There’s an animated prehistoric squirrel with which you may be familiar. He finds an acorn (the Holy Grail of squirrels, prehistoric and otherwise). From there it becomes an epic undertaking for the squirrel to get his hands (or teeth) on the acorn. Every time he does, something happens. The acorn gets catapulted to a dangerous height or plunged to a dangerous depth. The squirrel exerts every ounce of furry determination in his power to reach his goal, only to have it snatched away when he thought he had finally triumphed.
Ever had a day like that? Or a week? Or a year?
We all have goals. Some little, daily goals…others bigger life goals. Sometimes they seem just within our reach when something catastrophic happens: a car accident, a house fire, cancer. Our life goals often get pushed farther and farther away by inescapable events.
For me, though, it’s harder to deal with those little daily goals and the ump-teen daily setbacks. Most of us view our life goals as dreams. Things we wish for when we are conversing with friends about winning the lottery. Things we fantasize about when we are standing in line at the grocery store or at the DMV.
Our daily goals are the post-it notes on the computer or the to-do list on the fridge that need doing; yet somehow it feels like the entire universe is conspiring against us completing them, at least on our time table. That thing that should have been easy to fit in before work gets way-laid by oversleeping, discovering a grease-stain on the top you wanted to wear, and demanding pets or children or spouses. The thing that absolutely needed doing during your lunch break gets set aside by the four phone calls, one after another, that all came in unexpectedly. Your frustration builds and in your haste to accomplish one or more things even if it kills you, you end up making a giant mess, creating more chaos and sabotaging your to-do list for that day, the next day, and likely the entire weekend.
I have days like that on a regular basis. Days when I go out into the garage to let out a tension-breaking scream and go back inside to a couple sets of canine eyes full of concern, worrying that they did something wrong (or worrying that “she’s finally lost it”). Oftentimes it just takes a few moments of peace and a few glimpses of something beautiful to reclaim my sanity. The irony being that I’m the one who deprived myself of that peace and beauty in the first place.
Why do I skip the most important part of my morning assuming that it is the easiest thing to do without? The older I have become the more I see the need for my time in the Word, my time with God. The more I see its direct impact on my day. Yet I still sabotage myself by ignoring it in lieu of getting things done. And I suffer the consequences. I need the Lord the way some people need their morning coffee. If I don’t have my morning meeting with Him, I spend the rest of the day grouchy, frustrated, and impatient. When I spend that time with Him, regardless of the circumstances of the rest of the day, I have a reservoir of peace and beauty from which to draw. My natural pessimistic attitude can be overcome by positive thought choices. I have more energy, can think more clearly, and get more done. But most of all, I am a much more pleasant person. This manic squirrel needs to stop thinking of my goals as the acorn, and realize that my God is my never-ending supply.
I hope that lesson sinks into my head so deeply that it can never come out. I need Him. Daily.