(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. ­čÖé )

Have you ever longed for one more hour in your day? One more day in your week? One more month before the holidays? ­čśë 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.