I have mentioned before how much I love Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. This small devotional book, subtitled Enjoying Peace in His Presence, has been a tremendous blessing in my life. I have been reading it to my first period classes for several years and I am often amazed at how appropriate the readings are to my day. Last Friday, January 13, the entry I read leaped off the page and I have been thinking about it ever since. It was just what I needed, and I intend to make the principles in it the theme for this new year. Here’s the entire entry:
“Try to view each day as an adventure, carefully planned out by your Guide. Instead of staring into the day that is ahead of you, attempting to program it according to your will, be attentive to me and all I have prepared for you. Thank Me for this day of life, recognizing that it is a precious, unrepeatable gift. Trust that I am with you each moment, whether you sense My Presence or not. A thankful, trusting attitude helps you to see events in your life from My perspective.
“A life lived close to Me will never be dull or predictable. Expect each day to contain surprises! Resist your tendency to search for the easiest route through the day. Be willing to follow wherever I lead. No matter how steep or treacherous the path before you, the safest place to be is by my side.”
Psalm 118:24; I Peter 2:21
First, I am struck by the idea of adventure! My days seem pretty routine. I sometimes joke about my need to “get a life.” Hours and hours inside the walls of a classroom, an hour or two with my family, and then a few more hours reading and writing don’t seem to add up to anything remotely interesting, let alone exciting or adventurous. But if my day is truly planned by my Guide as I claim to believe it is and if that Guide is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, wouldn’t that make anything pretty exciting? If my Guide made everything, knows everything, has absolute power and wisdom, and besides all that is completely good and loves me, who knows what He has planned for my day? I just need to be watching.
This passage also reiterates another lesson I have been trying to get through my thick head and soul: every day is a gift. If God gives me this day as a gift, the least I can do is to be thankful for it. You would think that someone who had been diagnosed with a stage four cancer would “get it,” but too often I lose track of the gift because all I can see is the “wrapping,” the circumstances of the day. Just like the wrapping makes a gift special and beautiful, God has a reason for the way he “wraps” each day He sends me, and no two of these gifts are alike. Each one is unique and I want to accept them from God’s hand with a thankful, trusting attitude.
I like the idea of expecting surprises. I have to admit that this is not natural for me. I tend to be happy in quiet routine. I like lists, and planners and order. It’s time to shake things up a bit, and that leads to the last part of the passage, the scary part. I really do tend to look for “the easiest route through the day.” I avoid as much confrontation, unpleasantness, pain, annoyance etc., etc, as possible. I don’t mind working hard, but I run from trouble. I can see, though, that by taking detours around the obstacles God places in my path, I am going my own way and not His. Safety lies along the path where He leads, the danger is in the detour.
So, I am going to live this year with a gratitude attitude, following my Guide into the adventures He has planned for me. It should be an interesting trip. I’m starting a new blog to record what I learn along the way. It’s called No More Detours and I’m going to try to update daily. I’m not abandoning this blog. I’ll keep it for thoughts on books, and life, and well, everything else thrown in!