We are continuing our study together of Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson.
The more I read and study this book, the more I am convinced that every person I know should read this book. Regardless of your profession, education level, or age, this book has something for everyone. I’m blessed to have read this gem.
Chapter 2: Controlling the Chaos – Owning Your Priorities and Commitments
This chapter spoke deeply to me. Got right in there and nudged at the dirt in the corners of my heart. The Holy Spirit likes to do that…clean out the crevices.
In Chapter 2, Sally Clarkson shares about Owning Your Priorities and Commitments. This is a tough area for most women. We find our days busy and over scheduled and our nights exhausted and restless from all we have done yet all we have left undone in the same period of time.
At the beginning of each year, I seek God’s direction for the year and ask Him to point out a very specific area of my life that needs more attention than the others. I know if I list too many resolutions or goals, I will become overwhelmed and resigned to leave life as it is for fear of failure once again. So, I pray and ask God to give me one theme that could reach into several areas of my life and make me more of what He wants me to be. This year, 2015, the message came back loud and clear: Busy versus Effective. Ouch.
We can pride ourselves on how much we do and all that we are involved in, but is our life filled with busyness or effectiveness? God has been working on me and I’m seeking to eliminate the drainers as Sally calls them and reexamine my schedule…yet again!
Highlights from Chapter 2:
A woman, running late to a meeting, said these words to Sally:
“Today, all the chaos consumed me and left me empty. If you could write a book about how to have peace in the midst of the chaos of everyday life, you would sell a gazillion books. That is how everyone I know is living – in utter, busy chaos!
Her words haunted Sally. These are some of her responses:
“I wanted to tell her that she didn’t need to find peace in the chaos, instead, she needed to move, step-by-step, toward a more reasonable and centered life.”
“God has equipped all of us to live more simply, to move toward order, and to live with intentionality.”
“I have watched many women battle compulsive busyness.”
“The end result? Depression and isolation. Many women wonder how they will get off the merry-go-round of life. Even in Christian circles, women live with deep weariness and what I call sawdust souls-an inability to experience any lasting joy. Their spirits are dry and depleted, but they aren’t even sure how to get close to God, or how to have intimacy with family and friends.”
“Busyness falsely promises productivity.”
In order to bring calm to the chaos, we must be able to identify where the chaos comes from. We need to listen to the voices that influence us and rid our lives of the voices that don’t line up with the voice of God.
“Unless we return to God’s original design for us and listen to His wisdom, the confusing voices of culture, even Christian culture, will lead us astray.”
“In the absence of Biblical convictions, people will go the way of culture.”
“Many of us struggle to bring God’s light to influence culture; instead, we have allowed culture to inform our values, our work ethic, and our ideals. Consequently, the values and habits of the world and Christians’ choices are often indistinguishable.”
“We were made for love—in fact, loving God and loving others sums up all the law!”
“Our calling is to bring light—like Jesus—so that when we step into the worlds of others, we bring His peace to every person and enlighten the dark places of the world. Coming into contact with us should be like coming in contact with Jesus.”
Personal Take-Aways and Challenges:
So, what is the answer? We have to identify the drainers. We need to know what steals our hearts away from God’s design for our lives.
Before we can make changes, we need to be honest about our priorities. We can say we are committed to a daily walk with God, serving our families, loving our communities, ministering to those in our paths, yet if our habits and commitments keep us too busy to do those things, then we are deceiving ourselves.
Perhaps it’s time to be brutally honest with ourselves. Often it is our self that we lie to the most. Putting our schedule down on paper is a great way to be able to see where our time is going. What eats up our day? Could it be social media, idle phone or text conversations, too many hours away from home? It will be different for each of us, but we each get the same 24 hours a day and those hours are filled with something. Whether it is idleness or excessive busyness, the drainers will find a way to consume our hours. We must be intentional about identifying where the time is going if we want to change how the time is spent.
Without a Biblical foundation, we are empty. There is no substitute for quiet time spent with the Lord. And the way He speaks is through His word. If my soul is void of the freshness of His word, daily, then I am empty and have nothing to give to those in my life.
A haunting question of my heart is this: When people come into contact with me, do they feel as if they have been in contact with Jesus?
What drainers can I eliminate so that my quiet time is more consistent? What commitments can I let go, so that the people I say I love most actually feel my love? What busyness can be traded in for effectiveness?
Each day my story is being written. So is yours.
Building someone else’s dream leaves our stories untold. Embrace the script God has for you. Love the people God has called you to serve.
Be honest, brutally honest, about what adds value to your life and be willing to set aside what doesn’t. Even good things can hinder our effectiveness. It doesn’t have to be sinful, sometimes it’s just not expedient.
How are you owning your life? Well. I trust.
A link to purchase this amazing book: