Is it Time for Some Schedule-cleaning?

(Today I’m at fellow Living by Grace hostess Maria Morgan’s blog talking about my editing services, my writing, and my Jesus. Join me. 🙂 )

Have you ever longed for one more hour in your day? One more day in your week? One more month before the holidays? 😉 If so, perhaps you’re taking on responsibilities and tasks God never assigned to you. Last week, Chana Keefer encouraged us to keep first things first. (You can read her post here.) But how do we do that? How do we filter out all the gunk that crowds our day in order to bring us back in the center of God’s will?

This summer and fall, our move and some health issues forced me to do some major schedule-cleaning. At times, this has been hard, but remembering God’s in control and that His love is incomprehensible, never failing, helps. And as I prayerfully evaluate my schedule, it’s raised an important question: How much of my day is centered in God’s will? What activities come from selfish motivations or fear?

There’s only one way to know for sure, and that’s to bring everything–the big, the small, the mundane, and the exciting–before God, asking for guidance.

“What sorrow awaits my rebellious children,” says the Lord. “You make plans that are contrary to mine. YOu make alliances not directed by My Spirit, thus piling up your sins” (Isaiah 31:1 NLT).

In Isaiah 31, God is specifically chastising the people of Israel for forming an alliance with Egypt instead of looking to God for aid.

We may not be facing a military battle or fearful of a raid, but how often do we allow our fears–of rejection, of failure, of poverty or illness–crowd out the voice of God?

And what’s the result? Sorrow. Packing our schedule full of things that are not assigned by God leaves us depleted, discouraged, and sorrowful.

God says, “Only in returning to Me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength” (Isaiah 30:15b NLT).

Only in returning to God–seeking Him out in each moment and courageously carving out those time-stealers that leave us ineffective. Confident that, if we follow whole-heartedly after God, He will work everything out.

I love this quote from Glynnis Whitwer from Proverbs 31 Ministries:

“The key to balance is seeking God’s will for me in this season, and not spending time on assignments meant for other people.”

(You can read her entire devotion titled One Cup Life here.)

Seeking God’s will in *every season,* whether you’re residing in the palace or the desert.

What about you? How many time-stealers have you allowed to creep into your day? How many of your obligations are based on a desire to please others? On fear of failure? Fear of the future, or fear of illness? Selfishness or pride? And is that time-stealer robbing you of experiencing God’s best?

Let’s talk about this.

Join us at Living by Grace today as we talk about making God and the things of God first in our lives.

And make sure to come back to Living By Grace Friday and Saturday for a continuation of our in-depth look at the book of James.

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7 thoughts on “Is it Time for Some Schedule-cleaning?

  1. Jennifer, this is something I struggle with, also. Saying no to anyone is difficult because most of the time whatever is being asked is worthwhile. I’ve learned to filter requests through the question: Is God asking me to do this? If so, it won’t take away from the other tasks He’s given me. Thanks for sharing. I always need the reminder.

    • That’s a great approach, Laura! And you are right–when requests are good things–even God-focused things–it can be confusing and difficult knowing what ones to embrace and what ones to allow others to tackle. But going directly to our Guide helps! As does remembering if He isn’t calling us to something, that probably means He has someone else in mind. 😉

  2. I read your devotion below and really sat on it for a while. I’ve shared with you my desires to go part time at the library, do some writing etc. I think I also shared with you that my car was stolen, driving a rental right now, my health has been very poor for over a year and….I was recently like this week recently, in the ER with another major headache. What’s this all about God? I can’t stand this! I cried, stomped, pouted, felt depressed and confused. Then I returned to your words below with encouragement from your heart to yourpen…..I am daily bringing all of my “stuff” before God for guidance. My plans have been so contrary to HIS and now it’s up to me to take that BIG leap of faith that needs to be taken. I have given my notice at work; I will now only be working part time, basically for my benefits and I will be pouring my time into my writing. I have so much to share. However, first on the agenda is to get saturated by the Word, get healthy physically, emotionally and spiritually and stop packing my schedule with things to do that are depleting me of energy for HIM. I love the last scripture what I have penned into my journal. “Only in returning to Me will you be saved. In QUIETNESS and CONFIDENCE is your strength.” I may be cyber shouting at you from time to time for encouragement. I know you know first hand what it’s like to take that leap of faith in your writing. I have continued to pray for your and your health Jen. Please pray for me as I walk this path. Blessings and a cyber hug, Beth

    • Oh, Beth, I know how tiring and exhausting it can be when our health is not the best. I pray God surrounds you, strengthens you, and heals you. Thank you for praying for me, as well. 🙂

      I am excited for you! And what a great place to start your new endeavor–at God’s feet. That last part of the verse really struck me, too. I would love to be a support for you as you begin your writing journey. Keep us posted on how it goes!

  3. I’m chiming in late in the conversation (yes, ironic, considering working 6 consecutive days this week at my day job kept me from commenting earlier), but just wanted to say that I really appreciate this segment. Not only is it well written, Jennifer, but also the part about seeking God’s will in whatever season we’re in truly resonated with me: this crazy job I’ve been working the past few years has shown me that during different seasons of life one can or cannot do it all. But, your reminder that seasons are what they are, that they change, is inspiring.

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