Have you noticed the really good things in life take time?
- A really good meal: time.
- A great friendship: time.
- A really good marriage: time.
- A healthy, strong family: time.
- A solid, intimate relationship with Christ: time.
And what do we seem to ‘feel’ like we have less and less of?
Ah, the American disease. Busy-ness.
How did we get here? We (me) don’t even feel we have time to sit and just talk anymore. I could list all kinds of statistics on stress related diseases and the myriad of medications to combat it. God must have known our propensity to feel we need to keep up with the Jones’, to have something to do to feel important, to feel accomplished and progressive, like we’re giving our children all we can, to keep everyone happy, to avoid quiet thoughts that haunt us and on and on and on.
We’re a hot mess, aren’t we?
It is no small thing that God instituted a day of rest. He knows us better than we know ourselves and He knew He’d have to help us with the resting part of life. It causes us to focus on Him, regain perspective, rest, breath, regroup and remember it’s all about Him. That precious day of rest is slowly slipping away from our lifestyles.
So what do we do???
Well first I think we need to learn the art of saying no to the unnecessary and yes to the vital. (Tim Hawkins has a great video on saying no. You should check it out.) What’s unnecessary vs. vital you ask? That’s the tricky part but I think God has helped us answer that too.
Vital: What He has called you to.
Unnecessary: Anything, good or bad, that draws you away from the above things.
It’s a little gray and it seems like an over-simplified answer, I know. But it’s true and we tend to make it more complicated than it needs to be. The hook is that it takes time and thought to realize what you have been called by God to do. Ask Him to help clarify.
If you are a child of His, loving and knowing Him is first. Always. Mark 12:30.
If you’re married, He’s called you to love your spouse well, sacrificially. Ephesians 5:25-28.
If you have kids, He’s called you to teach them when you sit, walk, lay, rise – all the time. Deuteronomy 6:7.
If, through salvation, you belong to a body of believers, you are called to be an active, serving part of that body using the gifts He’s given you. I Corinthians 12:14-27.
If you live in a community, and we all do, He’s called you to show them the love of Christ like a light, a city on a hill, salt. Matthew 5:13-16.
At first glance, that’s a daunting list but God has promised He will be the strength you need to accomplish what He has called you to do. These things take time. Good quality time. If we don’t think we can fit this stuff into our schedules, then we need to re-evaluate what takes our time. I am talking to myself here.
It’s so hard. I know. I have mental arguments with myself over ‘do my kids really need to be a part of this or that? Will they suffer playing time or opportunities if they aren’t a part? What about family time? Do I need to volunteer for this?’ Blah, blah, blah.
I have finally (yeah I’m a little slow) gotten better at first asking God’s permission, then waiting for direction and clarity. Not just for kid’s activities – which is at an all-time high right now – but for ministry opportunities, vacations, entertaining in our home, part-time jobs, etc. Often these things seem really good and are! But because time is precious and obedience to God is crucial, I must stop and talk to Him and to Tim (my husband) and think through it all carefully.
So here’s a plan of attack:
- Seek to have an active, thriving, daily relationship with God.
- Observe a day of rest.
- Talk to God about all activities and opportunities before making any decisions.
- Wait and listen. Consider all the effects of the activity. Pros vs cons – what will suffer? What will be gained?
- Keep a Godly perspective and proper priorities through it all.
- Follow God’s lead.
In my humble opinion, #1 and #2 really take care of a lot of things right at the start. It’s that important.
In our fast-paced culture, we make fast-paced decisions and end up with fast-paced and often overwhelming lives. Maybe, just maybe, the answer to not being so busy and overwhelmed is simply doing what God says. Rest in Him. Rest when He tells you to. Seek Him and His direction first and foremost. Obey Him. Don’t be afraid to say no when He does.
It feels like a tall order, but the potential damage or healing is worth the effort. Amen? Amen.