Thursday, July 26, 2007

Hit the Brakes (March 2007 article)

Virtually all of us are plagued by activity – we are going going going, never slowing slowing slowing. And, for many of us, our activity is the area from which we draw our identity. It’s when we are “busy” that we feel the most alive, the most important. But, we cannot confuse activity with accomplishment. Unfortunately, many of us do just that. We cram our calendars, day-timers, PDA’s, computers, and cell phones with innumerable activities. It’s no wonder we often feel there’s not enough time in the day, and why we wind up cheating ourselves and our families out of precious moments we’ll never get back.

A friend of mine recently made a great point as it pertains to our tendency to become inundated with myriad tasks and activities. He mentioned a famous quotation, which states that “we are human beings, not human doings.” When’s the last time YOU were a human BEING? If you’re having a tough time remembering, join the club. There is a way out of this cycle, believe it or not. It’s not a silver bullet that will wipe our collective slates clean. But, there are some things we can do to recapture focus and find that much-needed balance we so desperately need.

In The Life You’ve Always Wanted, my favorite author, John Ortberg, states that we “must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from our lives.” It’s a sobering thought, isn’t it? Can you imagine being able to eliminate hurry from your life? Can you see a day when you actually feel like you can take your sweet time in completing a project? How about errands? We RUN errands. Has anyone ever said, “I’ve got to go. I have several errands to casually stroll”? But it can be done – if we choose to do it. We must be deliberate and disciplined.

The second thing we need to do is an “ego check.” We have a false sense of self-worth that is based primarily on what we do, and how much we do. If someone asks us, “What did you do today?” we feel like we have to come up with an impressive answer. We’re concerned that we won’t measure up if we just say, “not much” or “I just sat around and relaxed and read a book.” I find myself starting to answer that very question by saying something like, “My day was crazy” or “You won’t believe how hectic…” When we place value on our relationships more than our tasks, we begin to see through a completely different set of lenses.

Finally, we need to evaluate our purpose. While taking an inventory of our schedules, and protecting and prioritizing our calendars are essential to a well-ordered life, it’s really secondary to discovering your true purpose in LIFE. In his phenomenally successful book The Purpose-Driven Life, Rick Warren begins with these four penetrating words: “It’s not about you.” He continues in Chapter One by saying “you were made by God and for God – and until you understand that, life will never make sense.”

Do you know your purpose? Is your life all about you? Is it about spreading yourself out tissue-paper thin, or trying to impress others? Or, do you have a firm grip on the One who brought you into this amazing journey called life? If not, He’s reaching out right now, straining with every fiber of his infinitely glorious being to grab a hold of you.

If you’re really looking to find something worthwhile to do – turn to Him. Whether you’ve never known Him, or whether He’s your best friend, He’s near to you this very moment. Don’t miss this chance to discover the treasures He has prepared for you at His fingertips.

“Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!” – Genesis 28:16 (NLT)

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