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When I was younger I complained a lot about having to wait. I felt like it took forever for my birthday, Christmas or summer break to come around. My mom would always say ‘the older you get the faster times goes by’. I thought she was crazy. I had no idea what she was talking about. A day was always 24 hours, a week 7 days and a year 365 days (with the exception of leap year). I didn’t understand how it could go by faster as I got older.
Now that I’m older I understand what she meant. It doesn’t really go by faster, it just seems like it does. We become so consumed with things to do there just isn’t enough time in the day to get it all done. We don’t notice time going by because we’re busy. When we don’t get our to-do list complete for the day or week we simply make the excuse that time flew by or we lost track of it.
We can’t lose track of time. It’s always there, ticking away. When I fail to get everything done it’s usually because I became distracted, something took longer than anticipated or I got lazy and put it off.
Then I started to wonder, what’s so distracting that it causes me to fail at completing a simple to-do list? For one, I have too many things I’m trying to get done at once. I’ll be sitting working on something and then I jump up because I remember the laundry needs to be put in the dryer or the clothes folded before they become wrinkled. Then while doing that I remember a bill needs to get paid and put in the mail, so I stop, mid activity, to take care of that issue. When done with that I forget about the other two things I was in the process of doing and start a new activity. Later I might go into the kitchen to get something to eat and realize I needed to load the dishwasher or clean the counters and completely forget I was going to eat. Sometimes I feel like I’m walking in circles around my house all day and accomplishing nothing.
Another thing is I have too many resources at the tip of my fingers. Yes, I know, it’s a good thing to be able to check my email, the weather or social media so easily. It’s convenient. It’s also distracting. When a thought pops in my head like ‘what’s the weather going to be like this weekend’ or ‘I wonder what kind of camp sites are available’ I think it will only take a minute to check. Then I won’t have to wonder any more. That’s a good thing right? No, because it ALWAYS takes longer than a minute. Before I know it it’s been 30 minutes or even an hour and several websites later.
So how do I take control of the minutes in my day? I recently took the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace Course. The class is about not letting our money control us and how to control our money. One of the ways we control our money is by creating a budget to help us know and understand where our money goes. Then I realized I needed to budget my time better.
Each day I wake up with what seems like a million and two things to do. I go into my day feeling defeated by what I need to get done. I do pray each morning. I pray for God to be in the details of my day so that I may accomplish His will for me that day. But then as I go about my day, I try and do it in my own strength and power. No wonder I struggle at getting anything done. I have no strength or power without God.
I never used to make to-do lists. I kept them all in my head. I thought a written to-do list was a sign of weakness. Then God reminded me, as it says in 2 Corinthians 12:9, He will strengthen me with His perfect power in my weakness.
I don’t have to act like, or think, I have it all together. God knows I don’t, and He doesn’t expect me to either. He will enable me to do all I need to do each day as I look to Him for my strength, not myself.
I am now writing down my to-do list and it turns out, I don’t have a million and two things to do. Only a dozen or so. I can manage that….with God’s help. I’m also going to (try) and pray before taking on each one of the things listed on my to-do list. I’ll pray for it to be accomplished in a timely manner with little or even no distractions.
I stumbled across Ephesians 3:16-19 this morning and thought it would be the perfect prayer for us today.
‘ I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.’ ~ Amen
Have you ever stopped to look around and wonder how in the world you ended up doing what you were doing? Well, I’ve been doing that a lot over the past few years. Not in a bad way, a good way. Actually, in more of an exciting scary kind of way.
A few years ago the Pastor at the church we attend, Covenant Community Church, did a sermon on the Lord’s Prayer. He walked us through each line of the prayer so we would understand what we were praying, saying to God, each time we said it. The line “Your will be done” hit me hard. I realized I was asking God for His will to be done in my life, but did I mean it? How would I know if I was doing God’s will or my will?
I started praying for God to show me His will for my life, give me the desire to do His will and to see the opportunities when they came. Since doing this my world has changed, dramatically. I have discovered that God’s will for me is way outside of my comfort zone.
God usually gives me the desire, a heads up, to do something before the opportunity comes up. Probably because I always bring up the following points with God why He’s nuts to think I could do such a thing. As I’m sure you can imagine, this creates some interesting conversations with God.
- I’m not important/popular enough
- I’m not smart enough
- I don’t have enough experience
- I’m to weird/spazy
- I’m to busy
- No one wants ME to do it
Once I get through all of the above points and God is still pointing me in His direction and the opportunity comes about, I’m usually ready to move forward with His will. Sometimes this takes longer than others, depending on what God is putting in front of me.
Recently, I was telling a friend about my experience being a BSF Group Leader (Bible Study Fellowship). I was trying to express how much I enjoyed it and especially how I was blessed by the ladies in my leaders group and the ladies in the group I facilitated. The more I talked the more she seemed confused and displeased. By her comments I got the impression she thought it was a group with too many rules and no place for God. I began to get frustrated but determined to help her understand that was not the case. After a quick silent prayer I told her about the compliments I had received since becoming a BSF leader. She now had a confused look on her face and said “Rebecca, you are one of the spaziest people I know.” I smiled, looked at her and said “I know”. After a few moments she said “It’s the Holy Spirit”. Yes indeed, it was the Holy Spirit! I am a complete spaz just as my friend had said.
Before I was asked to be a BSF leader God put the idea in my head. I of course went through the above listed discussion points with God and then dismissed the idea. A few weeks later I was asked to consider, pray about, being a BSF leader. I knew then this was Gods will for me. Over the summer as I continued to pray about it I told God I had no idea why He picked me for this or how I would accomplish the task. I also told Him I completely trusted He knew what was needed to be a BSF leader and wouldn’t let me mess anyone up. I believed with all my heart God would give me all I needed each and every time to accomplish the task He had put before me. I have to admit, it is a lot of work, but God provides the time, the understanding family and blesses me for being willing to do His work.
With each new desire God puts on my heart I know I do not have what it takes to do it on my own. I also know God will work with me and through me, with the Holy Spirit, to accomplish everything He desires of me.
When you pray, do you give God a list of things you wish He would do? Or do you ask God to show you what He would like you to do and how to do it? Ask God to fill your heart with the desires He has for you. I promise you will find yourself accomplishing some wonderful things if you do.
My prayer for us today ~ Lord, thank you for the example of Jesus, the Holy Spirit which guides us and your never ending love. I pray we see the opportunities to do Your will and have the courage to act on them, Amen