Space: The Missing Component To a Life of Joy

“I needed this...and I had no idea how much I needed this!”

That’s what we hear over and over from people getting off trail.
Is it the mountains they needed? No.
Is it the cooler weather? Hardly.
Is it the time spent sleeping on the ground? Um...nope.

In a world filled with more and more connection, business and time spent ‘on’, our minds are not given the ability or space to rest. We are always on the go, always reachable for work, always distracted and rarely taking the extended time we need to slow down and allow the underlying tensions to rise to the surface and be wrestled with. We are not in need of another time management tool, we are in need of time with the Creator. We do not need to do a better job at inviting God into our lives, we need to create more space for God to transform our eyes to see life as He created it.

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly (Matthew 11:28-30, The Message).

One of the dangers of living in a constant state of distraction is that we never go to the bottom of our pain, our sadness, our emptiness... which means we never receive the comfort promised to those who mourn so we are always on the prowl for more and better distractions. (Ruth Haley Barton)

Sure, we run the risk of burnout...but we can try to push through burnout with more energy drinks and improved systems. More than burnout, we run the risk of living without joy and without LIFE. We are told over and over in scripture that God desires us to have both of those and they can only be found in Him.

There is no formula, no 3 steps to finding them...but rather, a relationship that is connected to the King as the branch connects to the vine (John 15).

Would you take 5 minutes to evaluate your time and commit to creating space to connect with God?

  • If you had 1 hour created in your day with no work, family, or life obligations...where would you go?

  • If you could ask God one question, what would you ask Him?

  • What keeps your mind occupied and distracted from space to rest?

  • If you had more joy in your life, would it make you more effective at your #1 role?

Don’t let good get in the way of great. Don’t let jobs rob you of your joys.

Create space to rest.
Create space to think.
Create space to connect with God.

You will say, ‘I needed this.’

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The Cost of Obedience

“I would consider it a joy if I caused my family to suffer for the sake of the gospel” - Mark Young

I remember vividly when Dr. Mark Young made that statement in my World Missions class at DTS. As a spouse or parent, we have a dilemma when it comes to obedience. For me to obey, it may cause suffering in the life of my wife or family...and the opposite is true as well. But in the long run, am I trying to create a suffering avoidance lifestyle or an obedient one? What if I am wrong, does that hurt my status as a leader?

We might not be fully sure of a decision, but God calls us to step out in faith. There is a process of listening, obeying and evaluating that must be refined throughout the life of a believer. I must be willing to suffer for the people and places that God calls my family or friends to go to, and I must have the courage to do the same when I am called.

We live for the sake of the gospel...not our own comfort.

The mere act of attempted obedience is a better risk than a fear of the suffering that obedience might cause.

For more on this topic: My Utmost for His Highest - Jan 30

Start with Weakness... Invest in Strength

"For when I am weak, then I am strong."

2 Corinthians 12:10b

Should we focus on our strengths or work on our weaknesses?

Our weakness, as Paul discusses, is a mindset, not a lacking of skills. Paul is referring to how weak we are because of our sinful hearts. This theme is seen throughout the Bible and we are well served to embrace it. If we rely on our abilities or our own goodness, we are setup to fail. We should remind ourselves every morning that we are weak, but that He offers strength. Anything that reminds us of that weakness should be seen as a good thing.

Now that we are grounded, reminded of grace and sure of where our strength comes from, go out and make the most impact by investing the most time in the areas you are most gifted. Live out your strengths and God will use the gifts He has given you to accomplish the plan He has. This is when we get the most joy in life!

We know it is about Him...not us.

We use the gifts & passions He has given us.

We are apart of His mission.

10x the Investment... of Your Time

If we knew beyond A shadow of a doubt that we could invest 10x our money, we would have no problem finding some cash to invest. It would be a no brainer.

As you look back on 2017, have you thought where you spent time that generated a 10X return on your joy, your impact, or your peace? It is easy for us to get into a rut of living reactive lives that are so "BUSY" and filled with the things other people think we should do. This is not sustainable and will rob us of the life God promises. 

Psalm 1:3 states, "He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers."

The prospering of the tree begins with where it is planted. If it is planted by the source of life, it produces good fruit. We are not much different than that tree. If we root our lives in the Living God, it will produce good will produce LIFE. *Side note: prospering does not always mean financial prosperity, but if we live with purpose, the joy we receive is better than anything money can buy.*

What will you invest your time doing in 2018 that will multiply your impact?