Magic Tricks, The Family Calendar and Radical Obedience

He made rabbits appear out of nowhere.  He seemed to read minds.  He pulled colorful bouncy balls out from behind children’s ears.

The magician at our local library amazed my kids, particularly my middle daughter who checked out four books on magic that day and altered her future career plans.

“I want to be a magician who tells jokes,” she declared.

Today, I am feeling a little like a magician without the recognition and the jokes.  No fabulously mysterious cape, no collapsible magic wand hiding a bouquet of flowers, no long flowing sleeves to stash cards and colorful scarves, and no top hat from which bunnies appear.  My Mom-attire is much less impressive.

And yet, every year at about this time, I perform a seemingly magical feat that defies all explanation, a trick that doesn’t necessarily astonish audiences, but probably should.

I set the family calendar for the new school year.8496988_s

Astonished? Amazed? Flabbergasted? Speechless?

Maybe you should be.

Even those of you without kids or with grown children can easily find your calendar as overstuffed as ours.

Of course, there are things outside of my control, like the school schedule and when ballet classes are offered.  So, I wait for official announcements and postings, hoping God performs the necessary miracle to make it all fit just right.

Then I sit down and scan the mess.

There are non-negotiable activities that instantly earn a place on the weekly agenda.

There are the things I believe God has asked me to do this year, which I choose to obey.

There are the “Oh please, mommy . . . .” activities like gymnastics, soccer, swimming lessons, 4H, Girl Scouts, fencing (yes, fencing), art and sewing classes.  This we carefully narrow down.

Then there are the 50 other possibilities that are wonderful and good: The Bible studies, prayer meetings, committees, volunteering, and classes.

When we think we’ve made it all fit, unexpected birthday parties and get-togethers, after school activities, and events squeeze into the corners of Saturdays and evenings.

Of course, it’s all good.  And maybe, just maybe, if I don’t let my kids take swim lessons every time they are offered my daughter won’t make it to the 2024 Olympics.  That would obviously be the world’s loss.

But today, as I was reading in 1 Corinthians, I was reminded of the one thing that sometimes gets nudged out of our lives by the incessant activity we magically jam, cram, and squeeze into our calendars until they burst.

Paul wrote:

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 ESV).

Even if we invest our time in everything good and noble, we might be mis-managing our calendars.

Ultimately, speaking God’s language, knowing God’s Word, giving away to the poor, and sacrificing our very lives are all worthy, but even they are utterly meaningless if we don’t do them in love.

So then, what about committee meetings and weekly groups and gymnastics lessons?

Yes, meaningless without love.

Thus, I’ve been praying this year about leaving room for God’s love in our family calendar.

We’ll do what is necessary, what God has asked us to do, and we’ll love our children by allowing them to (within reason) develop gifts and talents God has given them.

And then I’ll refuse to feel guilty for declining to do every other good thing that comes my way.

Sometimes radical obedience is missions trips, quitting jobs, massive moves, full-time callings, speaking up, reaching out.

Sometimes what’s radical is obeying the smallest promptings of His Word, and this is how I determine to obey God, asking for His direction and choosing not to commit or promise or enroll until He confirms His will for our year.

May my agenda be His agenda.  My plan, his plan.  My schedule, His schedule.

I’m instantly challenged—an activity I planned on for the fall may not happen.  I think of ten things I could do to replace that on my schedule.

I pray instead.

And I hear this prompting, “Embrace rest.”

That’s a radical call for a doer like me and it takes radical obedience to let it go and enjoy the breathing room over the suffocating schedule.

After all, in the end, Paul tells us that “the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13) and love doesn’t require magic, but it does require time.
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Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

4 thoughts on “Magic Tricks, The Family Calendar and Radical Obedience

    • Heather C. King says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing that Jennifer! I love that God does give us this direction as we seek Him. He amazes me as He cares about the small and daily details of our lives!

  1. amandacl says:

    I definately agree to radical obedience taking on the form of simply following the Word to the letter. May your activities and time of rest, be a joy to the family.

    • Heather C. King says:

      Thanks so much! I find myself jumping so often on what I think makes sense or what seems right, but I definitely want to seek God for His direction even in the ‘small’ and ‘daily’ things!!

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