The weather report said that there was a small chance of thunderstorms, but the forecasters are rarely accurate in their predictions. So I was caught by surprise when I was awakened by the gentle rain dripping off the roof onto the deck outside my bedroom. The fresh aroma of pine floating on the breeze was refreshing until my mind suddenly switched gears from the sublime to the urgent. What did I forget to cover up outside? Are the windows by the computer left open? Did I leave the freshly washed car in the driveway or is it in the garage? My momentary bliss was interrupted by what I had failed to prepare for. The warnings were there, the opportunity to take action was available, but I “chose” to ignore the signs while spending my time on other things.
We all have areas in our lives where we are susceptible to being “caught by surprise”; areas, in which we have heard the “warnings”, had the “opportunity” to take action and have “chosen” to spend our time doing other things. Take a moment and jot down some areas of your life that fit this pattern. Keep this list where you won’t lose it, because you will want to refer to it from time to time to “check your pulse””
Over the next several weeks, we will be look at some common areas in which we can be “caught by surprise”. Your personal situation (remember your list?) should fall into one or more of the categories that we will cover.
CENTER ON: (Contemplate your present situation)
Exercise keeps us from getting spiritually pudgy; full of information, but unable to run with the swift or train the weak because we only know how to sit on the bench. We need to exercise our minds applying God’s truth in our life every day. Just as an athlete trains for an event, we must train to stay fit for our service. (Romans 12:1-2)
Nutrition provides us with the fuel to stay healthy. Our spirits are like a computer, “garbage in, garbage out”. We must constantly be filling our minds with the things of God, so when we are under pressure the things of God come out. (Philippians 4:8)
Elimination is the process of well, “eliminating”! Whether it’s unhealthy stuff we have been feeding into our minds or activities that we are involved in that keep us pudgy. We have to make choices between what’s good and what’s not. (Psalm 139:23-24)
Rest allows us to regroup and focus on God. We can run in so many directions, be involved in lots of good endeavors, and forget who created us for His pleasure. Our spirits can’t run on empty without rest or we will “crash & burn”. (Isaiah 40:31)
Goals help move us from “what is” toward “what is better”. Without goals we find ourselves getting off course from our objective; in this case our goal is spiritual health. God’s plan for us is to prosper, to have hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Y– Factor. The “Y-Factor” is our “yearning” for God. It’s the passion to know Him and to have a deeper relationship. Sometimes when our life is out of balance this “yearning” grows dim. We need to take time to remember that God hasn’t moved. (Psalm 42)
REAL-LIFE EFFECTIVENESS: (Construct & Implement a plan to improve)
Tips to on how to construct and/or implement a plan to have more ENERGY:
Find one person each day to compliment.
Help someone who you see is in need.
Write an e-mail (or letter) thanking someone.
Schedule time to read your Bible (morning or evening)
Turn off the television and read some good books
Listen to tapes or CD’s from sound teachers
Find some good replacements for activities you want to eliminate
Spend time with your family playing a game
Develop friendships with your neighbors
When we eliminate some activities we can actually get more sleep at night
Plan to take one day off a week to worship God without other activities
Try some relaxation exercises to reduce stress (Prayer, breathing, stretching)
Set aside thirty minutes every week to set goals for the upcoming week
Evaluate the progress you made on last week’s goals
Consider writing a “mission statement” for your life and set goals as well
Pray for God’s guidance when you feel separated from Him
Read through the Psalms; look for prayers that express your feelings
Take a long walk in the park, desert or mountains to focus on God