- “No, I haven’t prayed about this—it isn’t that important, after all.”
- “I don’t want to bother God.”
- “I’m sure God has more important things to take care of than my little problem.”
Have you ever heard someone say any of these things? Have you?
As finite human beings, it is difficult for us to conceive of an all-powerful, omniscient God. We get overwhelmed—people constantly make demands on us, our calendars are full, and we just don’t have the time or energy to deal with every little issue that comes up. Moreover, when we’re so swamped ourselves, we have a hard time caring about the minutia of other peoples’ lives. Let them deal with their own problems—we have enough of our own.
I read a good book last week: Women Who Do Too Much: How to Stop Doing It All and Start Enjoying Your Life, by Patricia Sprinkle. I chose this book because I met the author at our yearly ministry retreat. She was both interesting and engaging, and I expected the same from her writing. I wasn’t disappointed.
As you might expect, this book focuses on ways to declutter your life. Unlike many of the time management solutions available, Sprinkle’s advice is based on Scripture—she starts and ends with prayer and the word of God. This is advice you can trust.
Jump out of bed. Throw on workout clothes. Fry egg, drink tea, spend ten minutes reading the end of Colossians. Rush out the door, head for Curves. Dive into my 30 minute workout; spend 15 more stretching, then cool down for half an hour while chatting with some very interesting ladies. Drive home, clean up, throw on clean clothes. Write blog post, run out door for appointment downtown.
And on and on it goes.
How in the world did I get so busy? Why do I have so little time? And I only work part time! What if I had a job that took up 40 hours a week—or more?
It’s not just me. Everyone I know seems to be running at top speed. We fill our calendars then wonder why we feel so stressed. It’s an epidemic.
Due to a God-arranged series of events, I was recently offered a free membership at our local Curves, the “gym” for women. Since I had been praying for some way to get into better shape (although, as I’ve often heard, “round” is a shape), I eagerly accepted.
A little context: In grade school, back when the kids still chose up teams, I was the stereotypical “last kid” nobody wanted. I passed high school P.E. by showing up with a freshly washed uniform every Monday. If a sport involves any sort of ball, from ping pong to softball, I’m worse than pathetic. In fact, my 11th grade tennis teacher told me I was so hopeless, I would never learn to play tennis. I’d like tell you the story of how that comment inspired me to become a skilled tennis player, but God frowns on lying.
Waking to the insistent beeping of my alarm clock, I groggily thought, “I have got to learn to say no!”
Usually, life ambles along at a fairly reasonable pace. There are brief stretches when we’re too busy, and even briefer stretches where I have enough spare time that I consider adding another responsibility, but for the most part, I have a good balance between working hard and relaxing, with plenty of time for contemplating God at work in my life.
Lately, all that balance has come crashing down on the side of overload.
There’s work to attend to, housework needs doing, and I’m spending far more time than I had anticipated on a photography class I’m taking. The perennials out in the yard are clamoring for me to clean off last year’s winter-killed stems and leaves, and the vegetable seeds I ordered need planting.