Thursday, December 19, 2013

Productive Distractions

“Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Watch the path of your feet and all your ways will be established.” (Proverbs 4:25–26, NASB95)

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33, NASB95)

Many years ago I used a term when teaching time management to commissioned sales people whose days were flexible and varied. The term was “productive procrastination,” and it was used to refer to those little often unnecessary things that we do in order to avoid the other more necessary things. I am a time management and to-do list kind of kind of person. When I wore a watch it was one that had an analog (dial with hands) face so that I could look at its pie-like dial and slice my day up into its various pieces.

On one side of doing this there was a tendency toward rigidity, but on the other side there was an awareness of the time I had available and the things I had scheduled to do. This provided me with an ability to get through my day more productively, paying attention to the big things and not letting the little ones swallow up my time. It also provided another benefit which I really came to appreciate, which was the ability to adjust my day when something else came along that needed my attention. With this picture in my mind (and my Daytimer or whatever scheduler I was using at the time) I was quickly able to reassess what truly was most important and shed that which could be pushed away to a later, more convenient time. This included not letting the business of my schedule during those seasons to hinder what a friend of my told me I needed more of which was spontaneity. Yes, I even put that into my scheduler—planned spontaneity and I learned to practice it to varying degrees and at various times better than others.

Participating in productive procrastination, on the other hand, generally came about because there was no picture of the bigger things and how everything fit into the day, or because there was an unwillingness to focus on those bigger things and a subtle sense of feeling good by at least tackling the smaller less significant ones. This does not mean that one is exclusively good and the other is exclusively bad, but it does point to that tendency in most of us to wander unless we focus our attention.

Being extremely one way or the other around people who tend to be the opposite can generate friction at times. It can create friction between husbands and wives, but it can also create friction in our walk with God. Being to the point and task oriented can lead to us to a what we have to get done focus in such a way that we even approach God as another thing to get accomplished and checked off of our list. Being unscheduled and meandering can also lead to wandering in our time with Him and even not spending time with Him because it is not gotten around to because we did not make Him a priority in our lives.

I’ve lived most of my life in the first area spoken about, but I’ve also lived seasons in the later. In both of them I’ve been challenged to combine both diligence and fluidity in seeking Him, reading His Word and hiding it in my heart, meditating on Him and His Word throughout the day, and being sensitive to the leading of His Spirit. I am continuing to learn how to practice living in His presence in the midst of whatever might be going on in my life, of learning to look to Him and depend on Him when I am busy and learning to come before Him and trust Him when I am not. I’ve learned and continue to learn anew that what I thought was mine is really His, and it is imperative that I seek His leading in all things.

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:25–34, NASB95)

“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice,” (Psalm 95:1–7, ESV)

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (12/19)

Do not be weighed down by the clutter in your life: lots of little chores to do sometime, in no particular order. If you focus too much on these petty tasks, trying to get them all out of the way, you will discover that they are endless. They can eat up as much time as you devote to them.

Instead of trying to do all your chores at once, choose the ones that need to be done today. Let the rest slip into the background of your mind, so I can be in the forefront of your awareness. Remember that your ultimate goal is living close to Me, being responsive to My initiatives. I can communicate with you most readily when your mind is uncluttered and turned toward me. Seek My face continually throughout this day. Let My Presence bring order to your thoughts, infusing Peace into your entire being.

“Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16:3, NASB95)

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33, NASB95)

No comments: