…I get overly excited and overly ambitious. Too often, I don’t realize that I might just bite off more than I can chew with my ideas and plans. Fortunately, sometimes I do!
I mentioned the other day that I was thinking about having a little party for MissCreativity, themed around a big craft, most likely an advent calendar. As I searched and searched for ideas, I didn’t really find one that was quite what I had in mind (though I did find a lot of neat stuff out there!) So I was scratching out my own plans and patterns for how to go about it. I started to feel overwhelmed as I went to page after page, link after link, writing down idea after idea. And then, around 10:30 pm last night it dawned on me that this was one of those times. I was over-excited and over-ambitious and this type of thing would probably suck the fun out of any party I hoped to have for MissCreativity. That doesn’t mean we won’t be tackling this project. It just means that it will not be done with a group of kids in a party setting.
That simple realization, that easy decision, that dose of reality was exactly what I needed. I suddenly felt less overwhelmed and at peace. I didn’t have to do all or nothing. I could still have a party with a craft and an advent calendar made by the kids and me. Just not together or at the same time! Smaller bites. Practical baby steps. That is the key to planning a party that MissCreativity, her guests AND her mom can enjoy. I think it is the key to just about everything else, too!
Now I’m sitting here thinking that I can apply this to everything else in my life. School, household tasks, knitting, meal planning and my spiritual life (just to name a few things, of course!) I am asking myself what can I really do today? Now? Having smaller goals and manageable plans seems to me to be a great way to succeed.
As I think about this, I realize that I must be stretched in order to grow. I can’t tone down everything in my life until there is no challenge, but I do need to balance my realities and my growth. As much as I don’t want to limit what the Lord can and would do in and through me, I also don’t want to run so far ahead of Him that I can’t even do what He would have me do. If I do run ahead like that, chances are that I’ll take a wrong turn here and there.
I remember reading the writings of a Saint in which the advice is to not necessarily seek suffering or crosses, but rather wait on the crosses the Lord sends and then accept them with a generous heart. I think I can apply this to the stretching and growth that the Lord wants in me. Yes, I have to pursue Him and His will in all things, including the crosses he asks me to bear, the growth He wants to create in me, but I need not try to heap them upon myself, either. God will prepare my soul for the things He sends. He will not necessarily do the same for my “great ideas.” To remain open and pliable is the way for me to be receptive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit which are both for my own good and the good of the Body of Christ. He knows what is profitable for me much better than I myself could ever guess.
The trick, then, is to be practical, realistic and discerning. I have to distinguish between what is the Will of God and what is the idea of me. I have to constantly listen, constantly pray, constantly pay attention. He may speak to my heart in prayer, through scripture or through the writing or words of others. But I have to listen and get my stuff out of the way. You know, God knows exactly what I need in everything, even party planning. If I don’t pollute the waters with too much self, seeing what He wants is so much easier, and by doing that I can be at peace, no matter what comes my way. By trusting Him completely for everything, I can confidently and peacefully move forward and grow or, as He wills, be still and know the He is God.