Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Staying on Track

Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2.4

It is now two days after Easter. Most of you know that I believe Easter to be the greatest day of the year. Without Easter we would not celebrate any other holy days or holidays. In fact, were it not for Easter, there would not be a Christian faith. So each spring I focus my attention and energy to Easter. Lent has become important to me as a preparation for the best day of the year. But this year things have been different in my head and in my heart.

My head has been pre-occupied and busy with all sorts of activity and involvement. The minutiae of life has taken over it seems. I have- necessarily, I believe- neglected some of the things that I would normally be paying attention to. I have not been the person that I should be because my mind has not been where it should be. One perfect example of this inattentiveness is the tardiness of this article. It was due over two weeks ago. And yet, here I am writing it now. I am sorry that this is late. I am sorry that it has held up the whole newsletter. I am sure that you have no idea how truly sorry I am.

My heart has been emotionally fragmented and stunted. I have had less patience for people, their concerns and how I can help them than I should have. My commitments are waning. I know what I should be doing, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to overcome a nagging sense of apathy. My relationships are suffering as a result.

The confessional nature of this writing is semi-intentional. It is not my purpose to ease my conscience or provide a sense of emotional absolution for my own shortcomings, although it is doing that very thing. I am writing this particular article because I believe that I am not the only one with these problems. I have a hunch that many people reading this are struggling with apathy, complacency and indifference. Lack of commitment often creeps in and takes hold of our hearts without warning. We are stuck with it before we even know it.

There are some answers, though.

  • Begin with prayer. You may not feel like it. You may not want to do it. But pray.
  • Renew your commitments. Be reminded of all that you have promised your family, your God, your church and your community.
  • Find an accountability partner or team. There are people all around you who can use a little help in this process, just like you. Keep track of each other and your progress in these things. Push one another along.
  • Do a regular self-check. Keep track of your progress and give yourself a grade every few weeks. On the first of every month, for example, evaluate your priorities and intentions. Make sure that you are staying on course with what you have promised and what God wants for you.
  • Finally, let God help you in this process. It was Paul who encouraged his young disciple, Timothy, with these words, “…stir up the gift of God which is in you…” (1 Timothy 1.6). God wants you to be revived, to remember, to return.

I know that I need to get things straightened out in my life. I am not sure where you are, but let me encourage you to remember what you are called to do. Don’t be lazy. Do what God has called you to do.

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