Get Less Busy

My most recent revelation is an obvious one, but it needs said.

We, as a culture, are far too busy.

We hurry from one thing to the next, constantly filling our schedules to the brim until there is no time left. It’s like an addiction. Why do we do this to ourselves?

I can be as guilty as anyone else, and I surely do have my seasons. Especially as I’ve been pursuing my MBA these last couple of years. (And I can’t even imagine what it’s like once you have kids.) But right now, I’m trying to soak up the opportunities that present themselves, while I have a little break.

In general we leave ourselves with no margin. We have little to no room for anything “extra”. The things that suffer: real quality time with our spouse/family, with friends, time to serve, time to be able to stop & help someone else with a need, time spent sitting still in God’s presence. What about time to actually relax for a few minutes and feel refreshed. There is no margin to be able to seize opportunities like this one, when we’re going 70 mph.

So what do we need to do?

  • Quit something. Create some space.
    This is most often easier said than done. There are definitely seasons of life that might dictate this. But it’s a good idea to take a good, hard look at our weekly schedules and see what we can eliminate in order to save space for other important things that might come up spontaneously. We are a culture of doers. It might be time to quit something.
  • Learn to live more intentionally.
    Don’t go through life filling up time with just anything. Figure out what the things are that you really want to be spending your time on. Prioritize. Figure out what is best (not just what is good).
  • Spend more time reaching out to others.
    Call that friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Send an email or a card. Ask someone to go grab coffee or a meal. Invite some neighbors over for dinner. Relationships are often one of the things that suffer most from our activity-packed lives. And it’s a tragedy. Life is meant to be lived in community.
  • Carve out times to be still (Psalm 46:10).
    I’ve had a really hard time with this one lately and I’m seeking to improve. I’m finding it really difficult to quiet my mind and to be still with the Lord. But it’s so important.

What other tips do you have for shaking off our addiction to busyness?

Get less busy. Start now. Go.

Focusing on the Present

More than any other time I can remember, I feel like I’m being taught a lesson on living in the present. It has almost become a theme, popping up everywhere I turn. When that happens, I can’t help but stop, take notice, and hope to learn something from it.

For various reasons, and through various circumstances, I am being taught that I cannot worry about what tomorrow will bring. Because honestly, we don’t know. Anything could happen tomorrow.

There have been some days recently when all I had the capacity for was to figure out what I had to do today, and then do it. I couldn’t handle thinking about what the next day would bring. I was at capacity.

In some ways, it has been a refreshing lesson. I am pretty sure, in a sense, this is how God wants us to live.

So do not worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Living faithfully is a large enough task for today.” Matthew 6:34 (The Voice)

This is hard for me. I am a natural-born planner, a perfectionist, and I may or may not like to feel in control of my circumstances. So right now, I’m learning to do the opposite, and it’s a challenge.

But on the other hand, I have found myself less burdened with worry (depending on the day). More intentional on working on relationships – with family, friends, husband, etc (some days are better than others). Desiring to live each day to the full (notice that I didn’t say I’m there yet, but I have the desire to do it).

Then, out of nowhere, this was my reading from Jesus Calling on Friday:

“I want you to live this day abundantly, seeing all there is to see, doing all there is to do. Don’t be distracted by future concerns. Leave them to Me! Each day of life is a glorious gift, but so few people know how to live within the confines of today. Much of their energy for abundant living spills over the time line into tomorrow’s worries or past regrets. Their remaining energy is sufficient only for limping through the day, not for living it to the full. I am training you to keep your focus on My Presence in the present. This is how to receive abundant Life, which flows freely from My throne of grace.” -Jesus Calling, September 30th

Perfect.

I’ll be attending (& running promotions for The Voice Bible at) the Catalyst conference this Wed-Fri. The theme… “Be Present“. Not sure what that will entail yet, but I do love when God speaks to us in themes, don’t you?