Tag Archives: Busyness

2 Samuel 24; Galatians 4; Ezekiel 31; Psalm 79

One of the things I love most about fall is the smell of a wood smoke coming from the fireplace. The warm colors from changing tree leaves, a crisp air and a long-sleeve shirt, a hot mug of something sweet and soothing, these are things that make me feel wrapped and grounded.

This fall, I’ve had to institute some strict personal boundaries for time. This calendar year has taught me many things, and one is that things come at a price. What was the cost I’ve been paying? Cost to my core responsibilities, cost to time with my husband, cost to my health, cost to a sense of presence with my family … and oddly, while some activities were service for the Lord, my relationship with God seemed lost in the noise of all the busy.

24 But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it, for I will not present burnt offerings to the Lord my God that have cost me nothing.” So David paid him fifty pieces of silver for the threshing floor and the oxen. (2 Samuel 24:24, NLT)

My relationship with God was slowly shifting from intention to convenience. The mindfulness of his presence was being muted and obscured by the din of busyness and obligation and overwhelm. I lost grasp of Peace and the One who grounds me–even while I was trying to serve him.

In a season where everything jockeys for first place (isn’t that every day?) … when I evaluate and reevaluate how I spend my time, talent, treasure … when I see a plate that’s heaping and heavy … oh, what is the cost?

“That girl with the cape is cheating somewhere.” (p 147, The Best Yes, Lysa TerKeurst, Thomas Nelson Books)

It is a discipline. Learning and discerning when to say no and when to say yes.

I welcome the cooler temps creeping into the forecast, the wood stacked along the driveway anticipating a season’s first burn, the pumpkin spice everything–but nothing will ground me more than intentional time with the One who knows and loves me best.

Lord, thank you for reminding me of first things, for redirecting my heart towards you. Please help me to order things in my life. Help me to be a better steward of the time, talent, and treasure you’ve give me.

Courtney (66books365)

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Deuteronomy 15; Psalm 102; Isaiah 42; Revelation 12

Busyness. Full calendars. Early mornings. Late nights.  That’s the season I’m in right now.  It’s full and it’s good and it’s beautiful, but it’s still full.  Full can be tricky.  It is fulfilling and overflowing and magnificent but is also overwhelming and not empty and stressful sometimes.

In the midst of full, I often lose sight of God and his plan and purpose and his presence.  I just start going and doing and staying afloat and then all of the sudden, I forget the last time I had an encounter with God.  Sometimes in the full, quickly enter into darkness and dread when lose sight of God.  I see that played out here:

“Lord, hear my prayer!
Listen to my plea!
Don’t turn away from me
in my time of distress.
Bend down to listen,
and answer me quickly when I call to you.
For my days disappear like smoke,
and my bones burn like red-hot coals.
My heart is sick, withered like grass,
and I have lost my appetite.”

Psalm 102: 1-4 (NLT)

My heart becomes sick and my prayers become frantic, grasping for a glimpse of God when I finally slow down enough to realize that I haven’t seen him lately.

This feeling is legitimate and it’s my reality in this moment, but God’s truth is greater.  When I feel sick and lost and wandering and life gets hard, God reminds me that he is good and he is constant and that he blesses me when I obey his commands.

“But you, O Lord, will sit on your throne forever.
Your fame will endure to every generation.”

Psalm 102: 12 (NLT)

God constantly reminds me that he is constant and he will never change and he will never leave me.

“God, the Lord, created the heavens and stretched them out.
He created the earth and everything in it.
He gives breath to everyone,
life to everyone who walks the earth.
And it is he who says,
“I, the Lord, have called you to demonstrate my righteousness.
I will take you by the hand and guard you,
and I will give you to my people, Israel,
as a symbol of my covenant with them.
And you will be a light to guide the nations.
    You will open the eyes of the blind.
You will free the captives from prison,
releasing those who sit in dark dungeons.

“I am the Lord; that is my name!
I will not give my glory to anyone else,
nor share my praise with carved idols.
Everything I prophesied has come true,
and now I will prophesy again.
I will tell you the future before it happens.”

Isaiah 42: 5-9 (NLT)

God reminds me that he is good and he is all-powerful and his promises are true.

