It’s 9:30 a.m. I’m still in my pajamas. I allow the indulgence telling myself I’m just enjoying the new PJ’s I got for Christmas. Telling myself I have extra time since I didn’t work out this morning. Telling myself that twenty-seven years of child rearing allows me to stay in bed as long as I want.

I recall the winters I walked our kids to school. The baby, thermal-sack bundled under the plasticized stroller cover. Toddler standing on back stroller rod before the invention of toddler stroller stands. Five-year old holding on, finishing peanut butter toast. And me with my nightclothes stuffed into boots and a long winter coat covering the rest. Four times a day I repeated this scenario.

I planned ways to schedule everything that needed doing into a twenty-four hour period. If I was diligent and disciplined I could reach my goals for a week, a month, sometimes an entire quarter before the system broke down. I studied and executed countless plans, children’s chore charts, family devotion nights, fast-but-healthy meal plans, couple’s date nights, a weekly day off. Anything and everything to bring our family world of chaos into some semblance of order while ensuring all the really important pieces were in place.

But what is truly important? How do you plan for chronic illness? Constant interruptions? The needs of our city streets bleeding into our home? Church fallouts? Violence? Children’s therapy?

All my planning and good intentions could not bring about what I deeply desired: a sense that all would be well with my world, that our children would thrive, that they would love God and the church in spite of being pastor’s kids, that our church would impact our community, that the energy and time I put into ministry was worth the effort.

Thank God, my plans often fail! Even though these are all worthwhile desires, behind my planning and hard work is a subversive lie; that I can get a handle on my world and control it, that I can be the god of my little universe. The opposite approach–letting whatever happen–is just the other side of the coin. By not making plans to bring beauty, order and justice to my world, I negate that I have any responsibility. It’s the lie of cynicism and despair.

In the back of my mind I’m already chiding myself for sleeping in today. Then gently I remember, because I am in Christ and united to him, that I already have the smile of the Father. Writing that sentence with my laptop propped up on pillows, I find myself smiling. I’m enveloped in God’s love. Without shame I can snuggle down longer or I can get up. Regardless of what I do, I will not lose the smile of God. Because I’m united to Christ, I not only receive the smile of God, but everything that belongs to Christ also belongs to me! The bed no longer calls. The same power that raised Christ from the dead is also available to me and to all of us who are united to Christ. And oh, there is so much more…

PJ or power-suit clad—smile with me today!

Shari