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August 2018

September 2018

Competing Priorities

Hello and Welcome! May you find encouragement and blessings in this post. 

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One Saturday morning, sweet chirps outside my window acted like an alarm and a trigger. Barely awake, my mental To Do List began streaming:

Head to the writing desk no later than 8 am. Finish the current blog post, start the next one. Water the patio plants before the writing or it’ll be forgotten. Weeds in the front bed. Complete before it gets warm so before the writing. Get out of bed right now and you can do it.  

I popped out of bed and scurried to the kitchen for coffee. A stack of dirty dishes caught my eye. I looked at the clock. 6:40. I can get these done before writing, then hit the plants and weeds.

Coffee in hand, I went back to the bedroom to change from my pajamas. The unmade bed beckoned a question. When were these sheets last washed? Better do it while I’m thinking about it.

I recalculated the time factor. Get the sheets started first, then soak the dishes while watering the patio plants. Once the dishes are done, the sheets will be ready for the dryer. Get to the weeds next and the sheets should be done when you return inside. Really, who is better at maximizing every minute? Nobody! I marched to the laundry room to begin the gauntlet.

Three words stopped me in my tracks. Meet with Me.

This Holy Spirit whisper was my stop sign. 

Of all the tasks on my To Do List, the tip-top priority should have been lingering with the Lord. 

Do your priorities ever collide with God's_
Like me, and maybe you, Jesus’s disciples faced a similar problem: identifying their greatest need.

In Luke 22, we read the disciples and Jesus gathered for the Last Supper and, later, in the Garden of Gethsemane. The meal was a remembrance of God’s grace for sparing their lives from the final plague of death and to commemorate their freedom from Egypt. At the Last Supper, Jesus planned to direct them to a new remembrance of him and his sacrificial death.

Luke’s account reveals the competing priorities of the disciples during the course of that meal. These priorities included loyalty, position and greatness, and the identity of the betrayer. When the group moved to the garden of Gethsemane, sleep became the priority over prayer.

What was Jesus’ priority? Remembrance and faith. Jesus, anticipating this meal, this time with them, intensely desired their presence and focus. He knew the disciples’ relationship with and trust in Him would be tested.


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Remain in me and I will remain in you.

John 15:4

Our faith, our trust is being tested. Jesus’ compassionate command to remain in him is a call to anchor ourselves to him. He is our Rock during times of testing. We are known to Him and we have full access to Him. We understand these things, but.... In my case, I let to-do lists’ and competing priorities lure me from Jesus. A subtle, steady drift.

Is it like that for you, too?

I can’t let competing priorities or anything else deter me from trying to get with Jesus. I know full well the enemy wants me restless and distracted and, for that reason, it’s worth any attempt I can muster. My greatest need that day, and every day, is absorbing His Word and settling into His Presence.

Remember this:

Every moment you intentionally seek out God you’re filled with a fresh awakening to his love for you and his power in you.
How do we inject time with Jesus in an already booked schedule? Set an invite to yourself to “Meet with Jesus”. If it’s not scheduled, then it’s probably not going to happen. You live strong by investing in your relationship with God. Keep in mind fleeting interactions won’t sustain you over the long haul. But, when you’re on overload and can’t linger for a session with Jesus, then maybe Take Five is your solution.

Icon Hearts Encouraged  Take Five  Icon Hearts Encouraged

Take Five is a three-part process.

Part 1: List your tasks for the day or week in priority order. Review the list. What are your greatest needs? In other words, what do you need from the Lord in order to be successful in the coming hour or the next eight hours? Is it wisdom, insight, attentiveness, creativity, patience? Document what you need.

Part 2: Take 5-10 minutes with the Lord to:

Acknowledge God’s priority in your life

Proclaim a statement of humbleness

Offer thanksgiving for the previous days provision

Tell the Lord of your greatest needs. Ask Him to be with you and to equip you for the task, the next hour, or the next person.

Part 3: Reflect on the tasks and the outcomes. Did He meet your need? Did you receive something you weren’t expecting? In Part 1 you documented what you needed. Now, you can document what Jesus provided. Reflection is your remembrance of and gratitude for Jesus with you.

I hope you’re encouraged to Take Five throughout your day to connect with the Lord. We would love to know how you take a “time out” to be with God in the midst of the hectic and crazy! Please share your thoughts on the Hearts Encouraged Facebook page (@TerriHutchinsonAuthor). 

References

The Last Supper. https://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/christianity/what-is-the-meaning-and-importance-of-the-last-supper.aspx#xmLjYbl1q6EVgxWk.99

Henri J.M. Nouwen, Here and Now: Living in the Spirit (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company , 2003).