productivity

Do you ever feel as if you are living life on fast-forward? Do you ever feel as if you are constantly bouncing from one project to the next, one message to the next, one app to the next, one meeting to the next?

In our fast-paced world we tend to value speed, intensity, and productivity. And recently I’ve tried to rethink how I can be more effective and productive in the various spheres of my life: husband, father, pastor, writer, professor, friend, disciple-maker. While away last week with my family, I received a reminder from the Lord about what’s truly important in life.

Here are the three lessons I believe the Lord was teaching me from my time away.

  1. Pause. Close your eyes. Take a nap. Go away. Guess what? The world will go on just fine when you are on pause. Yes, there are things God has assigned for you to do. Yes, you have a responsibility to be productive and faithful for the glory of God. But thank heavens you and I are not irreplaceable to God’s plans of redemption and salvation in the world. God gave us the gift of Sabbath (day of rest) to remind us of the importance of pausing and resting. When we pause and rest, we give ourselves the opportunity to exercise our trust muscles that the Lord has everything handled in life.
  2. Pray. I am naturally analytical and a people pleaser. It is my tendency to do. Maybe you’re like me. Or maybe you’re very different. However you and I are designed, we often find it easier to do than to pray. Unfortunately, we feel as if prayer is passive when we ought to be active. The opposite is true. To pray is to actively exhibit trust in God who is able to do far more than we can do.
  3. Pay Attention. In my quiet time yesterday, I read from Acts 20. When talking to the elders and leaders of the Ephesian church, Paul said this, “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). You and I are responsible for our spiritual lives. When we get distracted from the importance of our walk with God, we have a tendency to lose sight of what matters most. Pastors are responsible to pay attention to their own spiritual lives as well as those they shepherd. This verse reminds us that we should take spiritual inventory of how we are doing in our walk with Christ.

So this week, make time for these spiritual disciplines.

Pause. Make time in your day to rest. Take a deep breath or a walk. Go for a hike or a swim. Get away from the hustle and bustle, and remember what is important.

Pray. Make time time in your day to pray and to think. Don’t go another minute without bringing your burden to the Lord. Talk to God. Listen to him speak through his Word. Trust him to handle that situation that’s bigger than you.

Pay Attention. Make time in your day to inventory your spiritual life. Are there sins you need to confess? Habits you need to break or add? Relationships you need restored? Be attentive to yourself and those around you.

Turn these actions into spiritual habits.

You are your habits.

So what are you doing regularly? What would your spouse, kids, and friends say about your habits and practices? Would they say you know how to pause, to pray, and to pay attention? Or would they have to say that you are bustling from one thing to the next constantly frazzled by the busyness of life?

Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash