One of the benefits of moving–it encourages one to purge all the clutter accumulated over the years. We’ve moved a fair number of times. Having packed and unpacked so often, you’d think we would have pared everything down to the bare essentials. Not quite. Somehow those non-essentials find a way to weasel into our homes and hearts, cluttering up everything and, well, making a mess. But moving helps. (Knowing movers charge by weight is a great clutter-reduction motivator!)
The same is often true of my schedule. It amazes me how easy it is to slip into business, to waste my time on those things that lack eternal value.
As many of you know, I’ve had to reevaluate my schedule this summer in order to free more time to spend with my daughter. This wasn’t easy. I’ve got a lot on my plate, and quite often, I’ll pull some pretty long hours. Initially, looking at all my supposed “must-dos,” I wondered how I’d ever make it all fit. I spent a few days in prayer asking God to show me. I wanted to know how I was going to get it all done while spending much needed time with my baby-girl.
In essence, He told me, “You aren’t.”
Something had to go. A few somethings, actually. Quite honestly, this was hard at first. This paring back always is. But the blessings always follow.
In the process, I’ve learned some valuable lessons. Many of the tasks I thought were so utterly crucial really weren’t, and with them sliced out of my schedule, God helped me to free my time for tremendous blessings, like:
Nail painting with my daughter
Spending time with Omaha’s working poor and homeless
Connecting with friends
That doesn’t mean I don’t still have a few “must-dos.” Bills must be paid, obligations and responsibilities must be met, but by viewing it all through eternity’s lens, I’m able to evaluate everything with much more clarity. My prayer is that, even after this season ends, I’ll carry this lesson with me, making it a practice to evaluate my schedule periodically, looking for that hidden clutter that’s weaseled it’s way in. Looking for ways to keep first things first.
As you begin your busy day, I encourage you to do the same.
1 John 2:15-17
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
I can relate to this, as probably many writers can. Saying no and not becoming over-obligated is a challenge. I blogged on this a while back, “Turning Stones to Bread.” If we’re not careful, we commit ourselves to worthy causes/projects, but they’re not what God has called us specifically to do. The quality of our lives and that of our ministry and family suffers when we do.
Jennifer, the Bible verses you had (1 John 2:15-17) were the same ones I read last night. These verses were woven into my novel.
That’s awesome, Dicky!
Thanks for the reminder of the amazing/priceless opportunities to invest in others…makes me thankful all over again for those who have invested in me during every season of my life…..blessings my friend!!!….sandyT
Thanks, Sandy! And thank you for all the ways and times you’ve invested in me. 🙂 Have a blessed week!
I just finished making out a daily schedule for the next few months while I work on my book. Thanks for the reminder that I don’t have to get everything done–that I must be flexible enough to always hear God’s voice first and do what He says to do each day. Blessings!
What a great idea, Edwina! Have you read “A Woman After God’s Heart” by Elizabeth George. It is a phenomenal book. It’s been out quite a while, but the truths presented in it are priceless. In it, she shares how each day she has a slip of paper with three (?) columns: God, children, husband. Then, she prays about ways to bless each one and writes that down. I thought that was a great idea to keep things in balance and maintain a servant’s heart.
Wow, great reminder this morning Jennifer. At a board meeting this past week my board asked me the question “who do you feel the need to minister too?” My answer was my own heart and my wife and children. They granted my a six month Sabbatical to work on my writing and my desires. Thanks for this blog. I hope it will help me let go of things as well.
That’s wonder, J. Michael. What a beautiful gift to give your family! And may God bless your time as you seek to draw closer to HIm and those He has entrusted to you.
Great words, Jennifer. Helps me to accept that sometimes when I’m wondering why-God-are-you-giving-me-all-this-to-do? it’s not because He is, but because the world is dishing this stuff out to me on a grungy plate!
Great point, Elaine! You are so right! Not everything that comes our way is from God.