“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29: 11-12
Oh, September, you are such a vivid reminder of the mountaintops and trenches of life! Don’t you just love the month of September? It’s one of my favourites— still warm during the day minus the crowds of summer vacationers, cool enough in the evenings for snuggles, the hope of organized routine after a blissfully unorganized summer, and the opportunity to look at the next school year of life and make plans and set goals. It’s like New Year without the party. Maybe we should consider inventing a September New Year party…
But here’s the thing. September is a jolt of reality, too. All those perfectly laid out plans in our shiny new agendas, the goals to accomplish a hundred things per week whilst maintaining a perfectly ordered house and numerous Bible study doodads… that spectacular view from the mountaintop before you dive right in… it’s exhilarating, right? We have this year planned and covered. Until REAL LIFE sets in and the dog throws up and the teachers are on strike, and nobody else notices you’re on a mission and you realize you’ve bitten off more than you can chew down in the trenches of everyday with everyone.
Kind of reminds me of Moses.
You know, when he has the ultimate mountaintop experience with the Living God, chatting and fellowshipping and literally basking in holy glory— it doesn’t get any better than that. He must have been on cloud nine, all September-like and ready for the next phase with God’s chosen people as he brought the ten commandments down that mountain.
“When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain.” Exodus 32:19
I can’t imagine his devastation when he reached the trenches, the everyday with everyone. The people had gone on their own course and didn’t care that Moses had a plan and was in September mode complete with commandments— they were merrily dancing around a golden calf and had distractions like you wouldn’t believe. REAL LIFE had set in, derailing the plans horribly.
Do you ever get like Moses? Super frustrated when others can’t be on the same page as you, seeing the vision like you can? Let’s face it, our best laid plans very rarely go smoothly, even when we’ve prayed about them and we are sure we’re on track. We would all love our Septembers to kick off perfectly— kids integrated into their schools and activities, ministries up and running full steam ahead, deadlines achieved in our jobs, and of course, that perfectly immaculate house gleaming daily. But what would that really look like? I think it might actually be a bit boring and colourless…
Tonight I went to the movies and saw The Giver where life in 2048 is devoid of colour, race, feelings, and choice— it portrayed a balanced, uneventful, safe existence on the mountaintop. You know what was missing? Love, faith, hope, mess, pain, colour, stress, disappointment, mistakes, arguments… all the stuff of the beautiful trenches. It’s what makes us alive and resilient and full. In our REAL LIFE, we get to experiences the highs and lows, the mountaintops and trenches, with people who disappoint us, and others who cheer us on relentlessly. It’s awesome in it’s colourful messiness.
So when September gets messy in the trenches (and it probably will), don’t despair. Embrace it, roll with the punches, see if God’s showing you something fresh buried beneath your agenda. Walk daily in grace, because we ALL need a good dose of grace. Commit your plans to the Lord, call on Him, and rest in the fact that He is the Master Planner, and His agenda is the one that counts.
Linking up with HolleyGerth.com and some fabulous encouragers. Check them out: