A Person With Time
In the last months of her life, I met a woman named Kathryn, wife and mother of two lovely young girls. Kathryn was fighting colon cancer. We were both newcomers to a Sunday morning Bible study. Her family was new to Indiana. My family was new to the church. I found Kathryn’s approach to life captivating. I wanted to get to know her, but I was hesitant. Wouldn’t she be guarded with her days?
“Kathryn, could we have lunch sometime?”
“Oh, Brenda, I would love to. For the first time in my life, I am a person with time.”
My surprise over the use of her words, “I am a person with time” must have registered on my face. She smiled warmly and placed her hand on my arm. “I finally have time for everything that really matters.”
Are you a person with time – time for everything that really matters?
Run hard. Rest well is a ministry designed to encourage people to explore the use of time. Time for work. Time for rest.
Clarity. My friend Kathryn understood, with clarity, the purpose of her life. That understanding brought energy, delight, and focus to her days. These gifts can be ours, but too often guilt gets in the way. It’s a roadblock of monumental proportions. In the devotion from Day 3, I mentioned six roadblocks to rest. Guilt is #7. Guilt routinely dismantles our rest. Guilt routinely blurs our calling, disrupting clarity and focus.
As caring, gifted, responsive people, we are aware of needs and drawn to opportunities. For some of us, the needs of others and the wealth of golden opportunities before us flash like neon lights. Compelled to respond, we end up pulled in many directions, spread too thin, in over our heads.
Can you relate?
Guilt is a driving force behind much of our exhaustion. A remarkable story about guilt is tucked into the very first chapter of Mark. I missed its message for the first 40 years of my life, but it will act as a rudder for the next 40.
Jesus visited Simon’s home, where his mother-in-law was sick in bed. Jesus healed her and the news spread quickly (Mark 1:29-38). That evening the whole town gathered at their door. Jesus ministered to each one late into the night. Waking up early the next morning, Jesus slipped away to a quiet place to be alone with His Father. As the sun rose, a fresh batch of people gathered at the house. As long minutes ticked into hours, frustration grew among the people. A group of disciples was sent out to search for Jesus. When they found Him, they announced, “Everyone is looking for You!” Can you hear their intent to instill guilt? I can.
The people waiting at the house had legitimate needs and a real desire to meet Jesus. Yet listen to Jesus’ reply. “Let us go somewhere else…”
What?! Those were real people with real needs and Jesus was going to turn His back on them?
As painful as that truth is, Jesus refused to be guilt-driven. Jesus chose, every step of the way, to be Spirit-led. Jesus’ holy yes to God’s plan for that morning meant an earthly no to real people with real needs.
Were those people disappointed? Yes. Devastated? Likely. Did God leave them out in the cold? No, not for a moment. I do not know how, when or where, but God in all His sovereignty had a plan for their lives – plans to pursue, heal, restore. Maybe that timing was going to unfold three hours later, three months later, or 30 years later. I don’t know. But God did. Will I trust Him?
Why rest? Why slip away to a quiet hillside to watch the sun rise? Why schedule a day with margin in mind? Why take a walk? Why take a break? Because clarity is birthed in calm. This account of Jesus’ life reminds us that clarity comes from quiet times off the beaten path.
This week when a need arises or an opportunity comes knocking on your door, consider these three suggestions:
1. When need arises, stop. Refuse to answer on the spot. Reply, “Let me get back to you.” Then pray. Listen carefully. If you are living with little margin, any yes will demand a no to something, whether you want it to or not. What will that be? Face the truth.
2. When need arises, know your mission for the season of life you are now living. Name it. Claim it. Be incredibly sensitive and prayerful about any yes outside its domain.
3. When need arises, follow Jesus’ lead, remind yourself that saying yes or no requires direction from the Holy Spirit. It takes conviction, vision and stamina, but it produces joy, confidence and a work of God that far exceeds the guilt-driven yes we are inclined to give.
The call of your life depends on it. Mine, too.
There is so much more to explore on this topic, but the first step is about choice. Will I be driven by guilt or led by the Spirit?
ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS
- Guilt is the gift that keeps on giving or rather, taking – taking chunks out of your joy and heart. How much does guilt play a factor in your life?
- How and when is the Spirit given free rein to sculpt your yes’s and your no’s?