Lately, whenever I think about Mondays, the song “Manic Monday” by The Bangles immediately pops into my head. In my musical repertoire, it falls under “Songs I’ve Always Seemed to Know, But Can’t Remember Why,” which is probably why I only know four words from the entire song: “Just another Manic Monday.”
My Mondays have felt pretty manic this last month. I’ll wake up and feel the weight of the week ahead, not knowing how or when I’m going to get anything done. Part of that comes from having two jobs; one with a major launch deadline coming up, and the other that seems left in the dust of the first, which adds a layer of guilt despite the fact that I’m keeping up with my tasks. I feel like I’m constantly running around, which actually doesn’t look so much like running most of the time as it does sitting in front of my computer, frantically formatting and tweaking and editing and copying and pasting. And by the end of the day, I feel a little bit like this:
And this Monday — August 24 — was no exception. It definitely qualified as “manic” according to my standards.
I immediately felt the weight of the week when I jumped out of bed at 7:25 a.m., almost an hour and a half after my alarm was supposed to go off. I’ve been doing this thing where I place my phone across the room so that when the alarm goes off at 6 a.m., I have to actually get out of bed to turn it off. This totally works, by the way, unless you forget to turn the ringer volume up on your phone. Which I failed to do Sunday night, resulting in a much later start to my day than I planned on Monday morning.
Now, if you’re like me and have issues with control and idolizing routine, you probably understand my immediate confusion and frustration. When I got out of bed and realized the time, I actually stood there thinking, What am I supposed to do now? I had a plan and the plan was set and now it’s foiled. I legitimately went back and forth in my head multiple times about whether or not I should make smoothies. Which we make every morning. With the same ingredients. It takes maybe five minutes, but hold the phone because God forbid I make them ten minutes later than I usually do.
Of course, Nate was unfazed by this conspicuous blunder, and went happily about his morning. I was genuinely thrown off, and also genuinely ticked-off. Which must have been quite obvious as I sat on the couch and stared into space, sipping my smoothie, responding curtly to Nate’s chipper morning comments.
He paused for a moment and asked, “What’s wrong?” I responded with a shrug. But he knew.
Pause: If you’ve never watched the show Parks & Recreation, go watch every episode right now and then come back and finish reading this post. Kidding (kind of). Just watch this clip and you’ll have a little context for what happens next. Nate and I watched this episode Sunday night. (Warning: brief mention of bodily emissions & if you can’t see the video, click here):
“Okay,” Nate said, as I continued to stare angrily into space, “I’m going to be your Spin Team.”
He put on his best Chris Traeger impression and said, “We got more sleep, which we needed, and today lit’rally has unlimited possibilities.”
When your husband makes a Parks & Rec reference — especially one that fits so perfectly into your day — you can’t help but smile.
This small moment passed before I even knew what had happened. It wasn’t until later that afternoon, while I was driving home, that I realized how much Nate’s words helped me, even if it had just been an attempt to make me laugh. I was able to move into the day, tackle one task at a time and leave the things unfinished for tomorrow.
Jesus showed up in that moment and used Nate as a little flash of light in the fog. My heart opened to receive the freedom that God’s grace brings; freedom from deadlines, from packed schedules, from my fear of disappointment. And when He reaches me in these small moments, these flashes of His grace, I am being strengthened and prepared to give into His hands what each day ahead will bring.
We don’t have to see the whole picture at once and we don’t have to forsake our small-moment lives. We don’t have to let the pace of a fast-moving world dictate how we plan our day or our life. Instead, we can bring these flashes together in the presence of Jesus just one at a time. We can chase the flash, gather the light, and take the next step that makes sense. -Emily P. Freeman
Truthfully, the rest of my Monday was still a little manic. I didn’t make it to the gym or do the laundry or run all the errands I needed to, but today is a new day. In fact, it’s Tuesday, which I have grown to look forward to (thanks to this little hashtag & this wonderful book). My steps may be small, but I can move into today, and any day of the week, with confidence because God leads each foot to move in front of the other. And not only does He lead me, but He is also with me every step of the way.
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin. Zechariah 4:10