Slow down! (2)

Romans 12:2 NLT

Our high-tech society is producing stressed-out people. Next year we will have even less time because statistically for every hour technology saves you, it consumes two more. Author Keri Wyatt Kent writes: “Every time you say ‘yes’ to something, you’re saying ‘no’ to other options. Activity cloaked in ‘Christian window-dressing,’ is still activity. Don’t copy the behavior…of this world; our world is hurried. Take time to listen and care. The hallmark of a Christian is love, and you can’t love in a hurry.”

So to slow down you need to: (1) Simplify your life. “Don’t fuss about what’s on the table…or whether [your] clothes…are in fashion” (Matthew 6:25 TM). Put God first and everything else will follow. When Marlene Eissens decided to switch careers, she set out for grad school with only the stuff she could fit in her car. Today she’s in ministry. She has a house, but resists filling it, and anything she hasn’t used for six months goes to charity. She says, “I feel real freedom because with less stuff I’m free to focus on God.”

(2) Keep the Sabbath. Todd Gitlin says, “We’re a nerve-wracked society. We have difficulty sitting back and thinking of the purpose of what we do.” Set aside at least one day a week to rest, spend time with your loved ones, and fellowship with your church family.

(3) “Be satisfied with…[what you have]” (Hebrews 13:5 AMPC). You’ll still be tempted to hurry and wish for more or nicer stuff, but you’ll grow closer to God by making more space in your life for Him. As J. I. Packer says, “We dishonour God when we proclaim a Saviour who satisfies and then go around discontent.”

Soul food: Josh 1; Ps 27:11-14; 2 Tim 2:1-13

Slow down! (1)

Philippians 3:13 NLT

We live in the day of multitasking. We talk on the phone, apply makeup, drink coffee, eat lunch, feed the kids, and even read text messages while barreling down the highway. Dr. Richard Swenson says: “In some instances we are more productive…some people crochet while watching the news. And in certain jobs it’s considered necessary; clerks on the Stock Exchange floor are required to run around doing five things at once. But isn’t it bizarre that when a 48-year-old broker drops dead, his colleagues keep working around the lifeless body receiving CPR?

The dramatic escalation of busyness has given us too much to do in a short time. The standard strategy…instead of refusing to take on more…is to do two, three, or four things at once. It’s an extension of the do-more-and-more-with-less-and-less philosophy. But someone forgot to do the math! By doing two things at once you divert 30 percent of your attention from the primary task; you sacrifice quality for quantity, which leads to more errors. You may end up finishing more tasks, but with poorer products and frazzled nerves. The downside of multitasking isn’t well-advertised…so we keep experimenting to see how far we can push the envelope.

However, when it comes to relationships, multitasking can be disastrous. We don’t listen…it takes too much time. Families need focus…babies need what they need when they need it. You either parent them or you don’t.

Paul didn’t live like that. He focused ‘on…one thing,’ which was the person in front of him.” A dog has four feet, but it doesn’t try to walk down four roads! So slow down and establish a pace that’s sane and sustainable.

Soul food: 2 Chr 32-34; John 14:15-25; Ps 118:19-29; Prov 28:5-8

Draai briek aan! (1)

Filippense 3:13 NLV

Ons lewe in die dae van ‘multitasking’. Ons praat op die foon, sit grimering aan, drink koffie, eet middagete, voer die kinders en lees selfs teksboodskappe terwyl ons by die hoofweg afjaag. Dr Richard Swenson sê: ‘In sommige gevalle is ons meer produktief. Sommige mense hekel terwyl hulle nuus kyk. In sommige werke word dit as noodsaaklik gesien; klerke op die vloer van die aandelemark moet rondhardloop terwyl hulle vyf dinge gelyk doen. Is dit egter nie bisar dat wanneer ‘n 48-jarige makelaar dood neerslaan, sy kollegas aanhou om rondom sy lewelose liggaam te werk terwyl hy noodhulp ontvang nie?

