Stick With Me

October 27, 2015

I gripped the steering wheel while my heart beat a little faster than usual. This doesn’t feel normal.

Ahead, my husband drove his truck. I followed him with a Uhaul trailer in tow, our sites set on Florida. We’d done this many times. Luke’s career landed us in Florida for seven years. We knew this road well, and we’d pulled trailers down it before. But this time, something didn’t feel right.

I phoned Luke to tell him. “Every time we take a turn or hit a bump I feel like I lose control of the car.”

It scared me. I slowed way down and prayed I could keep control of this heavy car and the load it dragged. In order to see for himself, we switched cars and Luke took control of the trailer. One bump later, he believed me and we looked for a place to pull over.

“It’s loaded wrong,” he groaned.

In our haste to get out of town, we threw our things in without a plan, leaving the light things in the back and the heaviest things in the front. That combination made the load hard to move. The only thing we could do was unload the entire Uhaul and start over.

A local post office set the stage for what turned out to make quite a stir in the little community. Though we didn’t actually sell anything, Luke threatened to give it all to the highest bidder and a few ladies did cross the street to see if we were, in fact, setting up a garage sale.

Someone from the post office also came out to tell us we couldn’t do a garage sale on the post office lawn. We assured everyone we would be on our way just as soon as we loaded everything back in – the right way this time.

I’ve found my life can feel the same way.

I have an assignment. A good assignment – or two. All given by God. But in my haste, I set my sights on where I’m going and forget how important it is to load my days the right way. I pack everything in without strategy. The day’s duties and demands, time with my family, time with God. They all get thrown into my soul without considering what goes in first.

And as I go through my day, the road feels shaky. The load seems to control me. My heart beats faster and fear fills my journey. I’m doing God’s will, but it just doesn’t feel right.

Last week, we made another move into a new rental home. All of our routines turned on their heads. We had a lot to figure out and six kids to figure it out with. I kicked in to autopilot and as my days grew longer, I covered the extra hours in caffeine, not prayer.

When I woke, I went straight to work, making my lists and checking them twice. And when the load became more than I thought I could bear, I tossed it to the curb and we all went to the zoo.

As I considered the anxiety and stress that now filled my already loaded down days, God reminded me of a time just a few months ago when I faced a similar situation. New place. New routine. A lot of unfamiliar. A lot of uncertainty, and yet I did not fret.

Why? Because of how I loaded my days. What we start with makes our way prosperous or petrifying.

No matter how much I had to do, I started each morning – before the sun rose – on my knees with my husband. We sought God together before the day began, laying down our burdens, surrendering to His way, and standing in His strength.

I made time in God’s Word a priority, not an afterthought. I took God seriously when He said, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

And that changed everything. No longer did the load demand my attention. No longer did the load lead me. No longer did I grip the day in fear of the next bump or turn. Instead, I settled into my God-given assignments with confidence.

This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do.” Joshua 1:8 (HCSB)

As Joshua took over command of God’s people, God gave him a big job. Cross a river and conquer a land full of unfriendly people and fortified cities. No small task for the new guy. But, after God issued His orders, He did not go straight into battle plans. In fact, God didn’t talk war strategy at all.

Instead, God told Joshua – stick with me. It’s as if God knew our human tendencies to focus on the plan, instead of the Planner. To look to the goal instead of the Giver of the goal.

The key to Joshua’s victory would be his surrender to God. And the same is true for us today.

Before we scroll through social media. Before we reach for our day planners. Before we pick up the concerns that tucked us into bed last night. Let us load God’s Word.

–Katy McCown