Prioritizing

I work in an environment that prides itself on self-management, growth and development.  There seems to be a never ending supply of courses, classes, events, seminars and webinars.  All aimed to help every associate move forward in productivity and progress.  A few months back, I attended a Leadership Management seminar.  The objective of the seminar was to aid leaders on how to manage their time, their people, and their projects.

priorities3While attending the seminar, we were given a few principles to apply to our work life that could support us as we manage the countless tasks associated with our positions.  Oddly enough, weeks ago, I began a principle based women’s study on Sabbath rest that enforced some of the very same concepts visited during the seminar.  With the help of both, the seminar and the theological concepts God provided through the release of the Israelites from Egypt <Exodus 1>, I am learning to better work through what is most important to do, and elect to do those things.

 Thought to Ponder: Prioritizing can increase Sabbath time.

The majority of us have a two bucket view.  We have the things we believe to be needs/necessity, then we have the things we perceive to be wants.  Since I have deemed everything I do to be important, and I usually feel that everything really does need to be done, I have now put all my “To Do’s” in one bucket.  Actually,… all our “To Do’s” come with a certain amount of value.  At any moment, every item on our list can fall into the need category, depending on the day or the time.   

With that said, this is what I did to tackle the task of prioritizing my own Life “To Do” list.  But first, you must create a “To Do” bucket.  123

Now, spend some time determining how important each “To Do” is to you.  If you are like me and believe all your items are important, this process may take a while.  * High Items = urgent, required, critical. * Medium Items = required eventually; but can wait till later.  *Low Items = would be nice to have.

After determining the importance of your items, then prayerfully decide which ranking best fit each task. 

*Essential – This item is currently not adequate and must be changed immediately.  

*Conditional – This item can be changed or improved.  However, it does not qualify as inadequate if it is left as is.  

*Optional – This item may or may not be worth the time or the effort.

Even though I am not at all fond of 1-2-3 step answers, I pray this model give you a more clear view of your ever growing “To Do” list.  But remember, even as you work out the details …

 “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”  <Proverbs 16:9>

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Sabbath Resting

I do not recall ever hearing much complaint.  It was not unusual.  This was simply how things were.  Everyone unwittingly adapted to what was the norm.  We were all accustomed to the force of the still quiet.  Had there been any chaos in the days preceding, it too would soon be forced to comply.  The early morning sunrise seemed to have an invisible bell that quietly rang through the air without being seen.  There was no real indicator it was there, but somehow we were all certain that it was.  It was indescribable; a strange conflicting clash between humdrum and happy.

Everyone knew, if there was anything deemed necessary, it would have had to be pre-planned.  If anything was needing to be bought, brought, cooked, ordered, delivered, fixed, repaired, towed or included – it would  have to be done in advance or not at all.

 Because on Sunday, rest was the unspoken requirement; the day all were forced (or expected) to be still.

There would be families gathered together for dinner, communion and community.  There were Believers assembled together to commemorate the resurrection of Christ.  There were planned outings with one another, purely to build relationships and closeness.

There was time for worship.

Today, Sunday’s are inconspicuously stapled to the rest of the days of the week.  It is no longer its own special day, with its own special place.  Sunday’s have conformed.  There is no longer a distinct difference when compared.  For many, it has become a catch-all.  Any undertaking that was unable to be pressed into the prior six days can now be scheduled on the seventh.

In Exodus, the Lord commanded the Israelites against this very concept.  “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.  You are to labor six days and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath to the Lord your God.  You must not do any work …..”

To not do any work is an idea many of us cannot comprehend.  Often, we find it difficult to give up our own agendas, our scheduled programs or our plans.

Like the Israelites, when they were enslaved, we too have been groomed to do all you can; to labor without ceasing.  That to stop and rest gives a notion of being lazy or slothful.  That to be idle is unproductive and a waste of valuable “to do” time.  That there is always something to do and you must always be doing something.

