The River of Life

From my 2009 Journal

When people and things disrupt my workflow, how can I tell if an interruption is a distraction or a God-event? Is it like a child’s bumper lane in a bowling alley, meant to keep me out of the gutter? Or is it a snare, a stick-pile in the river?

The rapids are the events over which I have no control, and I’m glad I have an experienced Guide with me Who knows where the hazards are. He expects me to use my paddle as I’m able and engage in the fight to stay upright, but He’s strong enough to keep me on an even keel.

Sometimes, when I’m about to be dumped into the river, I just hang onto the sides for dear life. But I’m not going to drown (unless it’s my time to go Home). When He comes to rescue me, I must relax and not struggle against Him. He has the lifeline in His hands. Thankfully, not all of life is rapids. Sometimes it’s okay to drift and to rest.

So, whether I encounter shallows, a stick-pile, or the rapids, I don’t have to figure out its source. I just need to navigate what comes with patience, faith, and grace.

To-Do List

Journal 2011. People talk about compartmentalizing their thought lives, and I’ve never fully grasped how they can do that. But one day when my to-do list was longer than my available hours, and my mind was too absorbed on one task to complete any others, I asked the Lord for a metaphor.

I mentally placed each of my tasks into a different room. One room is not more important than another, but I can’t be in two rooms at the same time. My brain is not wired to multi-task, so when I’m in one room, that’s all I focus on. People/relationships can walk in and out of each room I’m in, and I can stop and interact with them.

The first challenge for me right now is being in one room physically while I’m in another room mentally. I find I want to hurry up with the tasks in this room so I can get back to the Study or the Library or the Rec Room. The other challenge is deciding which room I need or want to be in and when. (Sadly, I tend to avoid going into the exercise room.)

And God? Thankfully He’s in every room of course. However, I desperately need concentrated, uninterrupted time in the Prayer Room.

Lord, help me to be mentally present with each person who enters my heart-house today. And will You be my Guide for what room(s) to work in and when?

January 2022 Update. This year started out with a large number of compounding stressors, and the jumbled stacks of papers in my office reflected the disorganization in my brain. Though disorienting, I didn’t cave or panic. I kept breathing and focusing on the next trouble-shooting task at hand until I could come to my scheduled Karen Day and hit the reset button.

The more we process our past, the healthier we get emotionally, and the more we can handle in the future.