As we enter Holy Week, it’s a good time to ask: Can you fit God into your schedule? This Christian mindfulness practice asks for reflection on how much margin you are leaving in your to-do list. Is there enough space for God to schedule divine appointments for you?
Take a look at your calendar for the last month. I’m seeing more activity as spring arrives and people are vaccinated. Reflect on these questions:
- Have you taken on too many appointments and projects?
- Do you feel that you have no choice in the matter … that you are assigned too much or “volun-told” to do things too often?
- Do you go directly from one task to the next without stopping?
- Do you care more about your kids’ activities than they do?
- Are you double-booked at times?
- Do you say “yes” to activities that seem “high-profile” or flattering, but drain you?
Answering “yes” to these questions mean that you need to work on adding margin to your life and perhaps learning the skill of saying “no” to requests, even when they are framed as orders. (When I got overwhelmed with work, I used to bring my boss a list of my deliverables and ask her to prioritize them. The boss who was TERRIBLE at prioritization responded, “I want you to do them all.” Looking closely at her work style … working 7 to 9, being triple-booked and forgetting to put in time to drive to meetings … caused me to look for a new job.)
After analyzing this, ask God to help you develop a criteria for accepting new requests or invitations. Then run every request through the criteria.
Everyone’s list will be different. But for ideas, here are some of the statements on my list:
- Biblically sound and seems to be God’s will as far as prayer indicates.
- Glorifies God.
- Brings me closer to God.
- Will be loving to my neighbor, advance the kingdom and/or be a force for good.
- Is good for my family.
- Fits with my life calling.
- Can best be done by me. (Cannot be delegated.)
- Should not be eliminated or delayed.
If the proposed activity will take big blocks of your time, consider going to your spouse for input.
Even if your schedule is relatively open, having this criteria is helpful. This idea is from “A Guide to Practicing God’s Presence” by Kenneth Boa and Jenny Abel. A free pdf of this book is available here.