For those of us who are in Christ, we are not required to keep the ceremonial law of the Sabbath Day. <Hebrews 8, Galatians 4:10, Colossians 2:16>.  Yet, the principal the Lord provides through the Sabbath is a very practical model to the benefit of us all.  The need to stop and rest was crucial for them then and advantageous for us now.

Thought to Ponder:

If we are ever to profit from the principles provided through the Sabbath, we must first intentionally add Sabbath Rest – Sabbath Margin – Sabbath Time to our days.  “Remember, you were a slave in the land of Egypt, but the Lord your God brought you out ….” <Deut. 5:12-15>

You are now free ….to take some time to rest…. in your acknowledgement of Him.

Different Equal

She grabbed the rope that was leaning against the first platform and swung to the other side. The rope looked to be attached to a pole, anchored in the middle of a water pool with a track like maneuver overhead.  The goal was to glide the top of the pole through the maze contraption. With precision and certainty, this feat was accomplished with ease.  Then, with confidence, she leaped off a trampoline to grab the underside of a slightly hanging cargo net.  Arm FlexThe crowd was going wild; chanting her name – screaming words of encouragement.  With controlled upper body strength, she was sure to not touch the water waiting below.  Reaching the top mat, landing on both feet, she defeated the obstacle course.  Ignited by the hype of the achievement, she balled her hands in tight fists, lifted both arms in a “L” shape and flexed her arm muscles.  Immediately the announcer says …… “What an accomplishment! She has shown everyone what she is made of; girls everywhere are standing to their feet!”

What? (As the needle quickly scratches over the vinyl record – in my head)

What did he just say?

The initial purpose of The Women’s Liberation movement was to free women from tyranny in a culture that viewed women as “less”.  A movement with a purpose that would raise consciousness of her intelligence, make aware her astuteness and openly note her overall value.  It was the culture that was blind to the value of the role of the woman, but God was definite when he created her as he did.  So God, not man, created what man needed – a woman.  There was no thought of subservience or maid service.  Yet, with absolute mindfulness that it was not good for man to be alone.  <Gen. 2:18>

Man and woman, created with their own purposes; different responsibilities – equal in value.

Thought to Ponder

Somewhere it has been noted that the evidence of what makes men and women different is to be hidden within society.  That women are to be uncomfortable in the things that hold true to her natural design and should rightfully aim to exceed the man.  It is the beauty of a woman in her entirety that is a complement to any realm.  Her attributes to nurture, encourage, cultivate, raise, support, teach, inspire, develop and promote is the glue to every social order.

Woman, as she walks in her planned blueprint, flexing her muscles under God’s pleased eyes, can bask in the praise of her accomplishments. <Prov. 31:30>  And to that – girls everywhere can stand to their feet.

Lady Cheering3

One to Another

The planning was over, every seat was accounted for and the event was a success.  white dressSixteen ladies, all dressed in white, gave their time – talent and – treasures without hesitation.  Totally willing to graciously share in the idea that healthy marriages and positive relationships are worth the extra effort they so desperately require.

These ladies know, firsthand, that being created as a valuable addition to the many relationships you will encounter in your lifetime is no slow stroll in the park.  On the contrary, if you are not attentive and intentional you could very well find yourself, years from now, still slow strolling; not adding any value to anyone.  But yet, here they were, God-enlisted “encouragers of doing good”; each one of them holding true to the focus point of the event: “One to Another”.

One to another was our focus, but “Why Do We Give?” was the apparent question.  Actually, underneath the obvious was the hidden thought of, “Why do we give …..  so much?”  Why is it that we do what we do?  Why do we give the time we claim we never have enough of, though it can always be found when the voice on the line sounds exasperated, unsure and in need of hope.  When she is in need of an ear, we listen.  When she needs our opinion, we lovingly share what would be best – opposed to what may feel best.  Why do we give that talent we are adamant about not yet mastering.  GIve backThat one thing we know we may not be the best at doing, somehow seems possible when the outcome is for the greater good.  That inexact ability ultimately loses its fear-provoking grip when there is a gap to be filled and she subtly ask for your help.  And why do we give, when all else fails; without overthinking its tangible value, what it will take to be replaced, how long it took to accumulate or if it will ever be given back – a portion of our treasure.  It all comes without question: if she needs it, it is hers for the taking.

