As you know I am currently on vacation in Australia, having a great time with family and friends but also taking time to refocus and rethink where I am at and what I want to accomplish in the coming years. I thought that some of you might appreciate the process I am going through and encourage you to consider a similar evaluation on your own life every few years.
I have started with the following questions:
- What’s driving you? What are the major stresses in my life and how does this compare to 5 years ago? There is pressure on all of us to work harder and longer than we have in the past and I must confess I often succumb to this pressure. There is even greater pressure to stay connected no matter where we are and what we are doing.
- How do I control these pressures rather than letting them control me? It is easy to assume that life pressures are unavoidable and we often do little to overcome them. Intentionality and discipline are the two words that come to my mind, Oh and that little word NO too. Often we face unnecessary stress because we are unwilling to say no to the good things we are asked to do that are not really part of God’s plan for us.
- What sets the rhythm of my life? At least once a year I like to sit down and go over my daily, weekly and yearly schedule trying to determine what sets the patten of my life and time commitments. Being away from my usual routine as I am now is an ideal time to do this. I find that in the demands of my busy world God’s priorities can easily get pushed to the margins without my even noticing. Spending time with God becomes less important than doing things for God.
- What kind of rhythms does God intend for my life? As I start on this reflective exercise it is always good to remind myself that God does not intend me to lead an overburdened and stressed out life. I love to meditate on Matthew 11:28-30 as my starting place and want to suggest you spend time reflecting on these words too.. Listen to how it is translated in The Message
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Over the next few days I intend to look at the life of Jesus and how he set his priorities. If as these verses imply, Jesus does not give us heavy burdens to carry, where do our heavy burdens come from? He carried the weight of the world on his shoulders yet rarely seemed stressed out and over busy. He had time for prayer. He had time for friends. And he had time for all that God called him to do. Perhaps we really can learn to live freely and lightly jsut as he did.