Life gets really busy doesn’t it? I mean sometimes you’re trying to keep the plates all spinning and you’re just not sure for how long you can do it before one comes crashing down to the floor. And some of those plates are pretty darn important. Our Family…our Church…our Jobs…our Friends and neighbors. Just those plates are hard enough…but then throw in kids activities, school, maybe a ministry or two, and some activity that we really like…and life begins to feel claustrophobic as you try to prioritize. It feels that you’re always trying to squeeze more water into a balloon that’s already full.
I believe Satan is the god of busyness…he is the one who tries to keep throwing more and more plates into a life that already feels like a three ring circus…and why do we let him do it? Because people need us…because successful people are hard working people….because people will get mad at us….because being worn out seems to be “like a purple heart” medal for us to wear in the battle of life. You know what I mean…”Hey, how you doing?” The “purple heart” response “I’m OK, but man am I tired!…I’ve worked 50 hours this week, the kids had three ball games yesterday, my wife and I are helping at the retreat this weekend and I’m helping Mom clean up the basement. How are you?” And because we don’t want to be seen as slackers….”Oh, I’ve been working two jobs so that I can pay for my daughter’s collage…….and on and on.” You get what I’m talking about.
We have created a life of busyness….and as the plates spin we wonder, “Why am I not happy?” “Why am I caught in all this activity…but feel no real productivity?”
I’m truly not a licensed Christian counselor…I know and love some amazing ones…but I have been involved in ministry for 35 years….I’ve experienced the high and lows…guilt and joy of loving and serving people. Student ministry and children’s ministry, evangelism, pastoring in small, medium and large churches, leading. Here’s what I would share…Here’s what I’ve learned that helps me live an abundant life, instead of a claustrophobic life.
1. Don’t let people manipulate you with fear, guilt, or anger. Easier said than done because many have perfected this art. It’s how they’ve gotten what they want for decades…recognize it and don’t reward it.
2. Deal with issues that would keep you awake…prayerfully, honestly and quickly.
3. Remember: “People are more important that activities and kids are people too.” It’s super easy to be the Priest or Levite when your schedule is super packed.
4. Stop letting the world create the bar of success…”You can earn a million dollars a year, be CEO or CFO…but if your kids don’t know your name….you’ve failed.”
5. Create Sabbath times after especially tiring times…and jealously protect them.
6. Realize that many of the times Jesus was most effective in ministering to people was when he was interrupted…
7. Pray constantly…maybe this should have been first, but regardless…talk to your Father constantly throughout the day seeking His Kingdom first…soften your heart so that when His Spirit speaks you can hear Him.
8. Get a punching bag
9. Use the punching bag (Do not put faces on the punching bag)
10. Be honest…don’t wear a mask….wearing a mask creates a dishonest life and unhealthy defense mechanisms
I love you all…and ask for your prayers as I seek to practice what I preach and lead others to do the same.
His servant and yours,