How would you like to multiply your peace and effectiveness this week, starting now? We are so accustomed to oversell that you probably read that line with some level of disbelief. However, there is a decision you can make right now and an ongoing shift in attitude you can make that will change you! The direction comes from the Perfect Man – Jesus. If we will take his guidance we will be better at what we do and become a deeper person at the same time. It is true! His counsel? Here are His words: “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34, NIV) The Message says “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (Matthew 6:34, The Message)
“Be present where you are!” Our phones, TV’s, and computers are dragging our attention elsewhere, all of the time. Learning to be where we are, fully attentive to those who are with us, aware of the ‘temperature’ in the room, is not as easy as it may seem. Deadlines loom – pulling us to think about them. Fears lurk at the edge of our mind pushing us to respond to ‘what if’ and ‘could be.’ Dozens of distractions offer us escape routes from the moment. Almost seductively, they say, “Come with me. Think about me.” But, often, as we shift our attention, the ephemeral thought vanishes, replaced by another. Entire days can pass without focus, without a deep conversation, without engaging with life right here, right now!
While sitting in an afternoon meeting last week, I took note that every person sitting around me had their smartphone in hand, texting and messaging, while the speaker was talking. (Guilty as charged, too!) We call it ‘multi-tasking.’ But, the real deal is distraction. We think we can pay full attention to what is going on in the room while we answer that message, check our email, or look at the latest Facebook update. But, we can’t! This is just a symptom of the fractured life that many of us live and wonder why we know so little peace and contentment.
Be honest with yourself about how you conduct your life.
Are you constantly behind, playing catch up, driven by an agenda that even you admit is ‘out of control?’
Are you usually just making deadlines, showing up for appointments right at the moment or late?
Are your finances in disarray, credit card balances building, and bills past due?
Do you have a list of things that need to be done that never get done – letters that should have been written, calls that should have been made?
Is your diet full of snacks and fast food, because you never have time to sit down and enjoy a meal?
If your answer is yes to most of those questions, you have a spiritual problem! Before you get offended or offer an excuse, read on. The great sin of American Christians is letting life control them because they try to own too much, do too much, and be too many things to too many people. “No,” is like a curse word for many of us. We are concerned that others will see us as ‘lazy,’ or ‘uncommitted’ so we allow ourselves to be driven to distraction and become soul sick in the process. And then, too, there are those who amuse themselves to death and think they are ‘busy.’ They have time to watch 15-20 hours of television on the weekend, and claim to be overwhelmed by life. Let’s get real here. If you can make time to watch TV or go to the golf course for an entire afternoon, you have a problem with priorities.
Jesus counsels us to “Be present where you are!”
Today, when you are at work, work!
When you are home, be fully at home.
When you praying, pray with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
When it is time to sleep, turn off the phone, TV, and rest.
Jesus had just three years to accomplish a world-changing task and He was working with people who were slow to learn, dense, and uncomprehending. And yet, He was present to life. He actually saw the needs around Him, spent time alone with God, and took time to welcome children. He was full of life and gave life to those with whom He lived. We are to be like Him! But, we will never pour out a quality of life on our world that heals and restores unless we are walking with Him, fully alive in His Presence.
Ponder these words. Pray over them. Spend more than a minute with them. And, ruthlessly deal with the distractions that come your way. This Monday (and all of life) will become different when we are living in the Spirit.
“Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, NLT)
Or, like this: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30, The Message)