Ponderings with Doug – March 8, 2019

I’m thinking about what I am “giving up for Lent.”

I was talking to a friend of mine who told me, “I’m simply frazzled.” My mind pictured this minister who was standing there with his hair standing on end, face covered in soot, holding his burning Bible, while trying to answer a cell phone call and a text message simultaneously. When I looked down at the blank spaces I had filled in on my calendar for the coming days, I understood this idea of being “frazzled.”

There is a saying, “I am so busy I don’t know if I have found a rope or lost a horse.”

Our culture demands frazzled, frenetic activity of us. If we play the game of culture, we must check our email, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts regularly, right? I left Facebook, I never tweeted, and my computer only checks my email a couple of times a day. I do look at Instagram because that is where I find my children and grandchildren.

I decided that for Lent I would give up the “tyranny of the immediate.” If it does not get done today, I’ll get to it tomorrow. If it is still there tomorrow, maybe it didn’t need doing in the first place.

I am not suggesting that you shirk your responsibilities at all. I am suggesting that we need to learn some things about living for the long run.

First insight, if God rested on the seventh day, perhaps you need to take some time off too. Since that won’t happen, because I know you, let me make a substitute suggestion. Allow yourself two peace pockets a day. A peace pocket is a ten-minute break you take in your day. For me, it means turning off the phone, turning off the monitor on my computer and closing my door. I don’t do anything for ten minutes. If you need cover for yourself just tell the people around you that you are going to work hard for the next ten minutes on doing nothing. How like us to talk about working hard at doing nothing. If you can’t take a day off, take two peace pockets and call me later.

Second insight, make priorities your priority. Don’t you think we ruminate over trifles? The disciples lost Jesus once. He wasn’t lost, but they couldn’t find him. Jesus was off by himself praying. When the disciples found Him and most likely interrupted Him, they said, “The whole town is looking for you.” Jesus told them that he had “other places to go and to be.” Jesus had priorities and goals and would not be distracted by trifles.

If God rested and Jesus set priorities, perhaps we should take the hint and just get rid of some of the things in our lives that make us feel frazzled. Then maybe we can decide if we have “found a rope or lost a horse.”

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