We’re heading into that crazy busy time of year known as the holiday season. And according to the store decorations, the holiday music on the radio, and multiple social media posts of friends putting up their trees before Thanksgiving, we’re already there!
For a lot of us, though, we’re just not ready for the holidays because it feels like we’re starting the season with our tanks on empty. This year, our levels of fatigue and frustration are already off the charts. So looking at calendars and to-do lists can be extra overwhelming as we gear up for the season ahead. From that perspective, every day holds another mountain to be climbed. And at the end of the day we drop into bed only to do it all over again the next day. Another day, another mountain.
Unfortunately, we are in danger of missing the awe and wonder—the joy—we’re meant to experience when we get wrapped up in worry over all the details, demands, and tasks that lie before us.
That’s exactly how I was feeling as I was finishing up a major book project on a deadline a few years ago. All I could see was the mountain of work ahead and the seeming impossibility of finishing it on time. But God stepped into the midst of my stress and anxiety. He had different plans, and an unexpected assignment for me. Every time I think about how God redirected my steps and shifted my focus that evening, I’m reminded that His plans are so much greater than mine.
I told the story in my latest devotional Find Joy: A Devotional Journey To Unshakable Wonder in an Uncertain World, and to encourage you as you face your own mountain today, I’d like to share it with you! (It’s just one of a total of sixty days!)
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An impossible mountain was looming that night, and it was all I could see. After two years of work, I had eight days to finish the most challenging research and book project I’d ever done. The deadline couldn’t be extended again. I was exhausted and discouraged. How on earth was I going to get this done on time?
Then I got a tearful call from my college-freshman daughter, Morgen, who had just started final exams. She had three finals in the next two days . . . and was suddenly feeling sick and miserable, like a bad cold was starting. The drugstore was closed. What was she to do?
I prayed for her and suggested she ask if anyone in her dorm had one of those cold remedies that reduce the severity of a cold if you start it quickly. As we hung up, I tried not to let the worry about her overwhelm me. I had a major chapter to finish.
But something wouldn’t let me start typing. Or, I should say, Someone. I started to feel this crazy sense that I should take a few hours and drive to Morgen’s dorm with some soup, ginger ale, and the medicine she needed.