Lord instead of thinking about how to spend time with him. I need to remember that we are to serve and do as an overflow of our communion with Christ, because we don't find relationship with Jesus by trying to serve him first.
Elisabeth Elliot reminds us of Jesus’ example in her book, Discipline: The Glad Surrender:
“I don’t have time” is probably a lie more often than not, covering “I don’t want to.” We have time – twenty four hours in a day, seven days in a week. All of us have the same portion….What do you want me to do, Lord? There will be time, depend upon it, for everything God wants us to do.
There were endless demands on Jesus’ time. People pressed on Him with their needs so that He and His disciples had not leisure even to eat, and He would go away into the hills to pray and be alone….Still He was able to make that amazing claim, “I have finished the work You gave me to do.” This was not the same as saying He had finished everything He could possibly think of to do or that He had done everything others had asked. He made no claim to have done what He wanted to do. The claim was that He had done what had been given….
There is always enough time to do the will of God. For that we can never say, “I don’t have time.” When we find ourselves frantic and frustrated, harried and harassed and “hassled,” it is a sign that we are running on our own schedule, not on God’s.
May we be like Jesus! Who, Elisabeth reminds us, stole away to the hills to pray to his Father, and still did all that he had been given to do. Surely if we "steal away" to be with our Father, he will show us what he wants us to take on for the day. Oh, that we would run to our Father first thing, each day, before we bake our cookies, before we shop for presents, before we hang those stockings, before we deliver those meals! How our light would shine! How love would grow in us! How our smiles would bring much joy! How our voices would sound like sweet songs! How our hearts would be tender! How God would receive great glory in all our daily holiday activity!
Praying for you, that during this season, you will be like your Savior and steal away with your Father, lay down all your holiday ideas, plans and thoughts before him, and take up that which he has called and appointed you to do for each day. For no longer are we harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd, no longer do we need to run around with frantic faces, impatient sighs, harsh voices and frustrated steps. No, we have a great shepherd! One who had compassion for us selfish, frantic, and hassled creatures. We have a great shepherd! One who has laid his life down for us. We know his voice, and he will lead us faithfully along the path of righteousness, even during the holidays.