“What am I doing?”
Have you ever thought that?
Have you found yourself not enjoying what you should enjoy—your life?
There was a time in my life when I was driven. I was paid a nice salary to take care of classes of students and get them from point A to point B in 16 weeks. Let’s say it was a speech class. I knew what I had to do. I had to take a few good speakers, many average speakers and a few people suffering from stage fright and give them fundamental knowledge about how to present material to groups.
I used to kid about it a lot. My goal was “to get your butterflies to fly in formation. They will never go away. You don’t want them to go away or you will be dull and lifeless. You just want to get them in control and you want to channel that energy into an exciting performance. You never tell the audience that you are scared. You tell them you are excited.”
That was my shtick.
I had five classes to teach in 16 weeks, approximately 125 students. Trying to get them from point A to point B.
After 16 weeks, I started all over again with 125 more.
It was ok. I enjoyed it. It was a living, a nice one for around here in western Kentucky.
But I was driven.
You know what I mean. I was always pushing to get things accomplished. I pushed myself; I pushed my students. Getting them to work toward a goal was my purpose in life and I knew that they needed to see me responding to calls, emails, grading papers, creating lectures and doing what I always did in a 16 week period; lots of “teacher stuff.” I always felt if I presented myself as a hard worker, they may be inspired to be hard workers.
Now, I am retired.
And here is my challenge.
How can I slow down and quit pushing myself and others?
Pastor Chan says we all need to stop and think. What am I doing? What is my purpose for what I am doing? We need to stop and think.
As I am able to be less driven, the habits of the past creep back into my life. I find myself pushing myself to work at things. When I am working at something I am thinking about the next thing I have to do, which robs me of the joy of the present task. Here is what I do. It is simple and it sounds a bit selfish. As I work at a task, I say the simple phrase over and over—“this is my time.” Not complicated but it slows me down and makes me realize that God has given me this time to enjoy myself and I should enjoy it. I longed to have this time. I daydreamed about having it. It is here.
Secondly, stop and just take time to wonder about the small stuff. The sunset, the green grass, the delicate unfolding of a flower, a bug crawling across my big toe. I know it sounds stupid, but as you slow down and appreciate the small stuff, it makes you really see the world, feel the world, smell the world, touch the world and taste the world. God is in it all and He put it here for you to enjoy.
In addition, it is time to focus on what you have rather than what you don’t have. I spent some time this morning with a man who is suffering from Parkinson’s. I have known him for quite a while and he loves to read and loves to write. The disease has taken that away from him now. His condition makes me look at what I have and just thank God. Right now, I have more than I deserve. Right now, I am doing better than I deserve. It won’t be that way forever. The focus on the gifts I have now is really important.
Along with slowing down, paying attention to small stuff and acknowledging what I have, it is good to lead what I call a God-directed life. Don’t get so caught up in an agenda that you can’t move in a direction that God wants you to move when He wants you to move. Be flexible and realize that if you respond to the needs that God puts before you, there will be a blessing. I have written about this many times but I get tired sometimes and don’t want to go to church, but I do go because I will receive a blessing. I always come home feeling glad that I went.
Finally, “Stop Praying.” Sound familiar? It is the title of the chapter we are in. I am a big mouth. My wife says I am never at a loss for words. One of the worst situations she ever has to suffer through is when we wake up together and sit on the couch and as coffee invigorates my brain, I begin to speak and I hop from topic to topic as the caffeine begins to work. There is poor Susan, sitting there in a sleep stupor having to pay attention to a big mouth, blathering on and on.
I can be that way with God.
Just because I am in His presence, it does not mean that I have to be blathering on with God.
Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.” I have written about that verse before. It is a good thing to remember when you feel compelled to pray but you are not in the proper frame of mind. It is a good thing to remember when you should approach God with the proper awe and just meditate in His presence. It is a good thing to remember that when you put your concerns in His hands, that He will take care of them.
We need to stop and think.
Just be still and know that God is God and He wants you to enjoy your life.
After all, you are here right now for a reason. He wants to show you what that reason is, but you have to slow down to understand it.