Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Loving God with All Your Mind ~ Conclusion

Matthew 6:34 - "Do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

I've been working on a schedule to keep track of everyone's comings and goings at our house. With two daughters in college, a son in high school (playing soccer, too), my husband working, me working, and a grandson that needs to be taken care of, our lives seem to speed right by. I can't believe that it's already September!

The seemingly hardest part of our busy lives is fitting everything that needs done into each day. It is very easy to forget or leave out the most necessary part of the day-time alone with God. As a mother and wife (and now grandmother), it is very easy to neglect myself, but I try to remember to feed myself each day. Somehow, I am having and always have had trouble setting aside time with God, which is the most important meal of the day. If I don't feed my soul, my life dissolves into a chaotic scramble to find enough time.

I have found that I cannot love God with all my mind if my mind is too busy to include Him in each day. I start off each day worrying about getting everything done that is scheduled for that day and I finish my day worrying about what is scheduled for the next day. I sometimes find it hard to be thankful for the gift of each day: "This is the day that the Lord hath made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24.

This whole worry cycle is what started me searching for a better way to keep track of our days. I have found great help in the book I've been reading by Elizabeth George - Loving God with All Your Mind. She has some great guidelines for managing time and mastering worry.

    Guideline #1: Prepare.
    Prepare in the evening. Do certain tasks the night before. Prepare some of tomorrows tasks tonight. She suggests making as much of the next day's evening meal as possible (brown the chicken, wash and tear the lettuce, chop the vegetables-you get the picture). Do a quick tidy job of the house just before bed. Lay out your clothes for tomorrow. Prepare in the morning. Take a few minutes to spend with God. I have found that I can read a devotion from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers while I drink a cup of coffee or tea. Then I can pray over the words I receive and my mind can mull the message all day long. Mark 1:35 tells us that Jesus knew the value of meeting early with God. " the early morning, while it was still dark, He arose and went out and departed to a lonely place, and was praying there."
      Guideline #2: Plan Ahead.
      Planning ahead helps us be more effective during the course of our day, and our planning needs to be both long-range and short-range. Long-range planning helps us keep up with birthdays (one of my greatest challenges), parties, vacations, holidays, remodeling, moving, retirement. We break these large tasks into bite-size pieces with long-range planning. Short-range planning helps us meet the days demands: Who's watching the baby while Heather is in class? What's for supper? Wednesday Bible study starts at 7 PM. Whatever is important for your day falls under short-range planning...we incorporate the big tasks into these plans as well.
      Guideline #3: Pray.
      British preacher and writer F.B. Meyer had seven rules to live by every day. Number one on his list was "Make a daily, definite, audible consecration of yourself to God. Say it out loud: Lord, today I give myself anew to you." Elizabeth George says "Giving God everything means giving Him myself, my things, and the people I care about as well as the physical, the practical, and the emotional concerns of my life. All these are His to do with as He likes. This complete commitment to God of all that I am and all that I have is another way I respond to God's love and try to love Him with all my mind-and making this commitment daily is key."
      Guideline #4: Proceed.
      Now we must put into practice all the guidelines each day. Our day has been prepared for, plans are made, and lifted up to God in prayer. Now we are to live this day joyfully as unto the Lord. The focus becomes the task at hand and not the worries for tomorrow. We can obey Jesus' words in Matthew 6:34.

And we can better calm our mind and heart and put into practice our most important goal: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength." Mark 12:30

First printed September 2005 in The Freedom Reader, a publication of Spring Valley Freedom Bapist Church, Huntington, WV.

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