Yes, I understand: everything in my schedule is important, too, and I can probably think of a good reason to keep everything intact. Sometimes, I can even find a Bible verse (possibly out of context) to justify all of my actions. But eventually, something has to be cut from our schedule, so that we can make room for something better. Consider one of these approaches to make those adjustments (slightly) easier:
Think of your schedule like moving to a new apartment or house. If you found a box that you hadn’t opened since the last time you moved, most people would probably tell you to get rid of it, and not to move it again. Similarly, if you have something that you’ve been doing regularly, and you can tell that you haven’t really needed it in a while, maybe it’s time to cut it out. There are lots of activities that we start because they sounded like a good idea at the time, but they really don’t help you – or anyone else – anymore. For instance, a while ago, my wife and I started following a TV show. By the 3rd season or so, the writing had gone stale, and it had become more of a “moving box” that we were just lugging around on our DVR every week. So, we stopped watching it and canceled the recording. (Yes, I also understand that some reading this will say that TV itself should be cut from our schedules. I won’t disagree, but we’re all at a different place in our walk!)
Or, think of your schedule like a suitcase, before going on a trip. With airline baggage fees and limits on overhead bin sizes, if you don’t need something, you don’t want to pay extra for the privilege to drag it through airports, or on and off the shuttle bus. We could all probably do a better job of keeping our schedules similarly “neatly packed”, and limited to what we really need. Look for things that you once thought that you “had to do” – every day, every week, or every month – and see if they still make sense. Just like when we leave room in our suitcase for bringing home souvenirs, some margin in our schedule allows us to enjoy little unexpected moments in life.
I hope that you are reading the Bible daily, and not just this Study Guide. Find a Bible – whether print or electronic – and read Jeremiah 29:10-14. Talk over that passage with God, and jot down what you learn.
“For thus says the LORD, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.’
Jeremiah 29:10-14 NASB
Finally, I understand that getting rid of things is difficult, and I don’t want to pretend otherwise (I’d be a hypocrite if I did). However, I know that you – especially with God’s help – can do it!
- Modern-Day Manna
- “Someone Else Might Have Gotten It Wrong”
- Trust Fall
- Invasion of the “Have Tos”
- Does Margin Really Work?
- What happens in the margin?
A version of this devotion originally appeared at fcccanton.com, as a Study Guide for the September 8, 2013 message, “The God of Order”.