Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
James 4:8 Come near to God and he will come near to you.
Yesterday, I received a call from a wonderful Christian lady who wanted to talk about how I juggle this thing called life and still keep my focus on Christ. We Hodges are super busy. There is no doubt about that. We go go go from daylight until dark, and we try to accomplish much People have asked me before how we get so much done in a day, and my answer is always, “The good Lord gets us through.” However, I don’t think anyone has ever asked me how I keep my focus on God in the midst of my busyness. We chatted for a while, and I tried to share some insight, but I hung up the phone worried that I hadn’t shared enough. That conversation was on my mind all evening, and I awoke thinking about it this morning. I’ve come up with a better answer. There is no right answer. There is no agenda we can follow. There is no specific list that explains how to make time for God in the busyness of life. Each person has to find what works for them individually. I’m in a much different season in life than the person who called me. My children are all grown and gone. I’m in the slowing down phase of life…though I haven’t quite figured that part out yet. I’ve put in the long hours.
While in school I worked full time and put in an additional 40 hours of clinical a week. During that time, I missed a lot of church. My priority was school. Oh I still talked to God, but not the all day long continual conversation kind of talks that we have now. When I finished school, I got up early and made rounds at the hospital. I worked Saturdays. I left early, and I stayed late. I put in as much time as I thought I needed to because I was just starting out in my career, and it was important to me that I do a really good job. I earned the respect of my colleagues and the trust of my patients. You would think that life was perfect, but nothing is perfect. I was juggling a full time clinic position, hiring and firing, training employees, making sure that there was enough money coming in to pay my employees, pay the bills, and keep the lights on. I dictated charts while driving to work in the morning, and I stayed up late doing paperwork, writing checks, calling patients, and anything and everything that needed to be done. Did I read my Bible during that time? To be truthful, the answer was not very much. I opened my Sunday School book on Sunday mornings and read just enough to gear myself up to teach my class. I never stopped loving God, but I lost the closeness that I had felt in my younger days. I was too busy. Oh, I prayed everyday as I went to work and before I went to sleep, but I never felt like what I was doing was enough. I didn’t feel like I was enough.
What happened? Life happened. After a failed marriage, I had the good fortune of marrying the guy that took me to my junior prom. Who would have ever thought that would’ve happened? Certainly not me! I fell in love, and I gradually realized that work was important, but God and family had to come first. I prayed, and I prayed. I can’t tell you how many times I sat down in the middle of all of my animals in the barn and cried out to God. I remember very vividly praying for God to become the center of our lives and to strengthen our marriage. I prayed that prayer a lot. You want to know something? He answered me! He answered a little old redneck woman from the sticks of south Mississippi who cried and prayed in a stinky old barn full of crazy critters. God heard my prayer. He slowly changed both my husband and myself, and we began to grow in our relationship with Christ. I got out of owning and running my own clinic and went to work for a larger company. I quit making hospital rounds. I began working fewer days of the week in clinic so that I would have more days at home. We began making a concerted effort to read our Bible together as a family at night and to pray together. I keep my radio tuned to Christian radio so that even when I’m driving the 20 minute trip to and from the clinic, I am being fed. My husband and I both became more involved in our church. We went on mission trips, and we love assisting in outreaches. We definitely changed, but not in and of ourselves. God made those changes in us because we asked Him to!
We are still crazy busy around here. We don’t stop. We go from daylight until dark, but we go about things in such a different way. Our focus isn’t on the dollar anymore. Our focus is on living our best life for Christ because hey, that’s what it’s all about anyway! We were created to serve and glorify God not the other way around. What worked for me may not work for you. You have to have your own up close and personal chat with the Lord. If you really want Him in your life, seek Him. He will help you clear the time in your schedule. Find a good devotional to read. Listen to christian praise music. Play a podcast while driving. Read your Bible together as a family. But most importantly, pray! Pray without ceasing. Talk to God all day long. He will hear your prayer. I promise! He will answer! All you have to do is be willing to receive the answer. Just slow down long enough to listen.