The first commandment states not to have any other gods other than the Lord our God. Nowadays, we don’t worship graven images or man made statues of wood, stone, or precious metals. However, many modern day things can easily become idols in our lives if we are not careful….our families (especially our children), another person, our careers, hobbies, sports, entertainment, celebrities and sports figures, money, ease and comfort, Facebook, Pinterest, computer games, books, even ourselves. The list is as endless as there are people. Recently the Lord has brought to my attention something that I was putting before Him. Perhaps it will shock you as much as it did me.
It was my calendar. I know, right?! Who puts their calendar before Almighty God? It didn’t start out that way. Let me attempt to explain.
Years ago when I was a young married woman, and then a young mother raising my family of five children, I was…shall we say, somewhat disorganized? I was forever saying that I couldn’t keep up with all those people! Each and every family member (including my husband) also came with an assortment of dogs, cats, fish, and birds that I was expected to keep up with, too. Plus, every single one of them did too much stuff! They were involved in too many school events and sports activities. My husband worked too much (can we all say workaholic?), so the majority of the juggling fell on me. Li’l ol’ disorganized me. My Mama was fond of saying that she was glad my head was attached to my body, otherwise I would leave it somewhere! After I had my first son, she revised that statement to include being shocked and amazed whenever I would walk in the door not having lost my baby somewhere from point A to point B.
I was perpetually late for everything! My sisters got to where they would tell me something began an hour later than it did, just so that I would have a slim chance of being on time. I don’t remember it ever working, though. I was still late!
I had the best Mama in the world, so please don’t misunderstand what I am about to say, but I went into my marriage with virtually no experience on how to cook meals and keep house. I don’t think watching my Mama do it counted! She always said that it was just easier to go ahead and do everything herself rather than forcing me to learn how to do it. I must’ve been quite a moaner and complainer, is all I’ve got to say! I do distinctly remember having a very large lazy bone attached to my hip.
So, there I was…married, lazy, self-centered, and the babies kept on coming. What was a girl to do? I listened to other women share how they did it. I learned a few things from all those years of watching my Mama cook. I remembered how she hung clothes on the clothesline at night using a flashlight, because she had worked all day. Her lamp did not go out at night. A light bulb went off, and I began to study Proverbs 31. A couple of close friends (who must have felt really sorry for me) gave me a book on household organization (flylady). I processed all the information, I digested it, I assessed and assimilated the parts I felt would work for me. I then did the only thing I knew to do in order to survive the years of ensuing chaos. I started The Calendar!
The Calendar got better and more detailed as the years went by, more people were added to our family, and more stuff kept happening. The Calendar told me what to do and where to go next. Which child had a dentist or doctor appointment? I didn’t have a clue, but The Calendar did! Was it time to clean the oven? The fridge? The Calendar knew! When should I mail this bill or that letter? I didn’t have to remember, because it was on The Calendar. Was a birthday coming up? An anniversary? A women’s retreat, seminar, or ministry I wanted to be involved in? There was no limit to the amount of information that The Calendar held within its hallowed pages! I knew that I could not have survived all those years of raising my family without the guidance of The Calendar…especially when I went back to college, obtained my degree, and entered the work place with 4 children still at home and a husband who traveled. There was no way! The Calendar served its purpose and served it well. It helped to convert me into a detailed and organized person.
Fast forward to the present time where my children are all grown and on their own, and I now have grandchildren. I semi-retired a couple of years ago, and my days are my own to manage as I want. One would think, having served its purpose, that I would have retired The Calendar. I may have retired, but The Calendar did not! I found that I needed it more than ever since I had gotten older and my memory was not as good as it used to be. The Calendar still told me where to go and what to do next. It also recorded my weight and the daily menu. (Those two things were a recent addition).
The problem? Our ladies Bible study was studying Gideon, and we talked about modern-day idols. I honestly didn’t think I had any! Until…
I got my first clue a few weeks ago when I noticed a pattern in my behavior. I started becoming aware that I became extremely irritated and anxious whenever I was forced to rearrange my day and deviate from what I had previously written on The Calendar. This just didn’t happen one time. It happened every time I had to revise my schedule based on unforeseen circumstances. I didn’t become upset when I, with foresight, chose to do something differently with my day…rather it was when something outside of my control interfered with my schedule. Isn’t God Faithful to point out our secret (even to us) sins?
Was I becoming inflexible? Was I a control freak? Was The Calendar becoming ridiculous? Had it given me my OCD tendencies? Why worry that a successful tool, one that has served me well for many a year, had become an idol? Who doesn’t like to be in control of their schedule, am I right? I never felt that The Calendar controlled me, because (like a budget) I told it where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. (to paraphrase Dave Ramsey!) Only I had the right to erase something on The Calendar and redesign my day. I decided on where I spent my time and for how long! I was in control! Me! Not these unforeseen circumstances that kept interrupting me. After a few more of these “me” thoughts about 5 minutes into my tirade, I had another light bulb moment.
God asked me if I would give Him control over my day. Did He have the right to interrupt whatever previously scheduled program I had going on? Was He God over my life, or was He not? Was He ultimately in control over those unforeseen circumstances I had been hating so much? The answer, of course, was yes. Yes!
I confess that I wondered why He had to go and be so spontaneous! I have long liked to plan everything to death. I take security in it. Couldn’t He give me some notice? You know, so that I could change The Calendar? He is kind and knows me, so maybe sometimes I’d get a little notice….but not always.
Disobeying God is not an option. Nor is putting anything above Him! I just didn’t see that I was doing it.
So there you have it. I think I should re-title this story, “That time when The Calendar became the calendar.” Because yes, I can still use it as a tool. But, it is subject to change under the direction of Yahweh! And I have determined to be happy about it.