“No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety” Psalm 16:9 (NLT).
In my life I have been prone to rush. When I was in my mid-twenties, I juggled working full time and raising my daughter on my own. Most mornings, it was not an uncommon practice for me to hit the snooze button on my alarm several times before finally rising out of bed. Once I did manage to shower, dress myself and get my daughter breakfast, it was then a mad dash to see her off on the school bus and head in my car to work.
Once I made it in the car, it was also not uncommon for me to have my cup of Yoplait yogurt and spoon in hand to eat while I was waiting at stop lights. Then work began and at the end of the day, it was a mad dash to pick up my daughter from after school care, head home and get dinner on the table, so we could eat at a reasonable hour.
This pace often led to exhaustion by the end of the day. Many nights, after my daughter went to bed, I could be found sprawled out on the couch, half-asleep in front of my television.
Nowadays, I am married and life is more balanced. However, the tendency to rush is something that does creep up from time to time. For me, it usually happens when I have too many things on my to-do list. I have learned that the longer my list becomes, the more unraveled l become.
Looking closely at Deuteronomy Chapter 4, Moses urges the new generation to be careful in obeying God’s commands for them. He tells them, “Do not add to or subtract from these commands I am giving you. Just obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you” Deuteronomy 4:2 (NLT).
Here, Moses uses the terms “add” and “subtract” to emphasize the importance of following God’s Word exactly. He wants the new generation to understand that God’s Word is perfect and does not need to be changed. We see here how important it is for us to live our lives according to God’s Word. So many times we may be tempted to change the rules to suit our own needs or to simply ignore the rules all together. This is not the way God intended for us. He wants us to trust His way, because it is perfect.
Moses goes a step further to warn the new generation of being careful to not create any idols in their lives. Here, the people are warned to not put anyone or anything before God. “So be careful not to break the covenant the Lord your God has made with you. Do not make idols of any shape or form, for the Lord your God has forbidden this” Deuteronomy 4:23 (NLT).
An idol can be anyone or anything. This makes me stop and reflect on what some of the “idols” are in my own life. Always having the need to be busy is definitely one at the top of the list. Often busyness leads to rushing – and from my own experience, rushing leads to burnout. If I have nothing left at the end of my day, then there isn’t a lot of time for me to spend it with God.
There are things I can do to be better in this area. I can give God some of my time. I’ve made it a practice to read from a devotional in the morning and also to read at least one chapter from the Bible later in the day. Making time in the Word has been such a blessing in my life. It gives me the direction and the assurance I need to face the battles I have to each day. Without it, I am relying on myself to navigate through life and eliminating God from it.
Spending time in prayer is also important. My prayer time is sporadic. That is something I’m constantly tweaking and working on these days. I’m not perfect at it, but there has been improvement. I have found prayer to be so beneficial. It is the only way to communicate with God and it is a necessary practice to thank Him for the blessings I receive everyday and to also present my requests to Him.
There is also using the word, “no.” As much as I would like to volunteer for every activity at my son’s school, it just is not realistic. Something has to give, and if I overload my schedule it will eventually be me. So, I have to pick and choose what’s important. Is what I want to add to my list honoring God? If I’m not sure, then I need to pray about it.
When I put these things into practice in my life, then it is much easier to navigate through it. Not only am I happier, but so are the people around me. Life becomes a lot less rushed and I am able to grow closer in my relationship to God – the only “Idol” I should have.
Dear Lord, thank You for the reminder of the importance of putting You first on the priority list. Forgive me for the times when I let the busyness of life get the better of me. Help me to shift my focus to You when I am distracted or in need of Your direction. Now that we are approaching the holidays, help me to stop and enjoy the time I have with my loved ones rather than rushing through it and missing out. I ask this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.