Last week I invited a group of women into my home for a 3 week study of Advent, the coming of Christ. We all know it's easy to get overwhelmed, over-run and over committed this time of year! So I wanted to intentionally carve out 2 hours each week until Christmas to just be still, and focus on Jesus. Having women join me helps hold me accountable to doing this!
I dropped the children off at school and raced home to do the dishes in the sink, so it would be tidy when my guests arrived. As I drove home the little fairy chime on my phone kept dinging, "I'm excited to see you this morning," one text read. And then another, and then another. I thought only one friend was going to be able to make it this first week, but the fairy chimes were telling me otherwise. I started to panic.
"I don't have fresh flowers."
"I didn't make any food."
"The elves left powdered doughnuts for the kids this morning, I think there is some left over. I also made cookies last night and I think there are some left over."
"I wish I would have made banana bread."
And the failing thoughts kept coming.
As I pulled into the garage, the clock was ticking and I ran into the house and started frantically throwing the kid's mess into closets. I threw the dirty dishes into the dishwasher, and arranged a plate of left over treats on a plate.
"I need to sit down and just pray over the morning," I kept thinking, but the swirling mess around me and lack of preparation took over.
My blessing and my curse is that I often have a clear vision of what an experience is to look like in order to achieve the maximum results!
I know that walking into a home with a fire burning, candles, clean sink and de-cluttered counters as well as the smell of warm banana bread coming out of the oven will make women smile, exhale and feel at home. I swear the Holy Spirit will move if there is banana bread in the house!
The pit in my stomach was growing,
"Why didn't I make banana bread?"
The nag to just pray over the time before everyone arrived kept pressing into my gut,
almost making me sick.
"I just need to prepare the room, then I'll pray."
Then it hit me, the old Christmas carol, "Joy to the World," which sings:
"Let every heart prepare Him room."
Yes Lord! That's what I'm doing, I'm preparing you room! I know you'll show up if the mood is right, the house is clean and there are treats on the table.
I cannot prepare Him room,
He must prepare ME, so there is room!
I cannot create a perfect environment to usher in the Holy Spirit, it's ridiculous!
And I can't really prepare my heart so there is room for Him, because the very things that clutter my heart and mind are the very things that Jesus came to get rid of because I couldn't do it on my own!
I cannot prepare my heart, but instead, I must be still so that HE can prepare my heart by de-cluttering, cleaning, forgiving, lighting His light within me and allowing a lovely aroma surround me.
The irony of the morning!
I invite women over so that we can be still together and focus on Jesus, all the while, I'm focusing on preparing the room, missing the fact that only Jesus can prepare our hearts to receive Him.
Joy to the World!
We met again this week and you can bet your buns that I had fresh banana bread!
Just as a delicious reminder that it isn't the banana bread and preparations that will make room for Jesus this season, it's being still and allowing Him to prepare us!