We are on the threshold of a big Christmas Trip. It is the first time we have attempted anything like this since we’ve been parents. This summer, we rented a van and drove to Virginia, but that’s not at all the same as planning a trip with a plane. For one thing, there are all the new restrictions. For another, there are the many things that must be carefully evaluated for packing. We were going to ship our clothes ahead of time, along with some of the other “stuff” we need, but that doesn’t make the task less daunting (and I didn’t get it done in time, after calculating just how much it might have cost). If anything, it makes the task larger than I had envisioned. My natural tendencies toward procrastination have been backfiring—I am having nightmares about driving to the airport with no underwear.

Hey, are you laughing?

Yeah, I guess it is kind of ridiculous. And as I’ve thought about it more, I can’t help but see how I do this kind of thing all the time with God. I tell myself I’m going to be better about something—maybe it’s my prayers or maybe it’s in how I treat someone who I have difficulty with—and then, before I know it, I’ve turned it into an impossible task. I can break it down into a thousand lists, with categories and goal accomplishment dates, but it won’t do me any good.

You see, things like that require God’s grace. Even as I promise him I’ll be better, I have to let go. I have to let him do his work on me (and there’s a lot to do!). I have to trust that what he does to me will, in fact, improve me.

Do you ever find yourself resisting that kind of change? Nah, I’ll say, as I see some little tiny change starting to take place, that’s no big deal. Maybe I’ll let it happen, or maybe I’ll stomp it out. If I let it happen, if I let God do his work, then often I will find that as I look back—sometimes years later—things have gotten better. Sometimes the situation doesn’t change. Sometimes what changes is ME. And, sad to say, sometimes that is what NEEDED to change.

One of the great fallacies I battle is thinking the world’s problems are outside myself, that if OTHERS change, things will get better. Amazing things happen, though, when I submit myself to change, when I let God do his work on me, when I trust him with the steering wheel AND the navigation.

During this Advent time of waiting, of hope, of expectation, my prayer for you is that you trust God with your life. Maybe it will be some tiny part of your life, maybe it will be something large. My prayer is that you let go and let God, and that you find, as you stand at the manger on Christmas Day, that what he gave you back was far more than you gave to him.