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So for pretty close to the last whole year I have been burning the candle at both ends. Yeah I know that it is not a good idea to do it, but I have. Life has been a combination of family life (being a husband and father of three), pastoral ministry (working in a 200+ person church as an Associate Pastor for youth and small group ministry), finishing an ordination process with the denomination that I work with, completing 18 hours of Master’s level education credits via the Re:Train program at Mars Hill in Seattle, oh and trying to maintain some social connections too. Now that I am writing that out … it is crazy, absolutely and totally crazy to try to do that much.
I mean an average week for me in the last year involved working 40+ hours, and in addition to work time: reading about 500-750 pages of theological style writing, writing on average 5-10 pages of research papers … and the whole time trying to not short change my wife and children, or my friends. Like I said crazy.
Now that I am toward the end of things, I just want to sleep. I am in a stretch that has seen me travel and not be home for 10 of the last 15 days. In the coming weeks I have the year-end stuff for youth ministry, a sermon to preach, a 50 page paper to write, and the end of the school year as a parent wanting to be at my kid’s school trips and events.
So what have I learned this year? Time management is huge… but prayer and allowing Jesus to direct my moments and days is far better than man centered systems. Martin Luther said of prayer the following;
“It is a good thing to let prayer be your first business in the morning and the last at night. Guard yourself carefully against those false, deluding ideas that tell you, ‘wait a little while. I will pray in an hour, first I must attend to this or that’…Those who work faithfully, pray twice…Christ commands continual prayer: ask and it will be given to you, seek and you shall find; knock and it will be opened to you…pray without ceasing… we must unceasingly guard against sin and wrong doing, something one cannot do unless one fears God and keeps His Commandments…we become relaxed and lazy, cool and listless towards prayer. The devil who besets us is not lazy or careless, and our flesh is too ready and eager to sin and is disinclined to the spirit of prayer.”
It is only through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and a singular focus on Jesus Christ that we can achieve anything of eternal value in this life. I am tired, but things are good. I still have a marriage and a relationship with my wife and kids, the ministry I work in is seeing fruit in this season of harvest, I passed my ordination, my course are done with a transcript I am proud of. And without Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, I would not have made it.
Where do you find your strength when things are busy?
PSALM 18:1-3 (but please do read the rest of this great Psalm!)
1I love you, O LORD, my strength. 2The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.