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One of the things I typically do before a vacation is frantically try to get as much done as possible, working late nights until basically throwing my weary self into a car before letting myself slip into vacation mode.  I run hard partly because I want to have as much done before I leave as possible, setting others up for success; but I run hard partly because I know the to-do list will be even bigger when I return.  The down side to this model is I sometimes push so hard part of my vacation is recovering from the cold I catch in wearing my body down.

But this week, something comical happened.  I had been toying with working on my day off to make sure everything got done before vacation.  And then, days before, my daughter got a fever.  For those of you familiar with childcare, you know a child has to be 24-hour fever free to return to care.  Not only did her fever not ease on my day off, the fever didn’t break until the next day – leaving me precious little time to accomplish my to-do list.

At that point, I just started chuckling.  God has a tremendous sense of humor – and a somewhat mischievous way of getting my attention.  After years of the repeated pattern, if I was unwilling to change my behavior, something stepped in my way (a fever, namely) to force me to break the pattern.  Suddenly, all that stuff that just had to get done would have to wait.  The abruptness was frustrating, and I still squeezed in a few things between videos and meals, but my usually hidden, under the surface high-stress levels just could not continue.  However, it is hard to be frustrated when the roadblock is a red-cheeked, clammy little one who just wants to cuddle and falls asleep at strange times.

I began to wonder yesterday how I might be more measured with my own health and the generosity of a God who loves our hard work for the kingdom, but also loves us unconditionally.  What are some of the patterns you find yourself falling into that disregard the reality that you are made in God’s image and are loved unconditionally?  How might you receive that grace more gracefully this week?  In what ways is God inviting you to shift that grimace to a smirk to a smile?  My hope for you this week is you allow God’s love to wash over you, breathe in God’s unconditional grace, and then share that love with someone else who is pushing so hard they forgot their belovedness too.