What are your priorities?
I think this year has been good at reminding us to prioritize. What are the non-negotiables in our lives? When almost everything closed down, most of us had a chance to have a clean slate schedule. We didn't have to choose.
But, now that things are opening back up, what are your priorities? What have you put back on your schedule? Have you put anything back solely based on habit?
We have a unique opportunity to keep examining our priorities and schedules. It's okay to say 'no.' It's okay to say 'not now.'
What are your excuses?
I know that there are some things in our lives that we just don't want to do. Maybe someone asks us to help with something or we have to go to an event, and we just simply don't want to. But, instead of being honest and saying so, we often come up with an excuse of why we "can't." Wouldn't it be easier to just say what we're thinking instead of a white lie?
I think it's very important to prioritize, especially during this time, when we want to keep ourselves, our families, and others safe. We want to make wise decisions. The problem comes when we make up an excuse or use our circumstances as a scapegoat.
Unfortunately, hasn't COVID provided the perfect scapegoat if we don't want to do something? I know some people are honestly concerned, but let's not pretend we are concerned in order to back out of doing things, interacting with others, or just simply living.
My challenge for you is to start thinking of the real reasons, the honest truth reasons, before you say no to something, and communicate that reason instead of making up an excuse.
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33
Several months ago, we decided to rent a storage unit to start clearing out our house and get a head start in the moving process. We figured we'd only have it about three to four months until our house was finished being built. Then COVID came, delayed everything, and nine months later, we were finally getting the last of our belongings out.
As we pulled up to the unit to get the last of our things, we noticed part of a guitar stand on the ground and my side of the unit door was unlatched. "Wow," I thought, "we must be getting really tired of moving to be so careless."
But, alas, we were not careless. The latch on the other side of the door was cut so when we opened the door, we saw that the remainder of our belongings were strewn about the unit, leaves were everywhere, and several tubs were now empty. It was so disheartening. We are still not exactly sure what is missing, but honestly, part of me doesn't want to know and learn that something precious is gone forever.
It's hard for me to wrap my brain around the fact that someone was sitting in their house on a Sunday night and came to the decision that a fun activity would be to get some tools and go break into several storage units and steal things. On the other hand, do you read the latest news articles? Or even just read the headlines? It's pretty obvious that people make bad decisions all the time. Evil is everywhere.
In the book of John, Jesus says that in this world, we will have trouble. He doesn't say 'might' or 'possibly'. He says 'we will'. In other words, we are guaranteed to encounter trouble. So, why do we act so surprised when there is trouble? When there is cheating, hate, deception, and so many other awful things. We live in a world that has become blind to sin so certain things shouldn't shock us.
I'm not saying we should accept the bad or condone it, but how should we react? Jesus says that we will have trouble in this world, but we can also find peace! And we can find our peace in Him alone. Instead of adding to the chaos and sin, let's shine His light of peace. Let's counteract with love, compassion, and simply being the bigger person. We need to stop being surprised by sin and stand strong.