Neither our time, talent, nor our treasures have preset limits when our hearts aim to encourage, build-up and support.

Thought to Ponder:  Each one of us has an active role in helping another woman reach her goal of being more than she could otherwise be when left at her own devices.  We were not intended to jog, walk or run the life race alone.  It is through the blessed gift of humility that one is inclined to ask for help when it is needed.  It is also through the blessed gift of humility that one is inclined to give help when it is needed.  In His abundant love for us, God did not leave us wondering about the part we play in the lives of those around us.Hammer-and-nails

  • “…Instruct one another.” (Romans 15:14)
  • “Teach…[one another]” (Colossians 3:16)
  • “…Admonish one another (Colossians 3:16)
  • “…Encourage each other…”(I Thessalonians 4:18)
  • “…Build each other up…” (I Thessalonians 5:11)
  • “…Spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24)

With the aid of others, you and I are more capable of accomplishing all that God has intended. So why do we give? … Because we are better together.

With you – I am better than I otherwise would be.

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“Friends” Reconsidered …

Thanks to whiz kid like creativity and boundless technical savviness, being in-the-know has become easier than ever before.  Reaching out or being reached is now at the touch of a button.  With one click, you can have “Friends” by the hundreds or even thousands; those who are near and those who are not.  It is as simple as sending a request.  In times past, this was equivalent to, “How about we hang out some time?”  Today, this once full-of-thought offer comes without any visual expressions to infer.  Nothing to interpret prior to an accepted response, no time spent to confirm common interest, and little concern of the old fashion referral process.  Yet, once you are “Accepted”, you are immediately in the Circle of Know.

Yes, it is worthwhile to stay in touch and keep connected.  Life happenings that would otherwise be missed are now easily accessible for all to view.  The wedding of your cousin, your sister’s trip to Alaska, your best friend’s daughter’s first day of school, college graduations, Senior Prom, Homecoming, acceptance to medical school, and the much anticipated – we are pregnant – announcements.  With ease, everyone accepted as “Friend” readily appears in the scrollable news feed. Guard our heart

It is here – this scrollable place subtly alluded to as benign, that you are able to peak into the hearts and minds of everyone you have listed as “Friend”.  With freedom of speech and personal permission practiced as choice, confidence in expression is overly apparent.  There are no boundaries to uphold.  Limitations are endless and margins are wide.  Each “Friend” tagged under their own individualized headline, comment, story, bleep or outburst.  Whatever the yearning, thought, concern, or desire, – it is here – that it is revealed without restriction, in the scrollable news feed.

It is because of these freedoms: casually scrolling through the news feed is no longer a thoughtless luxury.  In a matter of seconds, without any warning, we can be subjected to the depraved whims of those we have enlisted as “Friend”.  At times, we are violated in our thoughts, dishonored in our morals and disrespected in our person. We naively accept with unknowing consent whatever our “Friends” have deemed permissible.

NOTICE: Being in the Circle of Know must be done with absolute caution. It is absolutely necessary that we consciously scroll through with guarded eyes and a pre-determined standard.

Thought to Ponder:

Iron

God has given instruction, “Watch over your heart with all diligence…for from it flow the issues of life” <Proverbs 4: 22-24>.  Just as iron sharpens iron <Proverbs 27:17>, so friends sharpen the minds of each other.

 May we find a commendable purpose in our relationships with those we allow in our – news feed – and consider as “Friends”.

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Next TO gathering is Friday October 30th. See you there!

