“Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ…” Colossians 3:22-25 (The Message)
Last time we were together I was talking about how God encouraged me with the verse from John 15:16 and how He used that verse to show me a few truths, ones that I needed to be reminded about. He reminded me that it’s never about me… it’s always about Him, His purpose, His plan and how He chooses to use me.
That brings me to the second truth He showed me. That agenda I make out mentally every day? That “to do” list that sits on my desk and never seems to go down? I needed, for myself, to change my mindset.
God does say in the Bible that I am to work at everything as though working for the Lord. There have been times in my life where God has told me specific things He wants me to do. However, on the average day, while it’s okay to have a general idea of what needs to be accomplished, God showed me how He wanted me to approach that handwritten list.
First, I’m to start my day with Him, giving Him my agenda and waiting to see if there is something specific He wants me to do. Then after having waited and listened, He wants me to go ahead and make the list, in pencil, always being ready to erase, change, cross off, or carry over whatever is on there, according to His plans.
I will admit. He didn’t reveal all this to me at the same time. It was gradual, over a few weeks (which had really been over a few years) and then He lovingly gave me opportunities to practice. Because what is a real heart change without a chance to put it into practice?
Toward the beginning of June, I’d worked hard so that the next week my workload could be a little lighter with all the end of the year activities scheduled. My practice started on Saturday: Our youngest got sick, after a week of his two siblings being sick for seven consecutive days. I also received an email from one of my boss needing two assignments completed quickly, with an apology for the rush. Monday was spent working on those when normally it’s spent on my other jobs. That afternoon I received what was a big assignment, something I had never attempted before so a learning curve needed to be factored in as well. I realized then I was being given a choice. I could embrace this plan or I could fight for my old plan and complain. I chose to embrace this plan, choosing to thank God that He entrusted me with this new assignment and thanking Him ahead of time for teaching me this angle of work to be used in the future for something else. Then I prayed hard for wisdom to do a job that would please my boss.
By Thursday of that week I could honestly say I’d had the best week I’d had in a long time. I’d worked hard for both companies, I’d turned in and received praise for the big project which turned out to be a lot of fun (I want to do more of those), and I was able to maintain God’s peace and joy all week long. I also found I was able to accomplish so much more that week then I usually do.
I truly believe the difference wasn’t in the workload but in my attitude. I still make to do lists, I still set agendas, but they are loosely set. They are subject to change and that’s okay. As I’m writing this, I see that God gave me a chance to practice not just in my employment setting, but also as a wife/mother.
The week of my birthday was super busy with end of the year activities. I knew that ahead of time so we had planned to celebrate as a family the following weekend. However, that weekend had me nursing a sick little boy back to health and helping him get comfortable in between vomiting and dealing with a 103 fever. But it was okay. My agenda was written in pencil. I was able to look past the change of plans and truly be thankful that I had three children to take care of, whether they were healthy or sick. I was thankful to have a husband who was right there with me – going to the store to buy conservative measures to help them feel better, helping me decide how best to treat their symptoms and just being there, cuddling together while we watched a family movie, close enough to watch over the sick one who alternatively slept and enjoyed the movie.
I never thought this former control freak could say I’ve given up my plans to the One who makes the best plans… but I can and I am.
© Cheri Swalwell 2016