“The decisions you make determine the schedule you keep. The schedule you keep determines the life you live. And how you live your life determines how you spend your soul”. – Lysa TerKeurst
I will be the first to admit that I have gotten used to living a life that is marked by jumping from one activity to the next. Gym, shower, work, catch up with friends, study, dinner, repeat—with hardly a moment to take a breath in between. The occasions where it has become abundantly clear to me that this pattern does not work have not been peaceful “aha” moments. The revelation that I’ve accepted too much on my plate has come in moments where I’ve felt over stretched, worn out, and frustrated. When we’re constantly buried under the schedule we’ve chosen to keep, it’s easy get accustomed to this feeling of being overcommitted and mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausted. So how does this all change?
We have to be intentional
When we are seeking God’s will for our lives by spending time with Him in the word and in prayer, we can be more aware of where God is leading us. The knowledge of where God is leading us can help us to ask and answer the following question: “Is this opportunity in line with the direction in which God is leading me?” We can find ourselves feeling as though we are going in fruitless circles when we are not being intentional about where we are spending our time. We must be intentional if we are going to walk in our purpose.
We have to prioritize
What has been most difficult for me is accepting that sometimes we have to say no to good opportunities so that we can say yes to great opportunities. I think it’s easy to say no to things that are clearly not for us. But what about those times when an opportunity comes along that sounds good in itself? In these cases, we must go back to being intentional about how we are stewarding our time—when we say yes to one thing, we are simultaneously saying no to something else. The author, Lysa TerKeurst, eloquently expresses this idea by stating, “Whenever you say yes to something, there is less of you for something else. Make sure your yes is worth the less.” When we look at our schedules, we should frequently assess whether we have the time and energy to devote to our priorities.
We can’t be afraid to say no
The desire to please others may make it difficult for us to say no to those opportunities that are good in nature but not right for us for whatever reason. Colossians 3:23 serves as a reminder that whatever we do in life should be done for God and not for men. In those times where we find it challenging to say no, we can be encouraged by reminding ourselves that our obedience is to God and not to our friends, family, or coworkers. When we’ve taken the time to be intentional about spending time with the Lord and have devoted time to stewarding our priorities, we can find peace in knowing that our no can provide someone else with the opportunity to say yes.
Ultimately, it is up to each one of us to decide if we are going to allow our schedules to run us or if we are going to run our schedules. We are all accountable for the way we steward our time. For those who feel overwhelmed by the demands of life, the good news is that Jesus offers us rest if we will run to him (Matthew 11:28). Nothing is too big for Him. Take a moment to rest in the fact that we do not have to work to earn His acceptance; we’ve already been accepted. God has not called us to live busy lives; he has called us to lives that are fruitful!
We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. Colossians 1:9-12 (NIV)