This post is by Jen Stanbro.
When I’m sitting in the quiet of the morning, anticipating the tasks of a new day, the first part of my plan is to listen. And I listen in order to plan everything else. God is not a part of my day, rather, I am a part of His. He made plans for this day long before I opened my eyes. I’m His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that I should walk in them (Eph. 2:10). So I lay down my goals, my plans, and my stresses, and I seek His face. I might play a song of worship. I might meditate on a verse. I might praise Him with thanksgiving or recount how He showed up and blessed yesterday…nudging my soul toward His good character and nature. And then I’ll simply be quiet, attending to His voice, should He choose to speak.
Priorities shift swiftly as His presence is given my full attention. His heart for the people in my day (including me) makes me see things differently. I take a look at my ‘To Do’ list and, honestly, things fall into place much differently. Some things fall away, other things join the list, everything feels less overwhelming, and I’m reminded that:
Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Psalm 127:1
Man, I love this verse. It seems to settle into the deep places of my heart - places where I feel so very inadequate, and it provides comfort. For so many reasons. On the one hand, it’s a sobering reminder that all my doing is of little value if I’ve left God and His power on the sidelines and I’m forging ahead in my own strength, leaning on my own understanding. On the other hand, this verse is a precious balm of a reminder that as I try to build whatever it is I’m trying to build in any given season, on any given day, He is the true, all-sufficient Builder. He must be in cooperation with my efforts and my efforts must align with His will. He’s got this, and I can trust Him to provide everything I need.
Are our days filled with much doing? For sure! Can our work be long, arduous, and require everything we have to give? Most definitely! Are we sometimes given more than we can handle? Um, yes, I think so. Because if all we ever encountered was what we could handle, how then would we feel our need of Him? How then would we get any practice tapping into His strength and power? When we exercise our physical bodies, we recognize the value of pushing ourselves toward and even beyond our capacities, adding more weight, running farther, faster, knowing that even when it feels like we’ve reached our limit, we can push further still. When life brings us more than we feel we can handle, God is able. Like being in a spiritual gym, we can find that our spirit’s endurance and perseverance, our capacities for love, for hope, for faith and strength are far beyond what we can imagine. When I am at my least fit, He is ever strong. As the old hymn says: “All the fitness He requires is to feel your need of Him.” How does this truth influence my morning planning time? It changes everything.
As we approach our morning planning time, let’s plan to listen, and let’s listen to plan. Let’s take a look at everything that’s on our ‘To Do’ list with His eternal version of productivity in mind. And let’s remember that while He can do much through our doing, He can do more still in our waiting and listening, in our submitting and trusting.
If you’re looking for some music to help orient your heart toward quietness, have a listen to Bethany Dillon’s, “To Those Who Wait,” or you may like this one God gave me a while back, called “God Speak.” Blessings for your morning Plan Time, friends!
Jen Stanbro is the singer/songwriter behind the Hello Mornings podcast theme song, “God Day.” She lives in North Carolina with her husband and crew of cuckoo kids. Her heart aches for the oppressed and marginalized, and she seeks to reignite God’s holy fire in the hearts of His people to love courageously like Jesus.
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