Die dramatiese eskalasie van besig wees het ons te veel dinge gegee om in ‘n te kort tyd te doen. Die standaard strategie is om twee, drie of selfs vier dinge op ‘n slag te doen, in plaas daarvan om te weier om meer dinge op jou skouers te neem. Iemand het egter vergeet om die somme te maak! Deur twee dinge gelyk te doen, word 30 persent van jou aandag van die primêre taak afgetrek; jy offer kwaliteit vir kwantiteit op, wat tot meer foute lei. Jy mag dalk meer take klaarmaak, maar met slegter resultate en senuwees wat gedaan is.

Wanneer dit egter by verhoudings kom, kan ‘multitasking’ rampspoedig wees. Ons luister nie, want dit neem te veel tyd. Families het fokus nodig, babas het dinge dadelik nodig wanneer hulle dit nodig het. Jy voed hulle op, of jy doen dit nie.

Paulus het nie so gelewe nie. Een ding op ‘n slag was vir hom belangrik – die persoon voor hom.’ ‘n Hond het vier voete, maar probeer nie op vier verskillende paaie loop nie. Draai dus briek aan en vestig ‘n pas wat verstandig en volhoubaar is.

Sielskos: 2 Kro 32-34; Joh 14:15-25; Ps 118:19-29; Spr 28:5-8

Slow down (1)

Luke 10:41 NIV

We live in a world full of multitasking. We can be drinking our to-go coffee while driving. We can be carrying on a text conversation while sitting in a lecture or a meeting. We can be playing a game while eating lunch. We tend to do just about everything with our phones close by so we can keep checking them for messages.

We might think that doing several different tasks at once helps us to be productive. And sometimes that’s true – if there’s a task you hate, like cooking or washing the car, doing something like catching up with your favourite podcast at the same time can make the job seem easier and more enjoyable.

God’s given us the ability to multitask, so we shouldn’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing, but we need to be careful how we use it. God’s also given us the ability to focus, but multitasking can lead to us losing concentration, making mistakes, and taking even more time than if we’d done each thing separately. Multitasking can also lead us to lose focus on the one thing we should constantly look to: God.

When Jesus visited Martha and Mary, Martha was concerned that she got everything right and made her guest feel welcome. While she was busy with all the preparations, Jesus said to her: ‘Martha, Martha…you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better’ (Luke 10:41-42 NIV). Mary had chosen to focus on Jesus and what He was saying, whereas Martha was continuing with work. While work is important, there are times when we need to slow down, focus, and give God our full attention.

2 Chr 32-34; John 14:15-25; Ps 118:19-29; Prov 28:5-8

Self-focus or Christ-focus? (5)

Isaiah 58:5 NIV

God never commanded us to become obsessed with examining our emotions, experiences, or sins. What He did say is, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’ (John 1:29 ESV). Victory over sin comes from focusing on Christ – not from beating ourselves up!

In the Old Testament the Israelites reached a place of despair. They’d fasted and humbled themselves, but God ignored their efforts. They searched for spiritual restoration in their own self-directed way, and God rejected it, saying: ‘Is this the kind of fast I have chosen…for people to humble themselves…bowing one’s head like a reed…in sackcloth and ashes? Is that…acceptable to the Lord?’ God’s clearly not pleased with the misery that comes from self-focus.

He has a more effective way to free us. Rather than have us weighed down with remorse, He said: ‘Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice…set the oppressed free…break every yoke…share your food with the hungry…provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not…turn away from your own flesh and blood?’ (Isaiah 58:6-7 NIV).

God’s way eliminates any danger of becoming fixated on self-analysis by commanding us to stop dwelling on our imperfections and get involved in the lives and needs of others. His plan for overcoming our old fleshly natures is: 1) Acknowledge His grace and see ourselves as ‘righteous’ in Christ. 2) Fix our eyes on Jesus. 3) Reject obsessive self-focus. 4) Serve God by serving others. When we do all these things, ‘Your light will rise in the darkness…The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs…and will strengthen your frame’ (vv. 10-11 NIV).

2 Chr 29-31; John 14:1-14; Ps 118:10-18; Prov 28:1-4