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Wednesday, October 3, 2012
“And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.” I Thessalonians 4:11-12
I have been pondering lately just how often I talk about being too busy, stretched for time, or just not having enough hours in a day. Why is that? Why are we all running so quickly through life? I really believe that we are over-occupied in this madhouse of a world. Think of all the things we have designed to set our adrenaline pumping with just a beep or buzz: such things as cell phones, wristwatches, alarm clocks, stove timers, factory whistles, car horns, doorbells, burglar alarms, and sirens! All of them manmade and adrenaline-shocking sounds that say one thing: "HURRY!"
What did we do with all of our time before we had telephones, traffic lights, interstates, televisions, smartphones, junk mail and cluttered desks? What did we do with our time before organized Little League, dance class, play dates, and shopping trips for things we don't need? Is it possible that we spent time on things that were more rewarding and less frustrating?
I really am convicted about how much time-stress I feel in my life. I just don't believe that God intended us to work a full day, juggling the interruptions that come in technological society, only to go home and have to listen to a full answering machine, and return scores of emails. I really believe that we have let the trivial steal from the vital until it has become nearly fatal. We don't have time to talk to the wife, or help the kids with homework, let alone get a full night of sleep.
In light of this, I purchased a book entitled Margin by Richard A. Swenson, M.D. This book has helped me to see the importance of restoring the margins to my life, and thereby, living life the way God intended. God did not plan for us to live in a pressure cooker, yet many of us are just one more deadline from insanity. Who pays the price for this? The little ones that are growing up right under our noses are the recipients of this time-sensitive, pressure cooker world. In his book, Dr. Swenson says, "It is fitting that a society with urgency as its emblem should have tranquilizers as its addiction." And boy, are we addicted!
I understand that most of us believe that this pressure is the price we must pay for progress, but are we really progressing? Most of us have not even seen it happening, but our progress, technology, and time-pressure world is consuming an average of two hours for every one it saves us. It has happened to us subtly, and we don't even recognize it.
"Even when progress gives us 'leisure,' the leisure is not leisurely," says Dr. Swenson. "Instead, it is jammed with multi-tasking actions and expectations: watching TV, while surfing the web, while checking e-mail, while eating a hamburger, while listening to the phone ring, while conversing with the family." Does this picture look familiar? If so, then you need to make some serious life-adjustments.
Let me give you a few thoughts about remedies. A wise thought: "There is more to life than increasing its speed." We don't need to mark up a day planner to manage life to the nano-second, but we do need a schedule of priorities. So when making a plan, remember these things:
Everyone needs time with God.
God is not going to push Himself into your schedule. "For he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." Hebrews 11:6.
"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
"But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret." Matthew 6:6
2. Everyone needs time with family.
Your mate needs alone time with you. Your kids need alone time with you. If you don't have the time, something else must go. Since the family has been hit hard by the pressure world, make quality time with them.
3. Everyone needs personal time.
"There I was left alone, and saw this great vision." Daniel 10:8
"And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and the evening was come, he was there alone." Matthew 14:23
Personal time is needed to reflect, to plan ahead, to just unwind, and to get recharged.
We need to make it a matter of great importance to get our lives back to priorities and to break the chains of time restraints. I'll have more to come on this later. Stay tuned.