Managing Time to Foster the Spirit

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Man, old habits die hard, right? You think you’ve learned your lesson, and then not moments later, something is there to meet you and push you over the edge… well, at least nearly over the edge. You feel like you’re going around in circles, but I’m here to tell you that circles have no welcomed place here. Rather than be pushed over the edge, it’s time to recognize the issue, face it head on, and break the cycle.

I’m sure y’all are wondering what all this is about, accompanied by either the thought of “oh no, not again,” or “seriously, what’s it this time?”. Well friends, the whole point of this blog is to share my experience in hopes that it can help you cope, too. Fellowship is the name of the game. So allow me to explain…

It’s been longer than usual since I posted last. Things got busy at my internship, and then just in time for the weekend, I found out I had mycoplasma, which is basically a form a pneumonia that isn’t contagious or super serious, but will linger like a bad ex and make you feel rotten. Plus, it’s a dog for someone with asthma. So today, I had no choice but to surrender to this icky illness and stay home from work. It sucks. I actually haven’t felt this unable to breath since I was maybe 2, or since the time I had my sinus surgery. It’s plain awful. Not to mention, my need to be productive is being less than satisfied. But there is a reason that I’m sick.

Rejoining the “real world” has really been putting everything I learned in my season of unemployment to the test. For the most part, I’ve been able to set precedents for my daily schedule that allow me to get everything done that I need to without added stress. Although I’ve got a lot on my plate, there’s just enough room for everything.

I suppose the biggest challenge has been trying to find the right balance between being too busy and in a hurry, to” just right” productive, to lazy and not productive enough. That last one, I’m happy to say, has not occurred yet, but if you looked at the condition of my car or room, I’m sure you might disagree. Lately my brain has been on non-stop. It’s been so on, that my dreams at night are about silly details like “maybe I should get a new Wobble water bottle so I can stop buying brand new ones from the drink machine”. You know you’re busy when that starts happening.

There’s a lot to be done at my internship, and I love it. It’s a new territory so it’s challenging, but I’m not without a vast expanse of information at my finger tips (thank you, God and thank you, grad school). I’m beginning to see all these little pieces to this puzzle that I never thought I’d be able to find a spot for, come together to make this really epic picture… I think. So of course, when you finally get on track, and say, “Jesus, it’s you or nothing”, and He has this grand, dream of a plan and you embark the journey side-by-side and it’s great, Satan knows he’s lost the battle. He knows your weak spots even if they’re trivial. In this case, mine is asthma and mycoplasma. That’s the reason that I’m sick, I think. Satan is trying to slow me down, cause that’s all he’s got left.

I don’t get what it is about being sick that will dampen your mood, but just as emotions can play on your health, I’m convinced that health can play on your emotions. The total, honest, truth is that I’ve probably been sick for a solid month. Back in late January my dad brought home this awful cold, which if he has something, then usually it’s contagious and not nice. In summary, we all got it. After the first two weeks of the illness, it fades away and you think you’re fine, but ohhhh no no no. Then a couple weeks later you get this dry cough, and it’s mycoplasma. (Sorry for being bitter but I hate being sick). So around Friday, I just got kinda blue. I prayed, and talked to Jesus, tried to get myself out of it, and truthfully couldn’t figure out why I felt gloomy. I even began to wonder if everything was going to be alright, because I was slower at work than usual and made stupid mistakes. Also, the fear of “falling into a job for 5 years with nothing happening except for a job– as in no husband, no purpose for Jesus, and just being a 20-something” crept in, and around that time, I started thinking, alright, this has got to go. Because that is just all a big lie. Every day has purpose as long as Jesus is in it, and I have Jesus.

This is where that habit part comes in. I truly prayed about where I was. I knew none of the way I felt was coming from the Lord, so I asked Him to just meet me and help me like a pathetic little kitten with a hurt foot on the side of road. Immediately, He pointed out how little time I had been taking to pause throughout the day and just spend in His presence. Now, “little” in this case is compared to how much I had been seeking Him right before, which if you will recall was that magnificent fast. I had still been doing my morning devotionals, and listening to worship music on the way to work. But that solid hour of raw conversation between Jesus and I had faded away. And I need that. More than I need the air that was being sapped from my lungs this morning (…and that actually was so bad that I cried).

Two years ago I had this perpetual problem of not managing my time right. Part of the issue was because my definition of time management wasn’t what it ought to be. I figured that as long as I could get everything done, be “on time” to class and tours and other duties, and got 6 hours of sleep somewhere in there, then I was managing time well. But that’s not true. Time is not only about to-do lists.

I came across a sermon by Mark Batterson around that time about time management, and it sort of turned everything upside down for me. I wrote down a few notes on a skinny rectangle sheet of paper and placed it on my mirror above my dresser, where it still is now. I came across it just the other day, and item number 2 caught my attention. It says this:

“Leave margins of time. Otherwise you will shrink your capacity of gratitude and creativity– at which point the Holy Spirit can leave.”

Perhaps the reason that it caught my eye is because I’m relearning about my capacity of creativity and how to use it. Nonetheless, it speaks to how important it is to leave comfortable pockets of time between the day so that it still leaves room for the Holy Spirit.

After my big long break, I’d say that I’m pretty good at leaving margins of time, and room for the Holy Spirit. But then I receive these blessings and opened doors, and suddenly I’m back to where I was. Old habits really do die hard. I can’t forget what I learned though because the only reason I am where I am is to be a witness of His light, and a servant for Him. If I lose that time with Him, then what’s the purpose of being where I am? That’s why we have to slow down. It’s important to be organized, but we cannot marginalize God.

The actual reality of the fact is that our to-do lists don’t matter as much as we think they do. That’s actually what we fill our time with until Jesus leads us to the next thing He has for us. What it’s really all about is waiting for and listening for His voice, even (and especially) when He calls us to break away from our scheduled lists and asks us to chat with a friend about something they need help with. Or perhaps He wants us to skip working out so we can spend an extra hour in prayer, uninterrupted. You get the gist.

So as I sit at home today, humbled by mycoplasma (of all things,) I’m reminded of what the true heart of servanthood is, and that’s living for Him. Without Him it is pointless, and without time spent with Him, I can’t experience Him in His fullness. And honestly, with the way I’m feeling, I don’t want to try to do it my way ever again.

I don’t know how any of y’all feel about any of this, but that’s my beef for today. If we don’t start slowing down just long enough to experience Him, it’s all pointless. So give yourself a breather today. Spend it in prayer and just get to know your Savior. Trust me. It will make you feel a lot better. I am also not too proud to ask for prayers against this illness, if you feel so inclined 😉

So next week, I promise to provide you with a more upbeat post. As I take time to slow down and seek Jesus, I’m sure that things can only get better.

Love y’all,

Chaslee

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