When I was a child, I LOVED Wonder Woman. I mean, who didn’t? She was unstoppable. She was seemingly fearless. At the very least, you have to be impressed with a woman who can run in high-heeled boots. Do you ever try to be that person? I certainly do. I want to have it all. I want to do it all. But what have I been missing in trying to be all things to everyone? Have I missed the small things because I have been too focused on the big picture…or the picture that has yet to be painted?
A few weeks ago, I was working with a trainer at my gym. She is full of life and energy. She has this power over me. I will do whatever she tells me to do. I suppose that is what makes her a good trainer. At the end of my workout, she had me doing intervals on a rowing machine. I was to alternate 100 meters as fast as I could with 100 meters slowly. Even during my “slow time”, I was going faster than she wanted. What she said to me has had a profound impact on my life: “You are always looking for what’s next. Aren’t you?” You see, if I didn’t slow my pace during the rest period, I could get to my meters faster which, in the end, would get me to the end of my workout more quickly. “Slow Down. Take a Breath.”
That is me. I am almost always looking forward to what is next and rarely taking the time to enjoy the beauty of what is in front of me. In May of 2015, I went back to college to earn a bachelor’s degree in Christian Studies. I had a plan. I knew that I needed a total of 60 credits, 15 classes. I intended to complete that degree by May 2016 and then move onto seminary. Goals set! Plans made! Well, guess what? Their schedule did not align with my timeline. As it turns out, I can only take classes when they are offered. My 12-month plan will actually be an 18-month plan. Seminary will not begin right away in January when I complete this degree. As it turns out, I am not Wonder Woman. This girl is tired and needs a little break. “My ways are not your ways, Misty.”
I have held so tightly to my future accomplishments that, at times, I have failed to enjoy all of the head and heart knowledge and I am gaining through these classes and interactions with my fellow classmates. If I am being completely transparent, which I am, I have had moments on Sundays where I have missed truly being in worship because I was so wrapped up in the production of the service. When does the podium need to move? Did I play the right chord? Will they notice that I sang the wrong words? Did we sound check the microphone for announcements? “Misty! Be still! Know that I am God!”
This week, our staff lost a sweet little furry friend, Scrat. He was an albino squirrel which has graced us with his presence for the past several years. And by grace us with his presence, I mean scared the living daylights out of us when he would randomly jump on our window sills. He was a welcome distraction in the middle of our busy ministry-planning days. He was mesmerizing. I don’t think that any of us knew how much we enjoyed him until his little life ended. Isn’t that funny? This little squirrel brought us so much joy. But we didn’t even realize how much he impacted us until he was no more. “Everything I AM and everything I have created is good and is for your pleasure. Take notice.”
In all of this, I can say, those words spoken to me by my trainer have helped me to gain a new perspective on this life I’ve been given and caused me to refocus. I, of course, we will still get wrapped up in deadlines and future plans. But I am making a conscious effort to be present, right here, right now. I take the time to have conversations with my husband and children, to give them my focused and undivided attention. It has become important to me to notice the beauty in nature. My eyes have been opened to the truths being taught to me in the classes I’m taking and the sermons I’m hearing. I am inevitably going to mess up words or chords. But, guess what? God does not care! His good purposes will be accomplished despite those things. His plans are not dependent on mine. He will work through me regardless of my date of degree completion. "My plans are not your plans.”
Where do you need to slow down? What has God placed in front of you that He desires for you to notice? Is it something as simple as taking time to enjoy the glorious colors of fall? Slow down. Take a breath. Enjoy this life which God has given to you. Even Wonder Woman needed to refuel.