A week or more ago the world experienced the longest day of the year (in the Northern hemisphere - thanks Jon!). Most of the day went along without me even taking notice that the Summer Solstice was being spent, the hours being burnt away while I was happily oblivious to the fact. It was a great day, with a delicate balance of rest, play time with the family, a bit of ‘daddy’ time on his laptop, a walk in our local forest with our dog and dinner outside on our patio. As the day wound down and I headed to bed, it finally occurred to me that June 21st was the longest day of the year and I felt it had been spent well.
That feeling of heading to bed well rested, well played (out), well fed and all with a happy heart is not my usual experience. Most days I find myself pressing the pedal to the floor in an effort to squeeze every available minute out of the day and use it well (productively). I usually struggle to just chill and intentionally be non-productive even when I don’t have to be. As I sit here in my living room on a Friday night near the end of June, I must admit that there are other things I would rather be doing than writing an article, but I feel the need to be responsible and fulfill a commitment I’ve made to myself and Risen to write. Not to say that I don’t enjoy it - it just takes discipline!
As I lay there in bed after the longest day of the year had passed, I realized that most of my days do not end in this way. I often hit the bed somewhat reluctantly, wishing I had more time in the day and more energy to be about all the creative ventures I have in my heart and head. This is not a good way to live life. There is a reason God has given us a certain number of hours and a specific amount of energy to expend each day. We are finite and have limitations (in spite of my regular attempts to prove this incorrect), but God has offered some of His infinite resources to us - not to diminish our human boundaries, but to complement them. If we believe in a God who is good through and through (even in the midst of life’s most trying experiences), then we must conclude that He not only keeps us from being tempted beyond what we can handle, He also gives us just what we need to be about all He asks of us for each day. Hmmmm, I smell Truth nearby . . .
So, if in creating the world, God built in a framework or limits for how I can exist in health and happiness with my fellow human beings, then it’s I who must change rather than demanding more. Even on the longest day of the year most of us would hit the bed feeling there weren’t enough hours in the day. The truth is - there are. Therefore, it’s up to each one of us to learn how to manage ourselves, the resources at our fingertips and the day we’re given - not to get as much done as we possibly can, but to live well and live free of the tyranny of the urgent. I struggle with this, but I know it is true. This kind of living requires a double dose of discernment and discipline. Discernment helps us to choose wisely that which we commit ourselves to and that to which we say no. It also helps us to prioritize those people and projects we’re committed to. Discipline on the other hand helps us give each investment of ourselves whole-hearted attention and sufficient time. Discipline is what helps us move intention into reality. It’s the mid-wife of our aspirations and dreams.
In the early years of my thirties I began reflecting on my life; how fast it was moving, the people that meant the most to me and the dreams that I had experienced becoming reality along with those I had yet to. I felt that no matter how much more life I was given, I wanted to live it better than the first thirty years. I wanted to become a better steward of all that God had graced me with, including my time, my strength, physical resources, my work, passions, gifts and my relationships. In order for this to happen I entered into a time of intense reflection and honest assessment of my life. I considered what I would need to accomplish my desire to live life more efficiently, more healthily . . to the full. I’d need regular doses of truth (the Scriptures are a mirror for my soul), a supportive wife and great friends to keep me in check. So began an attempt to discover life to the full that Jesus spoke of in John 10:10. I can say without any reservation that it will take the rest of my life to learn how to live it well, but I’m committed to the process and it feels right. The journey takes a turn toward the horizon of possibilities and I believe I’m heading the right direction.
Are you ready for a change?===============================
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