Beautiful Day

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Time Well Spent

 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 

~Ephesians 5:15-17, ESV

I appreciate messages, books, and sermons in the month of January that remind me to take time to evaluate and plan.  I do want to make the most of my time---or rather, His time, which I am a steward of.  I LOVE planning and thinking and I never seem to think there is enough time for it.  As much as I thrive on it, there are times and seasons where I feel like I just can't squeeze it in to busy days and I try to tell myself it will be okay.  But my spirit gets cluttered and pretty soon everything is out-of-focus and my vision is blurry.  I really need to preserve time for planning and evaluating--in order to hear from the Lord, prioritize, be renewed in vision and spirit so that I can joyfully keep on giving.  At the beginning of a new year I am considering how to spend our time and days this year.  I am reading a delightful little book, Shopping for Time, by Carolyn Mahaney and daughters.  I'm finding it such a helpful little read from this wise woman as she has discipled her daughters in how to look carefully, evaluate, and redeem the time.

One of their tips is to "Sit and Plan."  In other words, to take a planning retreat--be it a night or weekend away, or just a few hours.  Sally Clarkson often talks about this as well.  I have heard her "voice" reminding me that I need to do what is necessary for me to keep on going.  I need to protect that vision and joy so that I will persevere and not give up on my ideals or become complacent (or just plain not very fun to be around).  I cannot do anything in my own strength and this becomes readily apparent when I start operating without taking time to be still--to sit and plan.

" we can't afford to put off charting a course for life's seasons because we are too busy.  The pressures of life are, in fact, the very reason we need to sit and plan."
~Carolyn Mahaney, Shopping for Time
The authors remind us that Jesus withdrew from ministry at set times to pray and discern the Father's will (Luke 5:15-16).  I like to think of it this way:

To advance in the battle we need times of retreat 

I took such an opportunity this week as Warrior and all children, except baby, headed to the mountains for some snow play.  Oh, it was delightful to enjoy a quiet house and I could feel myself being filled up!  Thoughts started flowing as I read, considered the Word, and listened (and wasn't interrupted).  I finished putting my planner together, being content to put together my own this year in a format that works for me.  It was all just so encouraging and so fruitful, for just the few short hours they were.

I am hoping to preserve more consistent planning retreats this year--on a weekly basis would be nice.  I have heard the following quote repeatedly for the past several years (and again in the January sermon I was privileged to hear recently), an find it to be true and helpful:
Write down what you believe to be the will of God in a place where you can see it in time to take obedient action.
~Gregg Harris 

This is really the only way I can see any progress on my goals.  Otherwise, they end up buried in "my brain" (aka personal planner) and I easily forget them.

May you be encouraged to take some time to sit and plan at the Master's feet.  I believe you will be refreshed and rewarded with joy and perseverance to live out your days well by glorifying God and enjoying Him forever.

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