Saturday, May 9, 2009

Priorities, Schedules, Time

I over heard a conversation the other day in which the comment was made, "it seems he feel like he has to get everything together, that his life has to be fully in order before he can move forward."

Oh, how that comment is totally and completely me!! I try so hard to get all the ducks in a row, so that I can "move forward" with life. I do this knowing it is never fully going to happen, yet I try anyway. I am constantly in "catch up" mode. I need to catch up on my house work before I can, start a new bible study, exercise, or just simply follow my normal daily routine. I need to catch up on the check book before we can follow our budget really well. I need to catch up on my paperwork before I can start working on ministry stuff for AFN again. The list goes on and on...

My goal--to be caught up on everything, so that then my life will run smoothly and on schedule, day after day. This seems to be the unreachable goal for me, I believe because it is a bit unrealistic.

Sure, there are things I could do to improve. I could practice more self discipline. I could say no to distractions. Distractions like tv and computer or a project that really doesn't need to be done now. These are distractions that I know are of no eternal purpose and are a waste of my time, and yet I do them anyway.

However, Life does not happen on a schedule, no matter how hard we may try. Life throws us curve balls that take us out of our daily routine. And no matter how much house work or check books we balance, there will always be more that needs to be done.

I believe it is better to change our mindset. Rather than try to follow a schedule or routine, to live life according to our priorities. We must change our perspective so that we do not see the long list of things that need to get done, but rather the important priorities that should receive our time and attention.

Before Son was born, I was blessed to work with an amazing company. I worked for a company who coached business people how to succeed in life and business. It sounds cheesy and gimmicky when you say it, but it was anything but. This company was a group of believers whose hearts desire was to see overworked successful business people begin to live their life to the fullest, beginning with a relationship with Jesus. They wanted to teach them how to live their priorities rather than work themselves to death only to look back at the end of their lives and realize it was all for nothing. The coaches and owners of this company lived what they taught. They were people that you looked at and said, I want to be like them! They were also very successful at what they did, and saw marriages and families saved, saw people recover from depression and addictions, and most of all saw many people come to know Jesus personally.

When you signed up for the program, the first thing you did was create a life plan. A picture of what you wanted your life to look like now and in 20 years. Then you create accounts, or priorities, and set your time and resources accordingly.

It has been a long time since I have looked at my life plan, but I know I could certainly improve in giving my priorities more attention. I could do better in living life according to what is important rather than by the never ending to do list. To do this requires two things: a change in mindset, moving from the list to the priority, and a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. He is faithful to lead us in each decision if we listen to Him. If I begin my day with Jesus and surrender to His will and schedule for the day rather than mine, I know he will lead me, and I will experience more peace and fulfillment in each day.

Two days ago, a friend of ours dad died unexpectedly. Unexpected deaths are much harder to deal with than the ones you know are coming. Although I did not know this man, the news startled me. In an instant our life on earth can be over. You do not always get notice, time to prepare. How precious is our time here. We only have this short time to store are prepare for eternity.

I came across a page of quotes my one of my favorite revivalist, Leonard Ravenhill. Each one stings and challenges, but this one seemed to sting the most today, as I think about schedules, priorities and the wasting of idle time. It is a quote I will be writing out and posting on my TV and computer to remind me of how precious time is and how I should be spending it. It is my challenge for this week to turn off the TV and get into the Word more and spend more time being with my kids.

"How can you pull down strongholds of Satan if you don’t even have the strength to turn off your TV?"

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