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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Making time for the important things

One of the most important things that came out of the retreat was a renewed focus on God. After spending forty hours of doing nothing other than contemplating the Lord, it's hard not to think about priorities. We watched a Rob Bell video on noise, and the thing that struck me was one of the questions he asked about what we're filling our time with.

I've been frustrated lately because I haven't had time for Bible study. I'd planned for my evenings, after everyone's in bed, to spend that time with the Lord. But I get home, and I'm so tired from everything else I have going on that the words on the page start to run together. But I'm so wired that I can't sleep. So I sit up and play computer games. I find it relaxing. Except then I never find time to spend with the Lord.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

If I say God is the most important thing in my life, why haven't I fit Him in?

The truth is, I fill my life with a lot of noise.

I started to examine a lot of the things in my life, a lot of my priorities. I had to ask myself the tough questions, like: "Does the time I spend playing computer games add to my relationship with God? Does it further the purpose He has in my life? Does it accomplish anything useful in my life?"

Now, before I get folks flaming me for attacking computer games, let me just say that I don't think there's anything wrong with them. Given the right time and place. But when I use them to fill up my "God time" that's a huge problem.

So I'm choosing to give up computer games. Not entirely. But rather than being my means to unwind, they are a reward. Something I get to do after everything else that's important, everything that adds to my life, is done. I'm giving up a lot of other things, too. Some of them I'm not able to share completely, but I do want to share one piece... the part where I'm examining and making decisions.

I keep coming back to the question... while I enjoy it, and it's something that makes me happy, how does it add to my relationship with Christ? How does it add to the ministry He's given me?

The Bible talks about being double-minded. Never in a good way. When we have so much going on, we can't help but become double-minded. Even though all the things I have in my life are good things, and certainly all have served the Lord, they don't allow me to keep my focus where it should be.

I've given myself a year... time to figure out and cut out the things that are taking away from what's really important. It means saying no to things I used to say yes to. It means disappointing people who are counting on me. It means giving up things I really enjoy. But it also means gaining precious time for the things that really matter to me.

So the question for those of you who are eagerly looking to my journey in hopes you can glean wisdom for your own is...

What's the noise you need to cut out of your life?


Janet Spaeth said...

I *LOVE* Rob Bell's videos on NOOMA. I blogged about "Rain" a couple of weeks ago. His videos are so meaningful, aren't they?

And you are so right about the noise that surrounds us. Some of it seems to come with the parental territory, and a whole lot of it comes as part of being employed, and being a friend means a fair amount comes our way, too.

But I can control some of it.

I can use the time when I'm downright mean in my mind (you know, when we're griping to ourselves about someone who said something about something, and how we should have just said whatever) and divert that from negative stuff to positive stuff.

I'll go to the NOOMA site and watch Rob Bell's video about noise. I know I'll be better for it.

THANKS, Danica!

XO--Jaen (was this comment at all coherent? I shouldn't do this at the end of a long day....)

Anonymous said...

For Lent, my husband and I gave up TV.
Yes, TV.
We barely survived. ;)
The first day, I realized that I'd also have to give up my computer Scrabble game because I filled my TV time with Scrabble time.
Now, nearing the other side, I have to say that it didn't feel like a struggle at all. Maybe one or two nights when I was particularly tired and had no brain cells, I thought, Wouldn't it be nice to veg with Lost?
But I gained so much more. I feel guilty--like my Lenten sacrifice wasn't a sacrifice. Chris and I listened to the Bible on his iPod in the evenings or books like Dark Night of the Soul and the like. We read. I practiced piano (which is a form of communion with God for me). We prayed. We went to bed early and actually slept eight, even nine hours.
It was beautiful. I don't want this to end. As the TV re-enters our lives, I want to learn exactly what you're talking about--I don't need the noise. I need God.

Robbie Iobst said...

Danica, I love the journey you are on. I am on one similiar, learning to rest in solitude and silence of Christ. I have found that if I take time to just sit in silence each day for a little while, God stuff happens in me and around me. Sometimes it is as simple as being at peace or not having guilt about taking a nap. Sometimes it is a divine appointment or conversation. Today there are beans in the crockpot and I can hear them. The heater is buzzing. My dog moves, often. But I can still find a place of focused silence if I just do it without trying to make it a perfect experience. I look forward to reading more from you.

Jan Parrish said...

Good stuff. I am starting to let some things go and prioritize better.

Danica Favorite said...

Isn't it interesting how so many of us find ourselves in similar places?

Our world is so full of noise that I think we're all hungering for relief.

Kay Day said...

Great post, Danica. And this stuff has been much on my mind lately, too. And He is giving me some of the tools I need to make changes.

Original L said...

How interesting, I did a post on the same thing a few days ago! God reminded me that I need to jettison some things, and I'm working on it... It's amazing how quickly every spare minute can fill up with what I call "fluff."