Message: “The Present of Presence” – Austin Parkhurst
Sunday, July 7th, 2019
Do you struggle with time management? The ubiquity of technology has created the illusion of making life more comfortable or freeing up almost infinite amounts of time in our schedule. In reality, we’ve managed to cram even more into our calendars, and instead of relaxation, our stress levels are through the roof. Anxiety disorders are the single most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting over 40 million adults age 18 and older every year – that’s nearly 20% of our population living at their wits end.
Much of that anxiety comes back to our overloaded lifestyles, meaning the urgent often takes precedence over the important. Our time is a finite resource, and life’s most important moments don’t often come with do-overs or second chances. How much stress can your body take before it takes a toll on your mental or physical health? How long will your partner or your kids tolerate your constant distraction before they start behaving in self-destructive ways to get your attention, or worse, walk away?
Sometimes, an overloaded calendar is a fear-based distraction we use to keep us from facing what would be staring back at us in the mirror if we had the courage to slow down.
Right now, I want you to stop reading and think about what you have to do this week. Take an honest look. Now ask yourself, am I putting as much effort into the important as I am the urgent? That constant sense of urgency can strip away your contentment, your creativity, and your peace of mind, leaving you cranky, frustrated, and overwhelmed. Your life is defined by doing, not being.
I’m not suggesting you quit your job and live in a yurt in South Dakota so you can focus all your time and attention on your family, but I am asking you to consider whether you are present in their lives right now. Given an average week, are you being intentional about investing in the lives of those who matter most to you? Does your family get all of you or just the top of your head while you stare at your screen? Have you become a spectator in your own life?
Joel 2:25 says, “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.” By being mindful of our time here on earth and being intentional about being fully present for those we love, we have the promise of God that He will redeem our remaining time, guiding us through His plan for our life as is promised in Jeremiah 29:11-14. God has “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Allow Him to have control of your calendar – learn the freedom and power of saying “No” to the things that are merely distractions and embracing the things that hold eternal value. Think of it this way – your time on earth may be finite, but the legacy you leave behind is timeless, lived out for generations to come.
Make your legacy the gift of being present.
1. What is one thing in your life than you need to start saying “No” to?
2. Who in your life is most in need of your time and attention?
3. How does your relationship with God impact how you spend your time? Do you make time to cultivate that relationship every day?
4. What do you think God sees when He looks at how and where you spend your time? What changes can you make so that you can experience the “hope and the future” promised in Jeremiah 29?