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19 January - Time To Spare

I’m on the way home from Tamworth after being at the country music festival with Shara Rose and a few others artists I know.

Isaac, our youngest, has come along for the trip, and as we are now travelling back home at night, he is on the lookout for injured kangaroos. He has his rescue pouch ready and is busy trying to convince his older sister and I what we should do. He has a plan, and a strategy mapped out as to how he will walk it out.

Now Isaac loves wildlife and wants to be a wildlife rescuer, but he has a plan for how he will be one, rather than simply talking about what he wants, he has a plan.

Isaac’s planning reminded me of the importance of regularly on our goals and how our plans to make them happen are going.

I’ve learnt that lots of activities don’t always signify great results. Many of us can rush about and yet end up achieving little. Perhaps instead, we would benefit from thinking and praying about our plans, what we want to achieve, discerning the best course of action and then moving deliberately.

So here are ten tips for achieving your life vision, acting on your goals and staying sane in the process:

1. Prioritise and do less if necessary. Make the conscious choice to do less and focus on what’s important. Schedule space between tasks and appointments so you can move gently through your day.

2. Be present and mindful of where you are and what you are doing. It’s not enough to slow down — you need to be mindful of whatever you’re doing now. Focus on what’s in front of you.

3. Disconnect from technology. Fomo – the fear of missing out keeps us running in top gear. Instead of being on high alert 24/7, put the phone down, switch off technology and disconnect from the demands of your day. It takes discipline, but it isn’t easy to slow down if we are always checking for new messages coming in.

4. Be with people: If you are with people, then focus on them, not other things. Choose to be with people rather than just meeting with them.

5. Get outside: Take the time to breathe fresh air, be in nature, and enjoy the scenery and serenity of what God has created for us.

6. Eat slower. Many health and digestive complaints stem from eating too fast, gulping and being stressed when we eat. Discipline yourself to allow ample time to eat slowly. Be mindful of each bite and appreciate what you are eating.

7. Enjoy the drive. Slow down when you’re driving and take time to appreciate your surroundings. Use your drive time to contemplate life, listen to music or a podcast, pray and breathe. Our drive time can be great for checking in with God and those with you.

8. We get to do this. There is a saying; we don’t have to go to work; we get to go to work. The truth is the life we are living is the life someone else is earnestly praying for. Be grateful for what you do have and find joy in the everyday. Years ago, a friend came back from a third-world country and begged to wash the dishes. I was amazed, but the treat of turning the tap and getting a sink full of hot soapy water made washing the dishes not a chore for her but something to be enjoyed.

9. Be Single task focused and concentrate on one thing at a time. It takes practice, but when you feel the urge to rush about doing ten things at once, press pause, breathe, and stay focused on the task at hand.

10. Breathe . Practice deep breathing and relaxation techniques. Please take a deep breath, hold it for 3 seconds, and then slowly let it out. Then do it again. Feel the air coming into your lungs and the stress going out. By fully focusing on each breath, you bring yourself back to the present and slow down.

The patterns of this world encourage us to rush and give the appearance of doing a lot when we are often just being busy with little to show for it. The Bible says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. That means taking the time to stop, think and pray for God’s wisdom and guidance so that we can then be deliberate and purposeful in the way we live.

God promises he will direct our steps and lead us to prosper in all we do. The key is to be still long enough to know what God is doing and saying. (Psalm 46:10)

Today I encourage you to be still for a moment and recollect God in your midst. Breathe, pray and listen to His gentle guidance to go about your day. Include him in every decision, meeting and conversation, and he will help you get all that you need done, fulfil His amazing plans for you for the day and still have time to spare.

“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

‘For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Prayer: Lord, please help me to slow down and draw near to you. Would you teach, lead and guide me in how to live more purposefully and gratefully. Thank you for this day and every one I get to see and everything I can do and be today, in Jesus name Amen.

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