This post is a continuation of The Moving Room.
Three months ago, I packed John the Baptist between wine decor and vases in a cardboard box. When he emerged in West Point, Mississippi, he was in no hurry to claim a new room.
I took my time unpacking and unwrapping. For weeks, John lay on a shelf as if he were in the final resting pose of a yoga practice. In the midst of change, I knew one rule I must take seriously:
Do not rush....
The supine prophet was a visual reminder of my necessary pace. John helped me resist the urge to wear myself out or to become overwhelmed. He would find a spot in his new home, and I would find my way.
The last room that I organized was the writing room. I refuse to call it an office because I already have one of those at the church. The writing room is full of books and posters and photographs. An old toy chest brims with poetry I wrote in high school. This room designed for creativity seemed the perfect spot for John the Baptist. Upright he now stands in the center of the room.
I had a plan for the writing room. The desk where I would type on my computer was in a corner. The papasan chair in another corner would be my 'study spot' where I could read for my doctoral classes. I put a cushion on the floor near the window, where Isaac the dog could rest and watch as I *brilliantly* wrote and studied.
How wonderful and exciting plans are --until God reminds us of the Scripture that says, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord." Or, in the case of the writing room, until the dog reminds me of his plans.
Book in hand, I headed for my new reading nook one evening, only to discover that Isaac had claimed it as his own. I pointed to the floor and said, "That's your spot over there." Isaac looked at the floor, then back at me, as if to say, "Only dogs and yogis sit on the floor...."
I tried to join Isaac in the papasan chair. It fell over. I tried to pick him up and move him. He weighs 65 pounds. I put a treat on the floor and thought I'd finally succeeded. He jumped down, and I climbed on the chair. When he saw that I'd tricked him, he promptly jumped back in the chair and on top of me. We fell over again. This peaceful, creative space had quickly become chaotic. When I told my parents about the fight for the papasan chair, they said, "Poor Isaac," and ordered a new cushion for "his" papasan chair.
As I sat on the floor later that evening, looking at my dog sleeping in the chair and John the Baptist standing on the table, I thought of all the time we invest in planning and preparing and envisioning. I thought of the early disciples. They woke up one morning with plans to go fishing. They planned to fish every morning for the rest of their lives. They had the Galilean equivalent of schedules and spreadsheets and budgets of the fishing industry. Then one day they found God sitting in their boat, and like the papasan chair their lives were overturned--in the best but scariest of ways.
Planning is good. Planning establishes order. God loves plans so much that he reminds us of them "to give us hope and a future." The trouble develops when we become more devoted to our own plans that we can see than we are to God's that we can't see.
Do you ever find yourself saying, "I didn't plan for this...."? Those are the best moments to stop and pray, "Lord, I don't know, but you know the plans you have for me." Surrender. Trust. Stand tall and confident like John the Baptist. Laugh. Go with the flow. Watch the wonder of God unfold in the most unexpected of places.
all good things to each of you,