Occasionally, my husband travels for work. Consistently, I am a procrastinator. These two truths work conspire against me.
Here is the scenario: Away goes my husband. Down I sit to write up the "to do list" to end all to do lists. My goal? To have so.much.done when he gets home that he will be over the moon impressed with me, and that he will be thrilled and honoured and absolutely able to just rest and relax upon returning home.
The last time he went for three days, my list was as follows:
Tuesday day: clean house, sand window frames
Tuesday night: prime and paint window frames
Wednesday day: paint all 10 interior doors
Wednesday night: paint all baseboard and casings
Thursday day: do all laundry and prep 'Welcome Home meal"
Friday: take kids to dentist, final "tidy up" and cook meal.
Not even kidding.
As the three day "Be the Super Hero" endeavor begins, I instantly realize my plan is flawed because 1) I still need to homeschool my children in there somewhere 2) my children are coming down with a nasty cold and 3) I have some water in my basement that monopolizes all my laundry time what with ringing out and drying towels.
Yet, I begin. The windows get sanded, they get primed. They even get a coat of paint. Then I realize that they look worse than when I started because I'm a lousy painter. School is getting done. We are keeping up with life. But the laundry is piling up, there are no gourmet ingredients in my home, and I'm not sure I've showered yet.
Suddenly it is Thursday night. I am overwhelmed with my longing for the return of my man. He should just be home. We have a super marriage, and when he is gone I just really really miss his companionship. So I lay in bed, exhausted from a long week, missing him and desperate for his return. Only a few more hours.
And yet, at the same time, I find I am sort of wishing he would stay away for one more day. If only I had more time to get ready for his coming. I have so much left to do. My list of things to do to impress him is looming before me. It will never get done in time. He will come home and find me unprepared. Part of me wishes he just would not come back for another day or two so I could try again to be the person I mean to be, with a house done the way I want it. I just need more time. The knot in my stomach grows with the guilt of wasted time over the last 3 days and with the burden of unrealistic expectations that I've set for myself. And then the lies come in that somehow this will be the time that Chris shakes his head at the state of the house and thinks I'm a waste of a mother and wife. Instead of impressing him, I'm sure to disappoint him.
Friday morning, we trundle off to the dentist leaving the house in as good a state as possible with an early morning start. My list is still sitting on the table uncomplete and I breathe a sigh hoping I get home before Chris does so I can maybe get a bit more done. As it is I know that when he comes in the door, instead of taking his coat, pouring him a tea and asking how his week was, I will be apologizing and making excuses for what is left undone.
And then the surprise: at the dentist the door opens and I see only a hand and a cuff on the door knob and I know it is my man. There he is! Surprising us with his return. Instantly the fear and hesitation in my belly goes away. Instantly my heart swells at the presence of my husband. I know that whatever was left undone at home will not matter to him. I know he wants to be with us first and foremost. We are together again and that is all that matters.
Now the tears come. Even as I sit in the waiting room, finishing the paperwork. Ready to leave. The tears come as I get a glimpse of my waiting for Christ. How I long for His return. How I long to be with Him. And yet, if He could just tarry a little longer. I'm not quite ready for Him yet. There is much I want to do before He comes. How I want to impress Him. How I want to "do" for Him. But I procrastinate. I waste my time. I'll start tomorrow. Don't come back yet, Lord. I'm not quite ready.
I know that when He does call me home that I will be so overwhelmed by the joy of being in His presence that all of this striving to please will melt away. However, I am sure that there will be a greater joy if I start today to "rest in Him" rather than to "do for Him". Yes, He calls me to serve and obey, but not according to my list of impressive tasks. I want to be ready for Christ's return, both in Spirit and in action.
Lord I pray that I would be diligent to do the work you are giving me, that I would not wait for tomorrow or be so distracted that I never finish what I start. But I also pray that you would help me to rest in the greatest 'job' you've given me: the dwelling and resting in the Vine so I am always ready and eager for your return. I want to stand before you without shame and regret and excuses. Thank you for your longsuffering mercy. Thank you for the chance to start again.