(In The Life Of The Church)
Unsolicited Free Advice
I gave an interview this morning for a class project someone was working on. In it, I answered a question that I get asked from time to time. “What do you do to get life/for formation/to stay healthy?”
I have objective answers for this question.
1. a devotional of sorts. Right now it’s David Whyte’s Consolations
2. before I work out I sit in my car in silence 5 minutes, then I read a small section of a formational book. Right that now that’s Richard Rohr’s Immortal Diamond. Then I pray simple prayers for the things I am moved to pray for.
3. Be outside. We are in the middle of the best time of the year in Waco. I recently hung two chairs that I purchased with my birthday money (picture below). Sitting in that chair and reading or making a fire and cooking over it are life giving. This summer I read Wayne Mueller’s book on sabbath and he said that a study was done on healthy people. The number one restorative activity was being outside.
4. Eat with friends. My favorite part of my day is usually a meal with someone I love.
5. Leave work at work. For the most part, I do a good job of not taking work home with me.
6. Working out. If I don’t work out on a day I’m supposed to, I feel the worse for it.
7. Watch TV with my wife from 8:30-10:00. After we get the kids down for bed, my wife and I hang out. This is really important for both of us and we are good at sticking to it.
8. Music. I listen to music that I love while I work.
Most of what I listed might seem obvious to you. These are not novel ways to keep oneself healthy. What I wrote is a compilation of disciplines, boundaries, indulgences and loves.
Now I’m going to tell you a secret that I learned that is fantastic. If you put this into practice (in so far as you have enough control over your life and schedule to do so), it will make your life better.
There’s a Baptist association in Waco. It’s called the Waco Regional Baptist Association. They partner with Truett to host something called Roundtable Discussions (or they did, I’m not sure if they still do it). The discussions are designed to be a brief fellowship time over a meal followed up by a short talk that is informative for pastors. I never go to these kinds of things. Not because they aren’t great, but because I value #4 (see above) more. A few years ago, professor friend of mine invited me to go to one. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that they (the professors) got some pressure to invite their pastor friends to boost attendance. So to honor my friend, I decided to go. I did not know what the topic would be when I agreed to go. When I got there I discovered that it was “time management.” My first thought was, “the best way to help manage my time would be by not hosting a lunch that my friend was pressured to invite a pastor to on the topic of time management.” But alas, I was there and it was what it was.
The lady doing the presentation did a great job. I was much more enthralled than I planned to be. In fact she gave one piece of advice that I’ve implemented and it has changed my life. She said, “Everyone complains that they don’t have enough time. We all have the same amount of time. Every one of us has 24 hours in a day. You can’t change that. What you can do is control your schedule. You need to fill your day with as many things that give you life as you do that take it.”
Genius! Genius I tell you. So if I have a hard meeting that’s inevitable … what do I do? I make sure to put it on a day when I have my best buddy for lunch on the schedule and a new episode of The Good Place drops. If it’s time to renew the church’s health insurance plan, I make sure that it’s also time to order a new book off of Amazon. If I have to make a phone call I don’t want to, I follow that up with 30 minutes of a Planet Money episode while I grab snickers from the church refrigerator. For five years now, I’ve been a strategic scheduler and it has saved my life.
So my advice is this. Sit down and look at your schedule. What graces can you sneak into it, so that it will help make your day delightful?
All Saints Day Liturgy (November 1st)
Join us for a liturgy of remembering those who have died who have well-reflected the light of Christ in our lives and re-membering ourselves to the living who are embodying the presence of Christ in our lives today. We’ll gather in the Backside at 5:30PM.
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Please keep our juniors and seniors in your prayers this weekend as they attend their UBC weekend retreat.
Parishioner of the Week
Braxton Ray and Parker Graham for getting married.
Sermon Text: Luke 18:9-14
Work is Worship
Greeters: Kristi Pereira
Coffee Makers: Davis
Mug Cleaners: Davis
Money Counter: JD Newman
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