by Martha Matthews
“How can I be better organized”?
“How can I use my time more wisely?”
“What new technique can I use to bring some balance into my life?”
These are some of the questions I ask myself as I pour over my “To Do” list. In a typical day I can have a list of at least ten tasks that need to accomplished; each just as important as the next. Sometimes I get overwhelmed because there is so much to do. At other times I am frustrated and just plain mad. I am tired of being the chauffer, cook and laundry maid. I want to have some fun! If this scenario sounds familiar then let me share with you what God has been teaching me about schedules.
1. What’s at the Top of Your “To Do” List?
Have you ever had a day where you felt that everything depended on you? Martha was having that kind of day. She had invited Jesus and his twelve disciples over for dinner. That meant she had a lot of preparations to make. Because of all the work involved with entertaining this large group of people, Martha was very upset that her sister Mary wasn’t helping her. In Martha’s mind taking care of her guests was more important than listening to Jesus teach—she could listen to Jesus later. She felt perfectly content with putting the Lord at the bottom of her list of priorities. The result of that decision was that she led a “worried and upset” life.
Martha was focused on the details of the dinner and not on the One for whom she was making dinner. Martha was like many of us. We have our schedules set up for the day, week, month, and year. We work so hard at being organized and productive, but where is God on our list of priorities? Shouldn’t our relationship with Him be at the top of our list? When was the last time you got up early in the morning just to spend some quality time with God? Are you distracted by all the things you need to do?
Mary had her priorities straight. She understood that a relationship with the Lord was the most important thing. That is why she was sitting at the Lord’s feet soaking up his every word. It reminds me of the scripture that says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21). Where is your heart?
2. Pray About Your Schedule
Psalm 143:8 “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” (NIV)
As I have been growing in the area of relying on God, he has shown me that I need to go to Him each day for help with my schedule. As I pray, I humbly acknowledge that it is His day and not mine. I ask Him to rearrange or clear my schedule so that I can do what He wants me to do. I can’t tell you how many times I have prayed like this and God has moved mountains from my schedule. I have had appointments be rescheduled and deadlines extended. I have found ways to do a job faster, found that I could put a job off to another day and had a friend call offering to watch my son for an afternoon. All these things have happened AFTER I have prayed. I am learning that I need to do this every day and not just when things get crazy. It is His schedule, not mine. No matter how efficient I make my schedule, I have to remember that He is in control and I am not.
3. Pray Throughout the Day
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Our day rarely goes the way we thought it would. Emergencies come up, appointments get cancelled, people let us down and plans change. It can be very challenging to meet the needs of your family when things get tossed up in the air. You think you have everything covered and then it all falls apart. That is why I love the scripture referenced above. It shows me how to handle every change in my schedule—pray continually!
When a challenge comes my way, I stop and ask God for direction. I ask Him how He wants me to handle things. He always provides an answer.
4. Don’t Rely on Yourself
When things are going well with my schedule and I am able to accomplish all my chores, errands and appointments, I tend to drift away from depending on God. Just like the Israelites, I become self-reliant and prideful. “I have it all covered. No need to worry. I am in control.”
It is easy for me to drift away from depending on God when I am not spending time with Him each day. God in His infinite wisdom always brings me back to Him using a little bit of chaos to show me my need. I’ll be cruising along with “my” agenda leading the way and something will happen that throws me off track. God makes it very clear that I am being self-reliant and not God-reliant. When I come to my senses I get down on my knees and pray for Him to lead the way.
When I take my schedule to God in prayer every day, I am like the tree planted by the stream. My load is lightened because God is taking care of all the details. I am free from worry. When I rely on myself I become frustrated and impatient. Then I am that bush in the wasteland. I won’t see any prosperity coming my way even if it is delivered to my doorstep in a gift wrapped package. All I see is the insurmountable obstacles in my way. I don’t see God because I am not praying. I am not praying because I am too busy trying to fix things myself. Does this sound familiar to you?
5. Don’t Worry About What People Think
Hebrews 13:6 “So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
It is easy to get caught up in what other people think about how we use our time. “Am I doing the right thing? What will my friends think? Will they approve?” You only need to worry about what God thinks. You only need His approval. Do what is right and leave the details up to God.
Now I don’t want you to think that you don’t need to be organized or have a schedule. The point I am trying to make is that we need God’s direction. Schedules, agendas and “To Do” lists are just tools to help us be good stewards with our time. Let God decide what tasks are most important.
More scripture to meditate on:
Mark 3:34-35 2
Corinthians 8:5 1