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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Springing Forward

Today, my state, Indiana, joins the rest of you in scoring some extra daylight. For reasons unclear to 99% of us Hoosiers, we have stubbornly bucked Daylight Saving Time until this year. As a result, we've never been sure exactly what time it is within Indiana because we've been enjoying three time zones! Regardless, if you want to honk off a Hoosier, especially a farmer, ask him how he feels about DST. And then take a few steps back.

Personally, I like the idea of springing forward. the Christian life emphasizes forward momentum, "forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead," as in Philippians 3:13, and finishing the race, as in 2 Timothy 4:7. We never want to stagnate, and daily we search hopefully for signs that we are becoming more and more like Christ.

Sometimes, though, instead of a healthy forward momentum, I feel I'm living in three time zones. That is, I fill my days with lists of tasks, responsibilities and service, and at the end of the day, I realize how little time I've engaged the Lord. Do I really believe that God is more concerned about who I am than what I do?

For instance, I'm part of a "Read the Bible in a Year" campaign. I'm actually ahead of schedule, but that's because I've been galloping through Numbers like Seabiscuit out of the gate. Instead of speed reading, I should be researching why God included so many details and figures. I should slow down to ask, "Lord, what do You want to say to me today through Numbers?" But then, I'd have to actually slow down to listen.

In an effort to nurture relationships, I have lists of names to call or email, but sometimes, I find myself clock-watching after just a few minutes. Maybe I should just ask the Holy Spirit, "Show me who needs attention and love today." Once again, I'd have to stop and listen.

And then there are the yes/no demands on my time: the caller asking if I can help with a special school project; the bulk mailing at work that didn't get completed--should I work an extra hour? My daughter is asking if I can help her bake a new dessert; the clean laundry wrinkling in the basket even as I write this is pestering me--and what about tonight's dinner, my newspaper column, my little dog?

Do you feel guilty if you're not "doing," not constantly springing forward toward the next task?

I'll bet you know the scriptures as well as I do about being still and knowing He is God, about His yoke being easy and His burden light, and about how Jesus withdrew from crowds to pray. But it's hard to break the hold of what some have called "the tyranny of the oughts and shoulds," both internal and external. We so want to get this life "right."

If you are a compulsive "do-er," consider handing over your plans today to the Father by focusing on the two great commandments of Luke 10:27, loving God with your entire being and loving your neighbor as yourself.

This doesn't mean God won't ask anything of you; He says if you love Him, you'll obey His commands, which I also interpret to include those commands he speaks to you personally about your day. However, you don't have to busy in a God-pleasing activity to please God. You please him by treating Him as the highest significant other in your life.

Instead of making sure we're hitting the details of 20 nonessential tasks per day and planning tomorrow's superfluous 20, maybe we should focus on what God gives us for that day, or that hour, and do them with passion and excellence. And that may mean devoting an entire evening to helping your 5th grader create a solar system model--a great opportunity for intimate sharing between you, your child, and the One who molded the spheres and released them spinning. You can't top that for meaningful multi-tasking!

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Blogger Laurel Wreath said...

I have found when I am going, going, going and keep my focus on the tasks. Then I stress, worry and fret and wonder how it is all going to get done. When I keep my eyes on the Lord and trust that He knows what I need to do, for some reason, within the same allotted time I get what I was suppose to do accomplished. And if for some reason I don't finish all, He gives me peace about it.

Beautiful post Linda.

March 11, 2007 at 7:50 AM  
Blogger Cyndi said...

Same here, Laurel. If I let Him "take my moments and my days" (as the old hymn says)I find that whatever gets accomplished is... enough, and I feel like I was productive. When I take my eyes off of Him and focus on what's in my palm pilot for the rest of the day and week, I feel overwhelmed. He is so awesome. Thanks for this wonderful post, Linda!

March 11, 2007 at 10:11 AM  
Blogger Susanne said...

This was such an excellent reminder, Linda. It all speaks to me of flexibility towards God. If I've really asked Him to be Lord of my day, then I need to be open to flexibility when He brings something different than what I thought around.

March 11, 2007 at 11:14 AM  
Blogger Darlene said...

I love the focus here Linda, and the title of "the highest significant other in your life." I'm too much of a doer sometimes too.

March 11, 2007 at 3:29 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Thanks for a great post, blessings to you.

March 11, 2007 at 8:02 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

I am the Queen of "Number Next". It is never ending! I am like one of those deep water fish that thrives under pressure..If I came up to the shallow waters I'd explode. Thanks for this reminder on the more important things. I've already prayed today about forcing calm next week...You've reinforced my conviction!

Great post, Linda!

March 11, 2007 at 8:26 PM  
Blogger Melanie said...

Great post, Linda!

I tend to be in several zones all at once and then wonder what time it is. :>)

We should let God be our "Zulu" and we will all be OK.

March 12, 2007 at 1:36 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

Oh, I am so a doer. You've hit me between the eyes on this one. Obeying God's commands to rest and listen has been difficult for me at times. Thanks for giving me something to think about as I order my "new" daylight time. By the way, welcome to the club on that one!

March 12, 2007 at 10:03 AM  
Blogger janiswrites said...

You have described my life and thoughts so much in this post! My thoughts have been drawn toward spending my time doing the things that God wills a lot lately. God is really trying to show me that some of the things that "I" think are important are really not so. On the other hand, things that "I" am not thinking are very important are actually things of essential importance. Thanks for being a part of God speaking through you to me! Blessings!

March 12, 2007 at 11:15 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

Are you talking to me?

Going all the way back to Genesis 1, God created a day that we now measure in 24 hours. He declared it to be good - to be all we needed to do what He wants us to do.

And I'm seriously bad about wanting to cram in more than He wants for me to take on during those 24 hours.

Definitely speaking to me today!

March 13, 2007 at 9:16 AM  
Anonymous eph2810 said...

You know, Linda, I tried to read the Bible many times in one year. This year, I was going to, but than said no. I wanted actually grasp what He has to tell me, so I only read half of the Bible this year *smile*...

Blessings to you and yours...

March 15, 2007 at 8:41 PM  
Blogger Elise said...

I find myself in "nonessential" and superfluos mode many times during the day.
Thank you for the reminder to hone in on those things that are really important!
I shall spring *up*, not forward! :)

March 18, 2007 at 5:07 PM  
Blogger Elise said...

I find myself in "nonessential" and superfluos mode many times during the day.
Thank you for the reminder to hone in on those things that are really important!
I shall spring *up*, not forward! :)

March 18, 2007 at 5:07 PM  
Blogger Elise said...

Sorry - "superfluous"!

Hmm. That may have been a nonessential worry. :)

March 18, 2007 at 5:08 PM  

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