When they were growing up, occasionally we took both boys for a week of camp. (Not camping; our “cabin” had indoor plumbing, thank you very much.)
We would sit around talking and eating and playing games. We had many campfires, shot lots of guns, and experienced some pitiful fishing adventures.
After a full week of revelry, an eleven-hour drive, and more pitstops at Micky D’s than I care to admit, we arrived home late at night.
Exhausted, I dumped buckets of tie-dye projects and a ton of damp, sand-filled, smoky clothes in the house and went to bed.
The next day, I was up before dawn to face piles of fermenting laundry, the science projects in the fridge, and the ten thousand emails in my inbox. Lord, have mercy!
Have you been there?
When I go away for a time of refreshment, especially one designed to connect with God, I am often inspired to change everything that is wrong with me.
When I’m removed from the hustle and bustle and my phone, the traffic and the constant pings on my laptop, I crazily believe it’s possible to have a daily hour-long quiet time in my (as yet to be built) private prayer closet.
I’m convinced I can pray daily for everyone I know, every elected official in the US, and all the missionaries listed in the church directory.
When I am away from Wi-Fi and face to face with the creation of my Creator, I fall in love with God’s Word in such a way that it makes me want to memorize the entire New Testament.
But then I get home.
- The house is a disaster area
- The deadline on a writing project is moved up
- I get a call from someone who is sick and needs my attention
…and all my good intentions evaporate.
After facing that same situation over and over, I finally realized I needed an alternative plan. I could let all my good intentions and grand plans go swirling down the proverbial drain, or I could revise my plans and actually implement new disciplines.
A more attainable goal might be to establish a quiet time every day but give myself permission to flex the time or shorten the slot. I probably won’t pray for everyone every day, but I can pray each day for some.
I definitely want to memorize Scripture, but perhaps a more reasonable pace would be a verse a week rather than one a day!
It’s about progress, not perfection.
When we don’t reach perfection, we often give up.
But progress allows us to keep moving forward, acknowledging the imperfection but not letting it control us.
When you are inspired to make spiritual improvements on your journey to trust God and follow Jesus, do what you can and don’t worry about foiled intentions.
Keep tweaking the plan.
Progress, not perfection, is what God is watching for.
“It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it.” —3 John 1:3
Jesus, be bigger than my circumstances, my emotions, and the messy people situations that test my ability to keep my focus on you and your promise of a rich and satisfying life. Overcome my enemy and help me to love you and love others as you love them. God, everywhere I look, let me see you at work. Lead me into the life I’ve been missing. I know that you love me. I want to follow you. Amen.