Sunday, April 9, 2017

Making Space

Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Genesis 2:3
Once upon a very, very long time ago in 2014, I de-cluttered my desk cubbies and storage areas.  Yesterday, I decided to once again tackle this catch-all that sits proudly full of "stuff" in my kitchen. Needless to say, I found some items that were pretty important and some things I didn't know I were missing like five packs of gum and two boxes of tic tacs!  Who knew I had so much gum, a mini color printer and ten rolls of tape?    I feel pretty good about the transformation though it truly isn't finished. I still have some filing to do and pictures to scan but those are on-going projects in my life like doing laundry and cooking dinner.  I am sure I will get to them before 2020.

As I wrapped up this huge task last night, I pondered the pristine open space above my desk.  I realized that if I am not intentional, I will fill it junk that I don't need and then even forget the good things I have in it. This is an important point in my spiritual life as well. I can fill my life up with so much stuff that I forget to focus on God and the good things I have in Him. 

For me, during the weeks leading up to Easter, I try to let go of the extras in my life and create some open space. Next, I fill up that open space with something that God has called me to do to grow closer to Him. 

This spring, I gave up reading the Wall Street Journal. It's not bad for me but it cluttered my mind. I would often start the day time reading instead of cleaning, praying, writing, cooking or exercising. Before I knew it, I didn’t have time to all the things I intended to do.  Many days would go by without writing a single word but I always found time to read the paper.  There's nothing like the joy of cuddling up with the paper and a cup of tea. 

By giving up the paper, I freed up significant time at least four days a week.  I wish I could say that I used all this free time to clean, exercise and write, I didn't.  Mostly I checked emails, got on Facebook, watched TV and wandered down interesting Google rabbit trails. My goal for these six weeks leading up to Easter was to pray for healing for friends and relatives.  I have to admit, I barely made time to pray just five minutes every day for healing for friends and family members. 

These past five weeks without the Wall Street Journal have shown me something important.  If I am not intentional with how I fill my time, I will take it for granted and waste it. In the same way, if I am not intentional with how I use money or food, I will waste them.  One of the most important principals in the Bible to prevent waste is the concept of giving a portion to God.  We give 10% to God so that the rest is blessed. As Luke 6:38 says, “Give and it will be given to you.”  This doesn’t intuitively make sense.  If you have a limited amount of time or money, why would you then give some of it away?   The key to understanding this principal is based on insight into human nature that by giving some of what we have, we will be more careful with what we have left. 

Giving should affect every part of our life.  It can help us not waste our time, our money, and our resources.  We are called to give 10%  of our resources to God, we are called to give one day a week and even during busy times like the harvest we have to help the less fortunate.  These boundaries create places of rest in our lives so we appreciate what we have left, carefully use it and don't waste it.  

While cleaning off my desk I came across a quote from writer Randy Alcorn.  He said, “As a New Testament follower of Christ, in the most affluent society in human history, there’s no way I could ever justify giving less than 10 % when God had required that, really, of the poorest Israelite.”
God called his people to give because He knew that it was good for them.   Giving was a part of life whether you were rich or poor, had a huge farm or almost nothing. Intentionally giving of time and resources creates a virtuous cycle where you appreciate what you have, less is wasted and everyone involved is blessed. 

For me, too much space meant I could just keep stuffing things in the cubbies above my desk above my desk. I didn't need to clean so I hadn't since 2014! Being intentional with money helps me focus on important things and not waste it. Too much time meant wasting it by watching TV and browsing the internet. Being intentional with my time will help me use my mental space in a way that will be more productive and bless others.  

I am so looking forward to reading the Wall Street Journal in a week but I have realized that I have to set boundaries on my time.  Being intentional in this area is new for me. How do you make sure you don’t waste what you have? 

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