“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
My last day teaching online fitness classes fell the last Friday in June. Come Monday I would be back in person teaching in the gym. Don’t tell anyone, but I sort of liked the online teaching from my home. Oh, I missed the people, and the spirit which moved through the class, but it’s pretty nice going from your living room to the shower after a good workout. Which means not packing a bag of locker room essentials like a curling iron, hair dryer, makeup, clothing, towel, etc. Of course, there is also the extra time spent making the long drive back and forth to the gym. I think you get the picture.
On that Friday I was up extra early and had already prepared the workout plan. By 6 AM I decided to clean the outside windows of our home. The wheat harvest left the windows coated with residue, dusty, and unacceptable. The day before I had purchased an extension pole which had a squeegee and sponge attached. So, this was not a spur of the moment cleaning, but technically I had not planned to clean the windows before the class. Once again, with no thirty-minute drive, or equipment setup, there was extra time to accomplish the task.
Most people recommend not cleaning outside windows in the direct sunlight, so the windows facing the west were ready for some good old-fashioned elbow grease. Once again, for me, not following wise council provides a wonderful opportunity to learn!
The mixture of vinegar, hot water, and a few drops of Dawn dish detergent worked perfectly on the dirty windows. I was amazed at the difference! Things were moving right along, and I had finished cleaning the shaded windows by 7 AM. With almost an hour to spare, the windows on the east side of the house were calling my name. The sun was shining brightly on my Old Kentucky Home, and you could almost hear Happy Chandler laughing at the lady with the squeegee. The temperature was already in the mid-eighties, and the humidity, high and stifling. While I knew deep inside to wait till the windows were in the shade, did I? Nope, I went ahead with my own plans.
Many of us face these crossroads in our daily walk. Do we stop and reconsider, or do we stay the course even though we know God is calling us in another direction? Whether we feel obligated to friends, or family, we really need to ask, “God, you always know what’s best for me, what should I do?”
The change was dramatic. As soon as I turned the corner of the house the temperature soared, and the sunlight blinded me! Even with sunglasses, I literally was blinded by the light reflecting off the windows. Stubborn about finishing the task, I was dripping in sweat and miserable too. It was a pre-workout workout, but the windows were beautifully clean. Believe it or not, I even noticed the farm utility vehicle window needed cleaning and dashed over to put a shine on it too. I am not sure if it was the blinding light, the high humidity, or the sweat running into my eyes, but after squatting to clean the window, I raised up enthusiastically and bonked my head on something, and it knocked me backwards onto the ground.
Not only did I see stars, my head pounded with a bad headache which matched the big bump on my noggin. Now, I was hurt, short on time, and still needed to take a shower before teaching. Honestly, I began to wonder if I could make it through my own 60-minute boot camp! But I knew my students were waiting at home anticipating a great class.
So many times, we do things on our own, “I got this God.” As I started the class with prayer, asking God for strength and energy to teach, He reminded me to only do what He asks me to do, nothing more, nothing less.
Jeremiah 29:11 is a powerful message from God offering hope and security. Yes, he has great plans for us but only when we are working within his will for our lives. For instance, when we work outside of the body of believers, try to takeover, act judgmentally, or be boss hog, we are destined for a few hard knocks.
Obeying God and walking in His ways is like cleaning the windows in the shade. There is a beautiful clear view to the future looking through the window in the shadow of the Lord. In contrast, expecting God’s blessings without his direction is like staring into the windows in bright sunlight. I see a hard knock life in your future. But it is your choice.
Don’t give God your leftovers, give him your best. Whatever he asks you to do, do it with excellence. The Bible tells us that God loved to walk in the garden with Adam in the cool of the evening. He wants that with you too. Lamentations 3:40 is calling to all of us, “Let us examine and probe our ways, and let us return to the Lord.”