I am so organized. You don’t even know…My shirts are arranged in my closet by color; each of my upcoming conferences/trips has its own manilla folder complete with checklists and a pocket for receipts; I keep duplicates of all my toiletries and make up at home and work so I am never at either place without something; I catalog my favorite recipes on Pinterest and spend sleepless nights on call choosing what to make for dinner the next night. I obsessively cross things off my to-do list and I spent more than an hour last week setting up my new day planner for 2018…including copying the same Home Projects To-Do list neatly into the appropriate blank space in January…the one that I have had ongoing since…June. Anyway. Determined to not throw out, but re-use all leftovers (reduce-reuse-recyle…I missed my calling as an earthy hippy), I made a delightful Turkey Pot Pie complete with homemade buttermilk biscuits on top. I rewarmed the small amount of Perfect Mashed Potatoes we had remaining; I made the requisite dip in the middle of the potatoes and ladled in a few tablespoons of the tiny bit of gravy we had left. A perfect post-call dinner served.
“Mom, this isn’t gravy. It’s the caramel sauce from the Apple Bars you made.” Silence. Then laughter. Belly laughs. And Scott says, “This is gonna make it into the blog.” So yes, it does. The boys dutifully smeared the sweet sauce all over their potatoes and apparently Salted Caramel Mashed Potatoes are quite tasty, cause they cleaned their plates. For all of my detailed efforts, my lists, my plans and my determination, sometimes, I just can’t pull it off.
For the past two weeks, I have been studying the Fruit of the Spirit. And for many years, I saw this list of wonderful attributes as the Ultimate Spiritual To Do List. If I was organized enough, detailed enough, worked hard enough, I could achieve it. But, you guessed it, day after day, I found myself not self-controlled enough, not patient enough, not kind enough…not joyful enough. Frustrated and defeated, the only way to pass through the failure of my own efforts, was to simply give up. And that’s exactly the point! It’s not the Fruit of Me, it’s the Fruit of the Spirit. It’s the not Fruit of Hard Work, it’s the Fruit of Surrender. It’s the breath of the baby Jesus…the baby…who is coming to us. I am a grown woman, a wife, a mother…a professional. I am capable and strong. There are plenty of hashtags to remind me of that. The irony is that the strength that I need most comes from humbly surrendering to a cooing, crying, burping, baby.
The fruit of the Salted Caramel Potatoes was not that they tasted good (though apparently they did), but rather that we all sat around the dinner table and at the end of the meal, though not perfectly Normal Rockwell, was perfectly us. Laughter. Full bellies. Family. In this season, I pray that we will all be reminded of the fruit that can come from surrender…from liberation from organization…from the God who made himself a baby.
Disclaimer: My viewpoints are not necessarily reflective of my employer, or any local, regional or national organization that I belong to. As a matter of fact, I pretty much just speak for myself. Please keep that in mind.