May 15, 2008

Escaping the Stress Trap

Know When to be Still

Mary Southerland

 

 

Today’s Truth

Psalm 90:12 Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom. (NLT)

 

Friend to Friend

Every minute of every day is either wasted or invested. Since the Bible contains over 400 verses about time, we can safely assume that time management is important to God. In fact, it is a spiritual discipline. We not only need to view time as an eternal investment, but as an immediate one as well. One of the most valuable investments we can make is to spend time in solitude.

I once read an African proverb, “Lord Jesus, make my heart sit down”. Solitude is deliberately and diligently setting aside time to “sit down” at the feet of Jesus. It is in those still, quiet moments of solitude at his feet that we can more clearly hear God speak and gain strength and wisdom for the journey ahead. In order to practice solitude, we must learn how to budget time.

 

It’s been said that women must balance their time more carefully than men because women don’t have wives. The fact is we are all responsible for how we spend the time God has given us. Time is a precious gift! Every morning we are credited with 86,400 seconds. No balance is carried into the next day and every night erases what we fail to use. If we use it in the wrong way, that time is lost forever and cannot be reclaimed. Un-budgeted time gravitates to our weaknesses, is stolen by others or wasted on the unimportant. We must budget time, just as Jesus did.

 

Luke 2:52 “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (NIV).

 

At the age of 12, Jesus traveled to Jerusalem with his parents for the annual Passover Celebration. When his parents began the long trip home, they did not miss their son at first and when they did, assumed he was traveling with friends. Jesus was found in the temple, teaching. My first reaction would probably have been pride in the fact that religious scholars and teachers were actually listening to my young son. I would most likely have encouraged Jesus to continue, basking in the looming recognition and acclaim. Instead, Jesus returned home where, for 18 to 20 years, he simply grew. Luke 2:52 tells us that Jesus grew mentally, physically, spiritually and socially. In Luke 3, Jesus begins his ministry, the most powerful ministry ever known. In other words, Jesus Christ budgeted his time wisely, resulting in a balanced life of fulfilled purpose. We can live the same kind of life if our priorities are right.

Set priorities: Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us that “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” (NLT). We either set our life priorities or allow circumstances and other people to set them.

 

Schedule priorities: There is a right time and a right way to carry out right priorities. Ecclesiastes 8:5-6 warns, “For a wise heart knows the proper time and procedure. For there is a proper time and procedure for every delight” (NASB). We must schedule time for solitude. We must set aside portions of each day to spend with God.

 

Stick to priorities: The apostle Paul teaches us to “make the most of every opportunity” (Ephesians 5:16 NIV). Every challenge will either wreck our priorities or affirm them. Right priorities stand firm in the face of change.

 

One day, we will all stand before the Father and give an account of how we invested our time. Today, examine your time management habits in light of eternity. Initiate schedule changes that honor God. Make a new commitment to invest your time wisely.

 

Let’s Pray

Father, I recognize my need for time alone with you. I lay down my schedule, my agenda and anything else in my life that would keep me from that time. Please forgive me for the way I often squander away the minutes, hours and days of my life. Give me the power to invest time wisely and the wisdom to live a balanced life. Amen.

 

Now it’s Your Turn

  • Choose to practice solitude - today.
  • Select a place to spend time in solitude – today.
  • Lay down your agenda.
  • Focus on Him and listen for His voice.
  • Memorize Psalm 37:7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him. (NIV)
  • Ask yourself the following questions and use the answers to shape a plan for regular solitude:

 

Why am I afraid of silence?

What is the greatest obstacle to solitude in my life?

What steps do I have to take in order to remove those obstacles?

What do I hope to gain from time spent in solitude?

 

More from the Girlfriends

Time management is a familiar battle, isn’t it? Everyone I know seems to have more to do in a shorter amount of time. I wonder how much of it all really matters to God. Much of God is simply unknowable on the run. To know Him takes time with Him. I promise you that once this habit is established in your life, you will never be the same and you will long to spend time in His presence. For help in dealing with the stress in your life, check out my book, “Escaping the Stress Trap”, a new look at Psalm 23. Want to connect with over 8,000 women from across the world? Don’t miss my weekly online Bible Study, Light for the Journey. Blessings!

 

 

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