I took the morning off today. I took my girls for a long, long walk in their stroller, then we went to the park and played with the swings and the slide, ran around like crazy people, and played in the sand.
As we were playing, I was filled with joy and delight in all that God has given me in this life. I am overwhelmed with blessing in my life.
At the exact same time, however, I felt twinges of sadness. Why, you ask? Because I can’t remember the last time I took time and just played with my girls like that.
Life has been so busy lately. We bought a house, began renovating, and found the work that needed to be done was a lot more than we had anticipated. That, combined with the usual September busy-ness at church, has made for a long stretch of working every waking moment.
I don’t like that. Busy is not what I was created for. It robs me of joy and peace and makes me frantic and tired. It brings constant temptation to stress and anxiety (a.k.a. pride and disbelief).
Busy is not what life is for. Being busy causes me to miss out on good things. Important things. The best things.
Lately, after our day of prayer, I thought to myself, ‘I never get tired of praying. I never pray and then think that it was a waste of time. It never gets old. It’s always worth it.’ Today I had that same thought while I was playing with my girls.
That got me to thinking, what are the things in life that are always worth making time for? What are the things that never get old? What are the things you can do with your time that are always worth the investment? Here’s my first attempt at a list.
- Prayer — private, family, corporate prayer with brothers and sisters from church
- Time in the word — reading on my own, studying for preaching, sitting under preaching
- Going on dates with my wife — we generally just get away somewhere where we can sit and talk… I can never get enough of that
- Playing with my girls — especially when I haven’t wasted all my energy on everything else so that I’m too tired to enjoy them
- Eating meals with my family — time sitting, talking, learning fighter verses, hearing the funny things that kids think to say…
- Time at ‘my’ Starbucks — not that Starbucks is worth the time, but when I’m there I have a good book or just my Bible, sometimes my list of people to pray for… I sit, enjoy coffee, the change of scenery, meet with God and seek opportunities to share the gospel with the people I know there. It’s always refreshing.
- Preaching — I’ve found that even when I preach and feel like it was a ‘bad sermon’, I hear reports from people of how the Spirit is working in their heart. His word will not return to him void, so it’s never a waste of time to preach.
- Being with people — one of the saddest things that can happen in my job and in life in general is when I get so busy with ‘stuff’ that I don’t have time to be with people and open up my heart to them and have them do the same with me. The more time I have to just be with people, the more I’m amazed at how I see God in that person and the more I’m blessed by them.
These are the things that I love. I’ll never get to the end of my life and think, ‘Man, I wish I had spent less time doing those things.’ Would you have the same things on your list? What would you add / change / delete from your list?
The question I suppose I should ask is, ‘What are the things in my life that detract from these things?’ And then, is that necessary? Is it what is best?
I’m praying tonight that my God gives me grace to prioritize and wisdom to know how to find better balance so that I don’t miss out on the very things I’m put on this earth to enjoy.