Pray and finish the dishes.
Have you ever noticed that we are constantly being reminded of change? The clock ticks, every moment ripe with new possibility, the leaves change color, the tide swells, the temperatures drop, and each new season brings new adventures--good and bad.
This, my friends, is my 30th autumnal season. And even though I have been through 29 previous autumns, this one is new to me. It's new to you. Sure, there are a lot of familiar things--crunchy, brightly colored leaves, pumkiny treats, cooler air, and boots and scarves--but this season is completely new. It's never been lived in. And like a pair of brand new shoes, I'm starting to break in this new season.
This autumn finds me in a place that I have been before, many times. A place of worrying about the future, making endless plans, dreaming up ideas, and trying to control it all. I think of this place as a brightly-colored ball pit, it looks like so much fun but once you're inside you can't gain the right footing and you come out sticky, sweaty, and wondering what was the point.
I'm tired of finding myself in this ball pit of grasping at control. Why do I keep going back in there? I want this season to be different. I want to change my response. I don't want to keep going back to the ball pit.
I am reading through Jennie Allen's book, Anything, right now with an incredible group of really good looking ladies. Our foxiness aside, we have really dug deep into this book and I have been so encouraged and inspired by these women's stories and struggles.
Jennie writes in this book about how God moved in her life through a prayer of complete surrender. Jennie describes a life-changing and yet very ordinary moment that really struck me, she writes:
But that morning while I was loading the dishes, I realized that this one felt different. It was the moment I had discovered C.S. Lewis's wardrobe and pushed through the fur coats. No longer would playing tag in the house to pass the time satisfy me when there was a land to explore, full of talking animals and war. I had seen another reality. But the laundry still had to be put away. And what else was I going to do? I couldn't just hop on the next plane to Africa...and was it even Africa? I didn't know what to do, so I just prayed and finished the dishes.
I find myself in this exact place. I've been through the wardrobe, I've seen a new reality. I just have no idea what God has for me next. What am I supposed to do now?
Pray. And finish the dishes.
God has me here--in this place, in this marriage, in this home, in this city, in this job, in this ministry, in this community--right now. He's given me dishes to do, the normal, ordinary, not so glamorous, small seeds of obedience. Perhaps there is a grand adventure further in the story, or perhaps there are just more dishes. I'm not the author of the story.
This season, I don't know how or where the story will go. I don't know what the next chapter holds. All I know is that I need to keep praying. And doing the dishes.