For all you list makers out there, you understand how hard it has been for me to refrain from making a daily to do list for two whole months (see "Incredible Days of Listlessness"). God is using the fast I took throughout November and December to teach me some amazing truths.
It was unsettling at first, but also freeing to not have a list to refer to throughout the day. I actually waited for God to give me directions. It was an intense kind of listening I normally do when I am in the Word or in prayer. But now I was seeking God in the middle of the living room, or the car, or the bathroom! I began looking to God for His go ahead even about seemingly mundane details. And there were moments when I could feel His presence nearer than my skin.
At the end of the days I truly followed God's agenda instead of mine, I went to bed without regrets, fully satisfied. There were still the things I had wanted to get done and didn't, even some that seemed rather urgent to me. In all, though, there was a deep sense of trust that God had it all under control. That didn't happen every day though, especially when Christmas drew near and all our children were coming to stay or visit.
As for my tendency to try and earn God's approval, I actually felt more connected to Him than ever before. Even on the days I thought I hadn't accomplished much. I wanted to please Him even the way I rested. I pictured myself as His little handmaiden waiting for His nod to take action, fighting the urge to "look busy" while I waited.
However I have to admit I'm still in process. As soon as the fast was over it was a temptation to go right back to my old ways. I have to remind myself daily to practice what I learned and not let it slip away.
This is what my days of listlessness impressed on me:
* People are the most important part of any day. They are not items to cross off as "done" but fragile and beautiful souls who were created, like me, for relationships.
* Everything worth doing takes time. It may not go smoothly and will most likely be interrupted more than once. I need to expect that as normal. And if it does go well, don't squeeze in 3 extra jobs with the time I saved.
* Even if I only get one thing done each day that God wanted me to do, I have done well. If I get 10 things done that were not of God, I have accomplished nothing.
* People may praise me for living at a frenetic pace, but God intends me to live a life of peace and purpose. He will keep me busy, but not frazzled.
* It's okay to have fun! Where did I get the idea that fun is never on the list unless it's vacation or a holiday? As pastor Rob Baker says, "Give in to the joy!"
* What important to God is sometimes hard to evaluate. Errands, housework, appointments and projects are measurable. How can you calculate the worth of listening, writing encouragement notes, or fighting unseen forces in prayer?
* God seldom tells me what He's up to. He may urge me to go, or speak, or give, or be still without telling me why. He loves it when I trust Him and participate in His work.
* It takes courage to let God lead. I can either fight Him for control, or accept the freedom of being His follower.
So that's my story. This is a continuing saga and a huge learning curve for me. I think of all the things we cling to in this world for comfort, security, or our sense of identity and value: coffee, the daily news, Facebook, chocolate, texting, movies and TV, shopping and so much more. What would happen if you fasted from one of these and depended completely on God to meet that need? If you take the leap of faith He won't let you down. I can't wait to hear your story!
~ (c) Beth Vice, January 2010