Wednesday, October 12, 2016
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My wife and I were traveling with our daughter and son-in-law and our two dynamite, at that time, little grandsons. We were in adjoining motel rooms for a couple of days – and that's what occasioned our son-in-law's amusing comparison of our rooms. See, our rooms were basically identical – when we moved in. We moved our stuff into our room. They moved in themselves, their children, their children's world, and some "office on the road" stuff. Well, on our second day, our son-in-law plopped down in a chair in our room and he made this bemused observation, "You know, your room is three times bigger than our room!" Not true. See, our room was the same size. It was just one-third as crowded!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Making Space In A Crowded Life."
Some of us have lives like our kids' motel room – so crowded that we're running out of space! Actually, we all have the same amount of "space" in our life, don't we? The same seven days, 168 hours in a week. But some of us have packed so much into our lives – maybe too much – there's no room left for an emergency, a crisis, a breakdown, an illness – or even to give God and the people we love the time they should have.
God has a thought-provoking challenge for us over-busy folks in 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12. It's our word for today from the Word of God. Here's the challenge: "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders." God is calling us to a life that is characterized by simplicity, by clear priorities that act as a filtering system for what we say yes to and what we say no to, by peace, focus and quiet.
All of us need to take a giant step back and see if we've stuffed our life so full that it's actually shrunk our life rather than expanded it. This would be a great time to reprioritize – to get some boundaries – to make some space in our overcrowded life. I liken a lot of our lives to a glass that's full to the brim and it only takes a drop to make it spill. We need to be emptying out our glass a little so we've got room for all those unexpected things, those emergencies, those surprises that life constantly throws at us.
There are actually some practical steps you can take to get more control of your life. One is to sort out your over commitments; to begin to limit yourself to the things that only you can do. No, you don't just start bailing out of commitments that you've made, but you start making new commitments – and renewing old commitments – with new priorities. Another step is to control intrusions – to return your calls or emails at a scheduled time, to protect your time with God and with your family-non-negotiables; maybe just to turn off your phone for a while. It also helps to deliberate commitments before you make them – take time to pray over them, to seek the counsel of the important people in your life. A lot of times when I've done that, they've helped me see something I'm doing or an over-commitment I'm making that I couldn't see.
Also, build in some "Murphy" time – you know Mr. Murphy? You know Murphy's Law, right – "Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong." Do you have any Murphy time there; time for things to go wrong? Don't schedule wall-to-wall. And remember to put your timeouts and your family times in your calendar like you do all your other important commitments.
Opening up room in your life won't just happen. It takes some candid evaluation, some corrective action, and then some courageous discipline. But it's worth it. You don't have to keep tripping over things in that room called your life – there will finally be room to move around and enjoy it!