This past winter some dear friends told us they'd like to come visit in late May or early June. We've not seen them in 20 years!
Immediately I made plans. I would finish painting our middle room upstairs and maybe paint the kitchen floor (a temporary fix) and paint the horrendous paneled wall in the living room, and well, paint everything that could be painted, including the guest room floor. Then in Spring I'd whoosh around and plant my garden early and rearrange and mulch my flower beds and build a couple raised garden beds in our Bunny Pasture. I would buy new-to-me clothes and have my hair permed, oh, and lose ten pounds, too.
Basically, by the time of our friends' arrival, I would finish every single task I'd procrastinated around this place.
Then a month ago, God told me, "Uh, no. Instead, you're going to relax, enjoy your days and just do what you can."
My oh my. He is incredibly interested in my motives and He doesn't let me get away with anything. To Him, why I'm doing something is more important than the something, itself.
I worked hard yesterday out in my garden and I mowed the lawn and did myriad other things around the house. But you know? At day's end I felt like I hadn't really enjoyed much of it. I'd spent the day concerned about all my undone tasks and how slowly every job is going. I looked at my garden and saw it the way the neighbors do-- only dirt and weeds--instead of viewing the vegetables and flowers in my mind as they'll appear around July, the inspiration which, in normal times, keeps me going.
Yesterday I just worked. All I saw were weeds yet un-pulled and grape vines yet unfertilized , un-mowed lawns, unpainted everything from my list and time running-out. I saw it all through the neighbors' eyes and those of our friends who'll soon visit-- and it was all found wanting.
It's a joy to work on something when you're grateful God gave it to you. But spend your day doing right things for wrong reasons and there's only a vague, exhausting pain. God doesn't correct our motives because He's nitpicky and unfun, but rather, He knows Grace only comes around to help in an atmosphere of peace and gratitude.
Trust me, I know.
So today will be different. The pressure is off. Oh probably God will need to remind me--again and again--that there's no contest taking place and I've nothing to prove. And He'll remind me there's really only Him and Grace, one on each side of me, helping me, encouraging me and making me smile while we work and laugh together.
Probably most things are done out of fear, obligation/duty or love. May I always choose love.