Proverbs 24:27 Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.
You roll over in bed to find, to your surprise, the sun shining brightly through the window. Frantically, you scramble for your phone to find the time, 7:50 AM! You spring from your bed to your closet, grab your clothes, and make a dash for the bathroom. You skip the breakfast, skip the coffee, and skip time with the Lord. You hop in your car, turn the key, and start your morning prayers which consist of hoping you can make it to work in two minutes, and with the gas light on (again!). You screech to a halt arriving at work after running one red light, cutting off numerous vehicles, and nearly hitting a morning jogger on the way. Breaking through the office doors like you finished a marathon, 8:09 AM, your day begins and you’re already behind and late. Your wife calls you upset because you grabbed her keys instead of yours. Your boss reprimands you (again) for being late. By 9:00 AM you have accomplished nothing at work besides trying to diffuse fiery tempers of others as well as your own. Why is my life so hard!
This fictitious story either stressed you out or maybe I described your daily morning routine. A man once said, “Life is stressful… That is why they say rest in peace.” Life is stressful at times, but I believe we often find the stress we face on a daily basis is self-inflicted. Pastor Esposito once said, “A lot of our problems are organizational problems.” I wonder how many accidents, offenses, relational disputes, and bad attitudes have originated from a lack of organization. Maybe the stress, hardships, and disputes that hit us daily can be avoided by organizing, planning, and preparing ourselves ahead of time.
I am thankful for parents and a pastor that have taught me the importance of prudence and preparation. Here are a couple very practical steps we can think about applying to our daily routine to help us be more prepared for the day and ultimately live an intentional life that is pleasing to the Lord.
Proverbs 4:26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.
Sit down, think, and write out your priorities. You could make a general list (1. God, 2. Marriage, 3. Family, 4. Occupation, etc.), but I learned it is good to make a specific daily list. What are my priorities every morning? Spending time with the Lord? Preparing your children for the day? Drinking coffee! What are my priorities when I get to work? What are my priorities when I get home from work? What are my priorities before I go to bed? You may find there are things that are in your schedule that really just waste your time. Once you have your priorities for your different stages of the day written down in order of importance, move to our step two.
You know what needs to get done, now start plugging it into your schedule! The restraints of time may also help us minimalize our list to our REAL priorities. Now, based on the number of your priorities in the morning, you can determine what time you need to wake up and what time you need to go to sleep. It is said that it takes more character to go to bed on time than it does to wake up on time. When we schedule our sleep, we find our body develops better sleeping habits and we obtain efficient sleep. Set a deadline for what time you need to leave your house in order to be on time to work or to church. My Dad would always say something along these lines “Fifteen minutes early is being on time.” Use an application on your phone to help you stay on schedule. Technology can be a great asset in this area. If we want to prioritize the things that are important to us, we must schedule them. If we don’t have a schedule, we will live by impulse. When we live by impulse, we become very susceptible to choose the wrong thing.
I am not suggesting everyone needs to live by a schedule of 5-to-15-minute increments and to never do something fun and impulsive. We all function differently, but we all need some form of scheduling in our life. I believe you will find that you can have more fun and accomplish a lot more within the confines of scheduling.
You have your priorities, and you have your schedule, now it is time to let the rubber hit the road. A plan is worthless if not executed.
In closing, I am thankful for those who have taught me these simple practical disciplines and I, like you, hope to apply and continue to apply these to my life. We are to be ambassadors for Christ and Christianity. Our lives should not be a wreck. I believe application and execution of clear and seemingly simple biblical principles can help us shape our lives so we can be more effective and accomplish more for the cause of Christ whether it is at our job, in our home, or in our ministries.
How can we follow through and see God do a great work in and through our lives?
As it made sense for the One who was the Word of God to follow the Word of God, so too does it make sense for His followers to do the same.