I don't know if anyone besides me looked at their calendar at the start of this academic term and saw all the events of this next season and had to fight a little bit of anxiety about how they were going to get through it all? After genuinely feeling the benefit of a good mental break over summer, and having enjoyed relaxed time with friends and family and even some half-decent summer weather, I admit to having to push back the feeling of panic and pressure that was already starting to build inside my mind.
I have many things to look forward to in the autumn term, and I love this season, but I didn't like that I already felt overwhelmed before I'd even started anything.
Thankfully God immediately brought to mind the song, 'God I look to You' which has the lines, 'I won't be overwhelmed, Give me vision to see things as you do' and I prayed that God would overwhelm the things that overwhelmed me. I realised that it was more important than ever, in this next busy season to carve out time to sit in His presence and seek His will not mine; to only do the things He's called me to, and to do them in His strength not my own.
A few years ago I used to use the phrase 'there's not enough hours in the day' until one day I felt challenged that God had deliberately put just 24 hours in a day and that some of those hours were actually supposed to be for resting! Who was I to challenge our Creator God's design and timetable?!
Psalm 37:23 says, "The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives". Our Heavenly Father cares about every part of our lives, including how we spend our time.
What does this next season ahead look like for you? Are you overwhelmed, overworked, or overtired? Does your diary seem to fill itself with work, family, school, church and other responsibilities before you've even had chance to put anything in of your own choosing?
We do have a choice though, to hear God over the sounds of all other voices and demands. To step back from it all and ask what does He want us to do? What does He want us to say 'yes' to... and more importantly, say 'no' to.
Let me encourage you to make and take time in your daily schedules to spend time in His presence; to work from a place of rest. Why not try something new, or finally make time for that one thing that you've always thought you should do to get closer to God but never made time for? It can be as simple as you choose to make it: listening to some worship music on your commute to work; taking a detour after dropping the kids at school to spend a few minutes breathing in God's creation; or adding a short Bible reading plan to your phone with a reminder at a time to suit you. Worship and the Word are our weapons of warfare in the spiritual battle of life – let's not put them down because we think our hands are too full.
"Where could I go from your Spirit? Where could I run and hide from your face? If I go up to heaven, you’re there! If I go down to the realm of the dead, you’re there too!" (Psalm 139:7-8).
Find a chair, a room, a place, an activity, a journey to find Him in. Be deliberate and specific. Ask Him to meet you there. There is no place He doesn't want to meet and be with you.
"Drink deeply of the pleasures of this God. Experience for yourself the joyous mercies He gives to all who turn to hide themselves in Him." (Psalms 34:8)