Take Care of What God Has Given You

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It’s not difficult to stay busy.  Most of the time, I will probably tell you that I had a busy day.  And–I am being truthful.

A few years ago, I heard Gordon MacDonald say that we basically have three units of time during our waking hours.  Morning.  Afternoon. Evening. (Yes, I know that is obvious, but stay with me for a moment.)  He said that we generally need to think in terms of doing our work during two of these three blocks.  As I recall, he was directing some of his comments toward those who were using all three blocks for work.   (I realize we could get into a discussion at this point about that third block.  There is "work" to be done at home, etc.  Nevertheless, he was trying to establish a basic principle regarding time.)

For some reason, I found his simple observation to be helpful.  Years ago, when I drove for UPS, the company helped with this schedule.  In the morning, I arrived at the Dallas hub and used a time card to "punch in."  I was "at work" all day, driving in downtown Dallas.  Late in the afternoon, I returned to the hub, took the same card and "punched out."

I was off.  No more work for UPS until the following morning.

Many people have jobs where their lives are still ordered in much the same way.  However, many of us do not punch in and out.   We have a job or work which is never finished.   There is always something to be done.  I don’t ever get to the end of a day/week/month and say,  "Wow, everything is done.  I guess I’ll go home." 

No–there is always:

  • one more person I could talk with.
  • one more book to read.
  • one more e-mail to send.
  • one more situation to look into.
  • one more problem to think about.
  • one more sermon/class to plan.
  • one more message to prepare.
  • one more person to visit.
  • one more phone call to make.

There is always plenty to do.

So what’s the point?  The point is that I have to work to create balance in my life.  As a person who desires to model Christ, I want to take care of my whole being (mind/soul/body/emotions, etc.).  I believe such care honors Jesus.  I want to be a healthy human being who honors the life the creator has given me.  I am not just a mind that sits around thinking, praying, contemplating, etc.  I am a whole person.

Cultivating a healthy, balanced life as a Christ-follower can be a real challenge.  If you are a single parent or a working mom or dad with small children, you may find this to be extremely challenging.  Nevertheless, it is important to at least take small steps toward nurturing your life.

Here are a few suggestions.  These have been important in my life.  You may have other practices which have been important to you.  I would enjoy hearing about them.

1. Take time for prayer and Bible reading, as well as time to practice other spiritual disciplines.  Start small–but start.  Maybe this is a time each day in which you journal
or read a book that addresses "heart" issues.   Most days, I begin each morning with coffee, my Bible and/or book and my journal.

If this time is non-existent in your life right now, set aside a brief period of time each day.  Don’t worry about doing this the way I do it or the way anyone else might do it.  Start small.  Create a time that works for you.

2. Do something practical every week that nurtures significant
relationships
.  Perhaps this means spending some time with family members.  Your husband.  Your wife.  Your children.  Maybe this means having lunch with a friend.  Call a good friend each week.  Send notes to other friends.

3. Do something that will enhance your physical health this week.  So many of us neglect our bodies during our early years and then spend our later years having to address health issues (a few of these which may be present due to earlier neglect). 

Work out.  Take a walk.  Pay attention to what you eat.  Part of the stewardship or management of my body includes taking care of the health God has given me. 

Again, start small but do something.  (To my fellow ministers, this may be more important than reading the next book or doing something else behind a desk. God has created me to be a whole person not just a mind.)

4.  Choose to enjoy the moment you have.  Instead of being preoccupied with what you could be doing, try paying attention to what you are doing and who you are with.  (Forgive me for talking to myself at this moment.)  Look for what joy you can find in whatever situation you are in.  Look for God’s hand in these moments.  Maybe he is giving you the opportunity to just enjoy this moment.

 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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8 thoughts on “Take Care of What God Has Given You

  1. Lately it seems that I have been living a life fueled by guilt…

    When I am at work I feel guilty for not being home with my son and my husband. When I am at home I feel guilty for not getting more done at work. When I spend time with family I feel guilty for not doing chores or when I’m doing chores I feel like I’m neglecting my family. When I’m working during worship I feel like I’m not getting quality time with God and so on and so on. I’ve felt stretched so thin in the past few weeks that I am like a rubber band about to snap…thanks for the pointers, I have some examining to do.

    Meagan

  2. I could write a long explanation for why this post is so meaningful to me today, but I have too many “one more’s” to get done today. Sometimes we don’t have a choice in the matter. Tomorrow we memorialize a young wife, mother of two (sons: 15 & 11), and dearly loved sister to us all. On Monday of this week she died suddenly, following a minor, out-patient, surgical procedure one week ago tomorrow.

    But, I’ve added one more “one more…” to my list for tomorrow afternoon. I plan to visit this site again and absorb this post so that I can begin putting it into practice…maybe next week, though.

    Thanks, brother!
    -bill

  3. Bill,
    I can sure identify with you regarding the funeral(s), surgery, and other situations that are not a part of your (or my)scheduling. It really is a challenge.

    Thanks for your comment.

  4. Meagan,
    I think many of us have had similar feelings. I know I have. And–it is a no win deal. No matter what you do, it never feels like it is enough.

    I’m guessing there are a number of issues at work here (if your life is anything like mine). The issue of expectations (dealing with my own and other people’s). The issue of acceptance of my humanity. How do I live with the humanness of just not being able to do it all.
    And there are probably others.

    I feel for you. Guilt (no matter how true or false) has a way of hammering a person. I will pray for you as you wrestle with how to come to grips with this time of your life and all that you are dealing with.

  5. I guess I said that because busyness only seems to contribute to it. Though it doesn’t seem to matter if I’m bored or not (on my job, I’m royally bored most of the time). I shouldn’t be bored maybe. But I’ve heard that God does work in special ways during times that seem monotonuous. It is hard to get done all one could do, for sure.
    Thanks.