Christian Living

Staying Balanced

One of my friends recently posted something on Facebook along the lines of “I wonder what the people who use ‘u’ and ‘ur’ are doing with all their extra time.” My husband and I chuckled over it, but then we started talking about technology and how it’s all supposed to save us time. Unfortunately, all that extra time never seems to materialize.

I’ve been thinking about that this week because my phone died unexpectedly. Three days of phonelessness has been… eye-opening and difficult. I’m surprised by how cut off I feel even though I still have my computer. I’ve also been surprised by how many times a day I reach for my phone to check something–our bank accounts, the weather, how platypuses lay eggs (or other school-related queries), my texts… well, you get the picture.

I know I am always trying to come up with ways to save time. I often rush through my day so I’ll have more time at the end. Granted, having more time to work my novel almost always puts a smile on my face. But, on the other hand, why rush? I’m frantically trying to finish my fantasy novel so I can start writing my next book next year. It’s a little silly.

In Tools of Titans, Derek Silvers talked with Tim Ferriss about his experience riding his bike (190). He would ride his bike on this path that was by the ocean every day. He’d pedal as hard as he could and then turn around and rush back and it always took him 43 minutes. But after a while, he started to hate his ride–which wasn’t what he wanted. So, he decided to just enjoy his ride. He watched the seagulls and other ocean life. He paused when he got to his turn around point. He enjoyed his ride back. And then he checked the time and discovered it only took him 45 minutes.

We live in a society where it’s acceptable and expected to rush, but are we really accomplishing that much with all our rushing? Does all our technology really add that much time to our lives?

I’ve definitely found that I’m more productive when I’m calm vs. rushing. I’m also finding that being phone-less has forced me to  be more intentional about what information I’m looking up. I’ve gotten so used to having the internet at my fingertips. But now, sharing one computer between the four of us, I have to weigh whether it’s really worth it or not to remember to look something up later and take the time to do it.

I recently started Beth Moore’s study Entrusted: 2 Timothy. I’m really enjoying it! One thing that struck me about 2 Timothy 3:1-5 is that the world is going crazy and will only get crazier. It’s easy to get weighed down in the current insanity that’s politics in our country or all the “wars and rumors of wars” or the small stressors that are closer to home (like having to buy a new phone). But we’re called to stand (Eph. 6:13) in the middle of that–not to get sucked into the busy, rushing, crazy.

I love that! I mean, it’s one of those things that’s easy to say and hard to do, but I love that we aren’t supposed to run around and fix things. We just have to hang onto our own balance. Physically, we have about three inches of space where we’re balanced. Balance is not hanging onto acres of area around us–or even the amount of space most of us have for our personal bubble. Spiritually, balance is all about hanging onto who God is and who we are in Him.

So how about you guys? What do you do to hang onto balance and/or keep from being sucked into rushing?

Christian Living

Following the Plan

Getting back into a routine has been rough. My darling children are tired and fussy post-camp so school has been a stretch this week. I have to admit that weeks like this make me feel like I’m on a hamster wheel–I have a hard time seeing progress. I’m tired of being sick and having chronic fatigue. I feel like my fantasy novel won’t ever be done (despite the fact that I hit 200,000 words last week–woohoo!). Evan and I have been working on a podcast which I will definitely be telling you guys all about once we start posting it. But progress is slow. Some days it feels so slow as to be nonexistent.

I was encouraged though that God has a plan. A plan to me involves a timeline or a path traveled–in other words, it’s progress.

2 Timothy 1:9 says that God gave us His grace before creation because of his purpose and grace. Check out this super awesome definition from The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament for the Greek word for “purpose”–prosthesis: “a setting forth, presentation, an exposition, determination, plan, or will. It involves purpose, resolve, and design. A placing in view or openly displaying something” (Spiros Zodhiates, 1219).

Purpose, resolve, and design. God’s grace isn’t on accident. It isn’t about staying in one place. And it has design–which to me means that it’s beautiful. Maybe not easy. Life is rarely easy. Although, as Jerzy Gregorek says, “easy choices, hard life; hard choices, easy life.” So life can definitely be easier. And it’s not worthless.

1 Cor. 15:58 is one of those verses I cling to. It says, “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (NIV). How fabulous is that?! Whenever we’re giving ourselves to God’s labor, when we’re building where He’s building, it’s never a waste of time. We’re never actually on a hamster wheel.

And I love the resolve because that reminds me that God never gives up on us. He’s working His plan and He’ll do it until the day Jesus returns (Phil 1:6).

So if you’re in a place where you’re feeling a little stuck or maybe frustrated with how little progress there is, let me encourage you: God has a plan even when we can’t see it. He is the God who changes hearts, who drags us along when we ask Him to. No matter what you’re going through, God can transform it into something amazing–He’s the God of full redemption (Ps. 130:7), not partial redemption. There are no hamster wheels in His economy.

If you’re stuck because you’re not surrendering to Him, well, maybe you should check out this video by Tim Ferriss about Fear Setting. In my life, a lack of surrender has always come back to some fear–whether it’s fear of what God’s asking me to do or fear of what He might ask me to do or fear of losing myself, etc., etc., etc. But, when you do the last step of Tim Ferriss’ Fear Setting–which is to write down where you’ll be in 6 months, 1 year, and 3 years, I can guarantee the results of not surrendering are way worse than the results of surrendering. It’s just nice to see it in black and white, or whatever color ink you use.