Lent: Day Twenty-six

Today has been a long day. Much of my free time was spent finishing my Knowing God lesson. You might say, why wait until the last minute to finish; can’t you do it earlier, allowing yourself to get a little ahead of the demand curve?

Good point. Actually my Knowing God study is the culmination of almost twenty-five years of reading and studying the book. Yet, it seems that I need the pressure of deadlines to actually focus and work on the lesson I am currently presenting. I am not sure why that is so, but it has been that way for me as long as I can remember. And it doesn’t matter whether it was/is for school (papers or projects), church (teaching or preaching, I can count on one hand the times I had a sermon class presentation done before Friday night), work (training or presentation materials, or even client projects), or even family items (we pack the night before we leave for somewhere and our taxes almost always get in on the last day of the last extension).

I have a good friend who has been after me about finishing my first novel (Destiny’s Passage) in the series I have been working on (The Lawgiver Chronicles) that covers the life of Moses. I decided today that the problem with the book is that I don’t have a deadline. I don’t have someone who has some authority over the situation, who has told me that I have to have this chapter done by Friday or the manuscript by June 15th or something along those lines. It is terrible to admit that you need real deadlines to do things, but that appears to be true.

About the only thing I have ever done on a consistent basis that didn’t have an real external deadline has been this blog (I don’t count reader expectations as a real deadline). While blogging, at least blogging that attempts to build up a readership, is the ultimate publish or perish scenario, it still is interior driven. Unlike reporters, who have a daily or weekly publication deadline to keep their jobs, we who blog do it for free and to be honest, even though my daily readership has risen from 5-10 a day last July to almost a 100 or more a day now, no one pressures me (except my wife ;-)) if I miss a day or two, or three.

Actually, the hardest thing I have done since I started blogging has been this Lenten series. Yet, even that is an internally imposed deadline of daily posting and yes, it breaks the mold of my needing external pressure. So, to do the Lenten series all the way through to the end, especially next weekend when we go to the conference in Las Vegas, will be a major accomplishment for me.

I want to be honest. There are so many things I want God to help me fix about myself, but I guess this may be one of the most important. I want to be better at planning and accomplishing things because they need to be done, not waiting until the pressure of a deadline becomes strong enough to get me moving. When God talks about people being faithful in little things, I believe that this context fits the bill.

The important part of all of this is that it applies to almost every area of life and almost everything that I do. It also involves making a definitive transition to being proactive rather than reactive (to pressure) in everything I do, which I am sure would mean a large reduction in stress.

Bringing this into the area of biblical studies, this is not an area I have done much investigation, though numerous scriptures come immediately to mind. God obviously is well planned. Jesus is the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the earth. So as I view God, I see him as not reactive but the quintessential example of acting proactively. Some of his plans work themselves out over centuries, some over years, some over days, and some take eternity itself to come to fruition.

We are commended in proverbs to plan, using the simple ant as an example.

Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. Proverbs 6:6-8

In the parable of the talents, Jesus rebukes the servant who buried his talent (Matthew 25:14-28. While the servant uses fear as his excuse, Jesus calls him a ”wicked, lazy servant” not a fearful one.

I guess I should say here that my problem is not laziness. I am not afraid of hard work and have worked long and hard hours for years. It is a matter of priorities and execution, and yes a form of procrastination that needs pressure to be overcome.

So, one more thing I will get out of this Lenten exercise, and I appear to be getting many things, is the accomplishment of doing this daily meditation and the good habits that will bring into the rest of my life. Changing ingrained, lifelong processes is extremely difficult, but with God’s help all things are possible. Jesus reminded his disciples of that very when discussing how difficult it was to obtain salvation.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27

So, remember my journey to a proactive life if God calls me to mind when you pray and if you are going through the same struggle, let me know and I will put you on my prayer list.

Grace and peace and the proactive grace of God be yours today and always.