“There should be no poor among you, for the Lord your God will greatly bless you in the land he is giving you as a special possession.You will receive this blessing if you are careful to obey all the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today. The Lord your God will bless you as he has promised. You will lend money to many nations but will never need to borrow. You will rule many nations, but they will not rule over you.”

Deuteronomy 15: 4-6 (NLT)

God promises to bless me if I follow his commands.

That is such a beautiful truth: to know that the Lord will bless me if I only obey.  Obeying God leads to blessing and blessings often lead me to full.  The full can be overwhelming but it is good.  I find myself in cycles of full and blessing that lead me to busy that then leads me to too fast and then I eventually pause and find God and he reminds me of who he is and leads me into obedience which brings me back to blessing and to full.

The most difficult thing for me is finding the balance and learning to find God in the full so I don’t get to the part of the cycle that is busy and overwhelming.  For now, I am rejoicing in the cycle, for every part teaches me more about God and grows my relationship with him.

Emma

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Nehmiah 10-13 & Revelation 8

I don’t know about you but I feel like the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas was the shortest 4 weeks in history this year. I know that every year the amount of time between the two stays the same but this year the time flew by even faster than usual. During this season of advent as we wait for the celebration of our Savior’s first coming, we are to be preparing our hearts and waiting with great anticipation as the angels did so many years ago. Yet, that’s certainly not what my life looks like. It never fails. Each and every year I am determined to make this season special, to place special focus on preparing my heart and my children’s hearts for the great celebration of all. I try to cultivate a spirit of patience and stillness and awe of what the Lord has done for us but yet….. No matter how hard I try the season feels too rushed. From Christmas parties to shopping for the perfect gift, we are rushed, over committed and just plain tired!

As I read today’s scripture there is one piece that the Lord spoke to me through without a doubt. It stuck out like a sore thumb. Not because it had anything to do with advent and Christ’s birth but because it was a fantastic reminder that the feelings I have of being unfocused and rushed are not exclusive to this season alone. For me, our family is busy in every season. We are typically over committed in some way or double booked at least 1 out of the 3 weekend days each week (but usually more). The Lord reminded me that there is one very special day each week that HE created for our rest. The Sabbath. He created it for us. For. Us. Sorry to repeat myself but that was for me. A reminder that God knew exactly what he was doing when he created a day of rest. That day is designed for our bodies to rest from the 6 days of hard work. It is a day to be still before the Lord and seek his will for our lives. A day to focus our attention and worship on Him alone in thanksgiving and praise. Yes, the 4th commandment He spoke through Moses is most often overlooked, especially in 2016.

Even long ago, Nehemiah knew saw that this day that was to be kept Holy was instead being treated like any other day of the week. He could see the people were continuing about their usual work instead of taking their time to rest and reflect. So he took great measures to ensure the people followed the Lord’s command.

When evening shadows fell on the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I ordered the doors to be shut and not opened until the Sabbath was over. I stationed some of my own men at the gates so that no load could be brought in on the Sabbath day.  Once or twice the merchants and sellers of all kinds of goods spent the night outside Jerusalem. But I warned them and said, “Why do you spend the night by the wall? If you do this again, I will arrest you.” From that time on they no longer came on the Sabbath. Then I commanded the Levites to purify themselves and go and guard the gates in order to keep the Sabbath day holy. Nehemiah 13:19-22 (NIV)

Nehemiah was protecting his people from themselves and others who were leading Israel astray from keeping the Sabbath day holy. Like him, I need set up safeguards for myself and my family to set aside time each week that provides us with rest and refreshment. If I don’t do this now, my children will learn the rat race that our culture is so used to. The Sabbath was made FOR us, not us for the Sabbath. It was to keep us well both physically and spiritually.

During this season of advent and every week during the year, may we be still before the Lord our God our Maker! May we put down our cell phones, I-pads and office work and place our focus on Jesus, the greatest gift we could ever receive!

Lord, help us guard our hearts and minds during this season and in every season. Help us to live in the world but not be of the world. Help us take advantage of the special time you created for us and special moments resting and reflecting on who you are and what you have done for us. Amen.

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