Sipping a cup of coffee you survey the mess. It’s the day after Christmas and all through the house everything’s well …really?
Used wrapping paper peeks from under the couch. Left-over cookies, cakes, and pies sit on the countertops. Flakes of artificial snow are scattered around the house from the packages under the tree. The tree is dropping pine needles on the carpet. And you wonder if the house will ever be back to its normal, slightly cluttered home you love. Surveying the mess and trying not to let it overwhelm you, you begin to mentally make a list of all that needs to be done. Then you remember that the stores open early today for returns, exchanges, and year-end bargains. How do you accomplish putting order to this disaster zone and exchange what needs to be exchanged!
Picking up your coffee cup, you make your way through the untidy obstacle course and head to the kitchen. What ever happened to comfort and joy? Sighing, you think, “Where do I start?” And you silently groan while calculating how long it will take to put things back in some semblance of order.
You grab a pad and pen and begin to make a to-do list. You’ll make a plan and stick to it. You’ve been told that efficient planning and prioritizing activities helps make things go faster. So you roll up your sleeves and get started (while the rest of the house is still in bed). After a while your resentment begins to grow. Things are not going as quickly or easily as you thought. And your happy Christmas spirit goes right down the drain along with the dish water.
Deciding to take a quick break, you go over your list again and wonder what you might be doing wrong. This isn’t fun. It’s work. The Christmas music in the background doesn’t make things better either. As you pity party grows in intensity, something begins to nudge your heart. The question, “Where do I start?” keeps bumping around in your mind. Your list was organized and prioritized. And you’ve been working. Why then does it look like you’re not accomplishing anything?
Like a light bulb turning on in your mind, you realize that the question, “Where do I start?” had nothing to do with straightening up the house. It had everything to do with “where do I start the day.” Christmas activities, extra cooking and baking, fellowship with family and friends, late nights and early mornings had all taken a toll on you. And with deep regret you realize that you’ve been skipping your morning prayer time with the Lord. You remembered your commitment to start every day in prayer, but the hustle and bustle of the holiday season had pushed your prayer time off into oblivion.
Tears fill your eyes as you put down the broom and trash sack and walk into the tiny hall closet where you had set up a cushion, Bible, and journal. Settling down in your “prayer closet” and beginning to pray, you can barely get the words out. With remorse, you pour out your disappointment and disgust in yourself for placing your relationship with the Lord on the shelf during these past weeks. As you confess, you feel God’s love, mercy, and grace cover you. Your tears turn from tears of shame and sorrow into tears of great joy and peace. The Almighty, All Knowing, All Sufficient, Always Near, Advocate, Anointed One, Always Listening, Adonai, and Abba Daddy loves you…in spite of yourself!
You pick yourself up, pick up your broom and trash sack, and singing along with the Christmas music, you begin again.
Why the change in your attitude? Because you started the day with your real priority—spending time in prayer with God. I wonder if you could substitute your name for every “you” in this story. Think about it. What changes do you need to make in your life to get the Lord back as the priority in your life. “…The earnest (heart-felt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available-dynamic in its working. (James 5:16 AMP). “For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous—those who are upright and in right standing with God—and His ears are attentive (open) to their prayer….” 1 Peter 3:12 AMP).
I’m praying that you will make whatever changes necessary!