As I flipped through another page in my planner, I wondered how to accomplish all my tasks in a mere 24 hours? With three part-time jobs, I lived the proverbial juggling act. Yet I needed the income in order to pay bills and all my jobs were classified as ministry, so I knew they pleased God.
But did they? Was I really serving him or was I merely serving the god of busy-ness?
Two weeks after I completed another busy schedule, I attended a women’s conference. During one of the sessions, the speaker talked about the Distractions of Pace, and that phrase stuck with me throughout the conference.
Was my pace becoming a distraction to my spiritual life? How much of my pace contributed to other distractions such as social media, planning my own scenarios and desires?
Those questions nagged me, so one Sunday, I observed Sabbath rest and scheduled time with my journal and my Lord. Out on the deck where the early blooms of spring promised full-blown leaves and flowers, I searched for the answers to my questions.
God reminded me of the often quoted Psalm 46:10 passage, “Be still and know that I am God.”
Although I felt quite proud of myself for scheduling this particular “be still” time, I knew I needed even more intentionality in learning to know God.
I needed to be more aware of his presence during my busy days and ready my heart to stop whatever I was accomplishing in order to purposefully appreciate him. The distractions of my pace kept me from hearing him and listening deeply to that divine whisper.
Then another familiar passage seemed to underscore what I was learning. From the Shepherd’s Psalm, this time in the Amplified version, “He leads me beside the still and restful waters. He refreshes and restores my life (my self)” (Psalm 23:2b-3a).
Oh to be still and feel that special type of rest King David experienced while watching sheep. To allow God to refresh and restore my very self so that I could feel that inner energy. To live the Christian life with a more balanced pace. That is my goal.
So I asked myself the same coaching questions I presented to my clients: What distractions in my frantic pace could I give up? Which boundaries could I set to guard my heart and own more time for spiritual refreshment? Was I willing to make the difficult choices?
To seal my commitment, I used some of my vacation time for a week of Sabbatical. I didn’t travel anywhere or visit tourist attractions. I stayed home, slept late and spent hours pouring over my Bible, scribbling nuggets of spiritual truth in my journal.
I took long walks and prayed for guidance. I fasted and confessed my sorrow for stealing time from the Lover of my soul. In the process, I discovered how many distractions of pace fed my lust for significance and applause.
When I looked deep inside my soul, I saw some ugliness. Yes, some of my tasks were ministry, but many were contrived ideas of how to minister to others while ignoring solitude with the Savior. Since he didn’t demand anything of me – as others sometimes did – it was easier to put him in the back corner of my calendar and attend first to his sheep.
I’m a person who values and enjoys work, so this has not been an easy schooling. But I’m trying to set more healthy boundaries, to learn how to say, “No” more often so that I can say, “Yes” to more time with God.
My pace is still harried, but gradually, I’m utilizing more self-discipline so those distractions don’t become habits. And as I train my soul to be still, God won’t have to wait for his turn. He’ll always be first in my calendar.
How is your pace? Is God calling you to find a new pace of life, and spend more time with him in the process?