Arlene Bergen blog postI’m one of those people who puts off going to the doctor as long as possible. There’s really nothing about the experience I enjoy, so I tend to put it off. But when health concerns lurk around the perimeter of my life and won’t go away, I eventually concede defeat and agree to get checked out by a professional. (Or is it, instead, that when certain family members who are employed in the medical profession stop taking my calls, I finally book an appointment?)

I remember one such time, about a decade ago. I knew a doctor’s appointment was imminent, but still I procrastinated. Months passed until I couldn’t put it off any longer and I finally scheduled a sit down, face-to-face with my doctor. He subjected me to a barrage of questions before reclining in his chair and delivering the trifecta: “Have you been tired, hungry, or feeling down recently?”

I replied, “Doctor, I could eat a sandwich, cry my eyes out, and fall asleep all in under a minute if you’d let me.” I had four preschool-aged children at the time and hadn’t slept through the night in longer than I could remember. I ate weird foods at even weirder intervals. I put that food into a body I’d like to say I didn’t recognize, but I did because it taunted me every time I walked past a shiny reflective surface. Even my thoughts didn’t feel like my own — I’d regularly blurt out odd phrases like “Stop licking the doctor’s chairs.”

I felt like I was on a merry-go-round — not one I wanted off of, but it would’ve been nice if the ride could’ve slowed down a little bit every now and again so I could take a deep breath and orient myself before it picked up speed again.

I was living through a season that often had me tired, hungry for nourishing food, and emotionally depleted, and left my head spinning. Maybe, like me, you’re having trouble anchoring your days. You’re spread too thin, pulled in too many directions, and the only thing constant in your life is change. Time feels short — like it’s gone too fast.

… Maybe you can relate …?

Finding a Fixed Point

So how can we be intentional about our time during those crazy, whirlwind-like days? How and what do we prioritize? Gandhi said, “Action expresses priorities.” He meant that what you do reveals what matters to you. Jesus said something similar:

Do not lay up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)

Jesus was saying that what we chase reveals what we love. Our hearts follow our treasure. So we’d better decide what matters to us because that’s what our hearts will wander after.

The years surrounding that doctor’s appointment were crazy-busy … full of spinning, moving change. But right in the middle of it all, I found a fixed point. I found something unchanging that I could shape my changing days around. During my kids’ quiet time, I made the choice to open my Bible and feed my tired, hungry soul, and soothe my troubled heart.

Isaiah 40

… Isn’t that beautiful?! God knows His people need comfort, but He loves them too much to comfort them with soft yet empty words. God reminds His people how temporary their lives are, then He points them to what isn’t temporary — to what will last forever. At the heart of every fleeting day there is something you can trust — no matter what the day brings. God’s Word (The Bible) is trustworthy because it lasts. God is trustworthy because He doesn’t change.

Malachi 3:6

No matter what your day brings, you can go through it knowing that God will never discover something new during its course that will change what He does or who He is. He’s always known all there is to know. Nothing you do today will surprise God. Nothing that happens to you today will surprise God. He knows you completely. Because He will not change, He will not change towards you.

Timothy Keller says,

“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”

God will not behave better or worse towards you depending on your behaviour, because God already knows all there is to know about you! God is completely good so He can’t get better or worse. So, in knowing His unchanging nature, we find unrelenting safety. God knows our rebellious hearts better than we know ourselves and He knows that the cost of our rebellion is a price too high for us to pay. That’s why, in a plan put in place before the creation of time, He became the solution that would deal with our sin. He paid the price.

He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him, as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear Him. For He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him. (Psalm 103:10-17)

Making the Most of Time

Our time is set and none of us can make more of it. All we can do is use the time we’ve been given to chase what will matter for all time. Forget New Year’s resolutions — they’re beyond all of us … Make new day resolutions. How will you spend the time you’re given this day? Can I offer you some ideas?

  1. Remind yourself who God is by going to the source. Yes, prayer, but how do you have good conversation with someone you don’t really know? Get to know God in the way He chose to tell us about Himself — the Bible. I don’t know the details of your day, but I’d bet you have about 15 minutes at some point to open the Bible and read a section. Read it like you would any other book — start at the beginning of one of its books and read a section. Begin at the first title you see and read until the next one. (If you’re doing this, don’t worry when chapter numbers interrupt your section — ignore them and keep reading.) After you’re done reading ask yourself what you learned about who God is. I love journalling what I’ve learned about God from my daily Bible reading.
  2. Remind yourself who you are. As you learn more about who God is, you’ll start to see yourself more clearly — it’s natural that in coming to know your Creator better, you’ll know yourself better. Knowing who you are according to your Creator is a far more reliable way of knowing yourself as compared to looking at other standards that change quickly and exact a pretty high cost.
  3. Ask how what you’ve learned will change your day. As you get to know God and yourself better, you’ll be able to see better what He wants for you each day. Just as a head’s up, it’s usually less about what you do and more about who you are.
  4. Try living this out in community. God made us for relationship — and isn’t it great to know that we can take the time we’ve been given to live with people who, yes, may come and go in this life, but they’ll be with us for eternity?!

There are many ways we can try to feed our tired and hungry souls, but not all (maybe not even many) will last. Take the time you’ve been given to chase what will satisfy you, forever.

Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
(Matthew 11:28-29)

Written by Arlene Bergen.

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