Most of us love opening new things. A fresh box of Crayola crayons still brings me joy. Something as simple as starting a fresh journal makes my heart stir with fresh hope and possibilities. And there is little to compare with opening a fresh box of athletic shoes or the new car smell. However, turning a new page on the calendar tends to bring a fresh opportunity for anxiety.
As a family we are committed to living intentionally with God and for others. This often looks like having couples or students over for meals in the evening, getting coffee with hurting friends, mentoring younger believers and being mentored ourselves. So many places to be, meals to host, children to nurture and develop. Syncing sports schedules and planning church events awaits me at the threshold of each new month.
Each new month (and, if I am completely honest, each new week), the Lord and I have a little process we do together called quieting the calendar.
It’s as if Jesus has to grab me by the hand and walk with me over the cacophonous calendar through each day of the upcoming month. One by one, He quiets each screaming demand or fear, rational or irrational, telling them to lay back down quietly. We continue in this vein until we walk through the whole month. Only after this process am I am able to look with hope at a new month marked by new mercies.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a man well-acquainted with the demands and needs of a large community, wrote the following.
“For Christians the beginning of the day should not be burdened and oppressed with besetting concerns for the day’s work. At the threshold of the new day stands the Lord who made it. All the darkness and distraction of the dreams of night retreat before the clear light of Jesus Christ and his wakening Word. All unrest, all impurity, all care and anxiety flee before him.”
Bonhoeffer’s sweet image of the Lord standing at the doorway of each new day, each new month, each new and daunting life season comes to me often when the calendar and commitments, most of them right and good, start stealing my peace and focus.
I live in a hurried society and a heart that hurries to busyness lives within me. I am such a Martha, buzzing with frenetic energy like a neon light, I am quick to run to everything but the One thing needful. Yet, there is only one thing needful, and it is not a thing. It is not an urgent demand, but a patient person. The One thing I need is to come to Him. I need him to teach my heart to keep pace with His, rather than straining to keep up with the pace of the world all around or the lies deep within me.
Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.
She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word.
But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.”
But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things: but only One thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42
When I have sat with the Best, the good won’t have to be coaxed or conjured up; it will flow out of my union with Him. And union with Him is incredibly portable. He goes with me into PTA meetings and retreats. He goes with us to soccer practice. He is the main attraction of our hospitality, not my mediocre meals.
At the threshold of a new month, these truths help me quiet the calendar:
- All my plans are mere proposals to be shaped by God’s better plans.
“I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23).
- My minutes are not mine but yours, and they are meant to be invested, not squandered.
“But I trust in you, O Lord. I say, ‘My times are in your hand'” (Psalm 31:14) and “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15-16).
- There is a provision of energy and joy in obedience that the world can neither conjure nor comprehend.
“I delight to do y our will, O my God; your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8).
- If he commands it, he will give all he commands.
“O Lord, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works” (Isaiah 26:12).
May we walk into a new month with new mercies. May His truth quiet our calendars, for His glory and our great joy!