Friday, January 18, 2008

Anybody!

Yesterday was my golden opportunity to sit in a time management seminar. God is so good. It was an incredible opportunity and truly one of the deepest desires of my heart meeting reality in God's plan for my life.

My purpose in learning how to better manage my time was not to figure out how to cram more busy-ness into an already too busy life, but rather to discover how to live more purposefully - and less frantically. I want to be able to trim the excess "busy-ness" and to become, not only more efficient, but more "effective".

One of my ancestors, my dad's grandfather - was a stone mason and first came to Canada to work on the bridge that crosses the Niagara River at Fort Erie. Every time I've crossed that bridge, I have marveled at the work and the careful design that went into it. Each stone had to be finely and accurately crafted by one of an army of stone masons and, following the design of the master builder, laid one by one to finally fulfill the purpose of their work. That bridge represent years of disciplined and competent craftsmanship, built one stone at a time.

If I look at the hours God has given me as the building blocks of my life, I don't want them to be lying willy nilly here and there like the stones I used to play around in my great-grandfather's pasture. I want to co-operate with God in such a way that they are used to build something that is not only useful to Him, but will bring him glory.

The seminar was awesome and I'm sure that snippets of it will be oozing out of me for a very long time to come. I picked up so many simple, but profound and potentially life-changing ideas. I know the day will make a difference if...

If.

If I put the things I learned into practice!

One of the things Harold Taylor shared was, "Look after the minutes and the hours (and days and weeks and years) will look after themselves." He said that it is the little things - the little choices we make - which determine the development of our skills in managing our time and reaching our long term goals. I am excited about leaving behind my old ways. Time (or the lack thereof) has a way of driving us, and managing our lives. How often I've declared how much better I work "under pressure"! I don't want to live that way anymore! I want to be harnessing the time alloted to me instead of feeling driven most of the time and running away from it the rest of the time. I'm tired of living from crisis to crisis. I want to live purposefully.

Harold said in the seminar yesterday that if we want to gain control of the undisciplined and unproductive areas of our lives, we have to replace our bad habits with good ones - and that is very hard to do. Developing skill in making the most effective and godly use of the time given to us must be developed with persistence, diligence and discipline. It costs something to lay aside the old ways of doing things and to build new habits. It won't happen suddenly; the effects won't be seen right away, but the blessing will slowly but surely eventually overtake us.

Harold, by his own admission, was at one time a most disorganized person and living a very pressured existence. But he worked hard at learning some better ways and replacing those habits with new ones. How? By making small and consistent choices - sometimes having to be really hard on himself, often going back and doing things over and over again, until it started to come "naturally". He says that people now say to him, "I can't believe all the things you have been able to accomplish," and "I can't believe all that you do..."

Harold Taylor is 73 years old, and living life more abundantly than many people half his age. His eyes sparkle and his mouth turns up into a nearly constant grin. He takes care of himself, exercises daily, and he has no intention of ever retiring because he loves what God has given him to do! His life is a witness of God's glory and of the blessing that comes from "being faithful in the little things". The best news is that Harold says, "If I can do it, anybody can!"

Anybody. Well, I certainly fit into that criteria!

"Father, be my strength, my stay, and my guide as I walk into these next few habit-changing weeks. Thank you that in You, it's never "too late" to learn your ways. "

"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much..." Luke 16:10b

"Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!" Matthew 25:23

2 comments:

Brenda said...

Susan, I'm praying for you. You have a willing heart and God can do wonders with that. I'm going through heart surgery this weekend at another Ancient Paths seminar, God woke me up this morning asking,"Do you WANT to change, Brenda? These things in you that have to be routed out have been there for a long time. I can do the heart surgery but you have to lay on the table and be a willing participant." I said "yes". I know it's gonna hurt and I have to be open and vulnerable but I'm going for it. I'll let you know what happens. I know it's gonna be good!
Much love,
Brenda p.s. I'm so glad I have a sister that I can share these things with!

Belinda said...

Susan, Wow! I can't wait to hear more. You've whetted my appetite and I know you will have done so with other readers too!

"Anybody?" That means me! Yeay. I look forward to learning.

And Brenda: God bless you at your Ancient Paths seminar. I pray that God blankets you in joy and reveals more of his wonder and love to you. I'll be praying!