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“TimeOut”

Time is a recorder of events

Time is a collection of every moment

Time is only before us

Time is intended only for us

Time is not always well spent

Time is designed to do what is meant

Time is a beginning – Time is an end

Time is a foe – Time is a friend

Time is always a balancing oppressor

Time is without a forerunner or successor

Time is without an equal

Time is inevitably without a sequel

Time provides, Time to engage,

In life…In others…In mistakes that were made.

Time is a procurer of many things

But there is a component of life that Time cannot bring

Time moves forward and never back peddles

Yesterday, can never return, even when today is unsettled

Time is not an opportunity to redo or undo

Time is the AUTHOR of opportunities to make ALL things new

So, there are these moments in Time that we beg to rewind

For in that instance we were spiritually blind

Whether, ignorance, arrogance, or self-indulgence

Time provides for spiritual-adjustment

In our mind, In our heart, In the way we live

And because God knows – This is what His Time gives

“TimeOut”…

TimeOut to reflect

TimeOut to accept

TimeOut to be what others reject

TimeOut to hear

TimeOut to fear

TimeOut to be what others revere

TimeOut to repent

TimeOut to relent

TimeOut to be in moments well spent

TimeOut to labor

TimeOut to savor

TimeOut to be who my Husband Favors

In Word, In Deed

I will be what he needs

For Him, For Us

I will trust

For Family, For Friends

I will mend

For Strangers, For the Lost

I will toss

Evil, Hypocrisy,

Gossip, Foolishness,

Lying, Discord,

and the look of the Proud

I will learn how, in my

                                                                                                      “TimeOut”

 

Author: Karla Y. Sutton-McKinney

A “Back to the Beginning” original *Kansas, City, Missouri* 2015

 

Don’t Judge Me!

To my surprise, after their brief walk over the land behind our house, the three of them returned with their hands filled. As I stood there looking surprised, thinking they were only going for a quick walk with grandma, the kids were excited about their new found treasure.  And my mom was proud to be the pioneer of this unpredicted treasure hunt.

The kids begin to share with me how grandma noticed the tree from afar off. As they got closer, she immediately knew what type of tree it was and did a speedy inspection.  There are no spots or holes on the leaves or the fruit, no white coating or branch dieback, no yellowing or browning of the foliage.  Mom’s findings were confirmed.

Mom had come to a measured decision, a sensible conclusion – a common sense observation – based on the factual findings of the tree.  This was not just a see then say.  It was after an actual assessment, then a judgment was made; the tree was good and the apples were able to be eaten.

It is a sensible conclusion to see an apple tree and expect it to bare apples.

Apple treeUsually, when we think of judgment, we think of a trial or jury; us grudgingly standing before our peers, waiting for a verdict.  Often believing our actions are being weighed on top a conclusion that is based on the opinion of the observer.  We so easily tie judgment to our person, and all the while, missing obvious judgments to things that are straightforward and real-world, every day.

We all are one and the same to the apple tree.  As we go about our everyday lives our actions will be noticed from a far and the words we speak will be evaluated.  As others come close, they will quickly consider what type of ‘tree’ we are and they too will do a speedy inspection to determine the condition of that which we bare.  We all would find it strange to see an apple tree baring kiwi.  Even Jesus the Messiah expected the fig tree to bare figs.  “ And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it.  When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves… ”, 

It is unrealistic to exclaim to others,   “Don’t Judge Me!”  We openly ask those who encounter us to not weigh our actions/words/behaviors.  We often attempt to thwart their common sense observation based on their findings.  But, if we have proclaimed to be an ‘apple tree’, those observing us will undoubtedly expect to see apples.

“Do not make a determination of anyone according to mere appearance, not by their titles, the notoriety they make in the world, or their pretentious show; but make a sure judgment based on the gifts and graces of God’s Spirit displayed through their conscious, conduct and their character.”  John 7:24

Judge Me

Thought to Ponder

What do others conclude when they make sensible observations – based on the factual findings of your “tree”?