Harvest House Publishers
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.”
Father, I praise You for having a purpose for my life. In Your wisdom and sovereignty You planned my days, long before my birth. Your thoughts toward me are precious (Psalm 139:16-17). I trust You to show me Your purpose and enable me to pursue it. Amen.
Rattle, rattle, rattle, rattle. The noise interrupted my sleep for the third consecutive night. I opened my eyes and caught the alarm clock’s red digits staring at me through the darkness. It was 2:30 A.M.—an hour when a house and its occupants should be silent or snoring. Should be. But down the hall, down two flights of stairs, and across the family room, a furry resident—our pet hamster—had decided to wake up and work out. Again.
Worried that the hamster would grow bored sitting in its cage, our kids had purchased and installed a plastic treadmill several days earlier. The creature loved it. Each night, long after our family had fallen asleep, it climbed aboard the yellow wheel and set it spinning round and round and round. Each morning, we found the critter fast asleep in the corner of its cage, exhausted after its nocturnal fitness session.
Have you ever felt like the hamster? I have. And believe me, my exhaustion isn’t a result of working out at the gym. One could only wish! Nope, my life sometimes resembles the hamster on its treadmill: Work, work, work, collapse. Work, work, work, collapse.
I’m not the only female who occasionally feels this way. While traveling on a plane recently, I sat beside a woman in her mid-thirties. She’d buried her nose in a book whose cover showed a cartoon woman in high heels frantically trying to juggle several grocery bags while a crying toddler pulled at her skirt. I chuckled at the scene and asked, “Is that a good book?”
The woman looked up and nodded. “My sister bought it for me. She thinks I need it.” She rolled her eyes and grinned. “I can’t imagine why. After all, I only have three kids under 12. I volunteer in their schools. I serve on five committees. I work full-time outside my home. I’m planning to start nurse’s training in a few months. And—” She drew a deep breath before her grand finale. “I own a 100-pound dysfunctional Rottweiler.”
“Is that all?” I said. She looked at me in disbelief, but when she realized that I was joking, she grinned again.
“Yep. That’s all I can handle. Well, sometimes I feel like it’s more than I can handle. I’m busier than I want to be, but I don’t know how to stop.”
Too often our lives resemble that of my family’s furry friend. We race from meeting to meeting. We run from one obligation to the next. We wish the day held more hours so we could accomplish everything on our to-do list. Sometimes our activities are necessary, like caring for our children or our elderly parents, or working to put food on the table. Sometimes, however, our activities make us appear busy when we’re actually racing nowhere and accomplishing nothing. So what’s a woman to do?
In his book The Purpose-Driven Life, author Rick Warren suggests that we ask ourselves, Does this activity help me fulfill one of God’s purposes for my life? If the answer is yes, we should embrace it with gusto. If the answer is no, we should release it—without guilt. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? In truth, determining God’s purposes may take some serious soul-searching and a conscientious commitment to pursue them no matter what. We may have to thin our existing obligations or learn to say no, but the effort brings rewards.
According to Warren, streamlining our activities to pursue God’s purposes simplifies and focuses our lives. “It concentrates our effort and energy on what’s important,” he writes. “You become effective by being selective.” When we eliminate everything except that which matters most, we become productive rather than simply busy. The difference is huge.
God never intended our lives to mimic the hamster on the treadmill. He wants us to enjoy abundant, fruitful life. Let’s begin today!
Dear Father, thank You for having a purpose for my life. Help me know and pursue it so I might spend my days engaged in meaningful activity rather than fruitless busyness. Amen.
- What do you believe God’s purposes are for your life?
- What changes must you make to pursue those purposes?
Outward GlanceHeavenly Father, thank You for teaching ________ Your ways. Please help her live wisely, making the most of every opportunity (Ephesians 5:15-16). Help her press on to embrace the purpose for which Christ Jesus took hold of her (Philippians 3:12). I ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.
One More Peek
You will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you (Isaiah 26:3).
Excerpted from 10-Minute Time Outs for Busy Women by Grace Fox. Copyright © 2005 by Harvest House Publishers. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.