Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 03.19.12.
Do you ever just want to get away from it all? The job, kids, bills, crazy relatives—and just fall off the grid for awhile. While there may be 168 hours in a week, many of us feel like we are trying to jam in 200 hours worth of living. Why isn’t 168 hours enough? Why are we always in such a doggone hurry? It’s okay to be busy, but why are so many people—perhaps you—feeling strung out by overwhelming schedules?
As conscientious humans, we chase the myth of the “balanced life” – the idea that we can achieve “scheduling nirvana,” thereby eliminating any schedule-induced stress. We must face the cold hard facts: there is no such thing as the balanced life! Why? Because life is filled with unscheduled situations and contradictory priorities.
Check this out: “Even what everyone agrees is good for you can seem to contradict itself. For example, how do you both get enough sleep and make every minute count? And how do you floss regularly, eat eight servings of fruit and vegetables a day, drink lots of water, exercise at least thirty minutes at least three times a week, attend religious service regularly, belong to groups that matter to you and attend their meetings, keep up with your friends, work your job, do the laundry, pay taxes, have sex at least once a week, deal with the pressure of relentless uncertainty and change the oil in your car every three thousand miles without possessing the powers of a miracle maker? No one knows. From corporate strategies to child-rearing theories to personal health to money management to career expectations, uncertainty rules.”
With all of the pressure and obligations of this life, it’s no wonder that so many of us want to follow Lenny Kravitz’s song and just “Fly Away.” Sure, it’s tempting to think about walking away from the stress of our lives. But most of us won’t go because we don’t want to leave behind the good stuff that sometimes gets buried with the bad. So, what would happen if we just did a better job using the 168 hours given to us this week?
In this weekend’s message, we learned that putting God first is the key to getting life right. When we follow God’s priorities, then we experience clarity in establishing our priorities and creating our schedules. Remember when Lee talked about “putting the big rocks in first”?
During your Bible study this week, you will be challenged to allow God to shape (or re-shape) your priorities. You will also be given an opportunity to think about what activities “fill” your emotional, physical and spiritual tank as well as which activities “drain” those tanks. By the end of this week’s Living It Out Bible study, you should have a greater sense of God’s direction for how you spend your time—and hopefully, you’ll experience the blessings of “Down Time.”
So let’s get started!
It’s okay to be busy…but, are we busy doing the wrong things?
MONDAY — What are You Living For?
Big Point: Do you need to rediscover your priorities?!
Get up. Go to work. Go home. Go to bed. Get up. Go to work. Go home. Go to bed. Get up. Go to work. Go home. Go to bed. Does this sound familiar? Are you busy? What are you so busy doing? If you’re living for earthly possessions, self-recognition or the praise of others, these are all vain pursuits. Filling our lives with endless pursuits of whatever will make us happy is like a dog running in a circle chasing its tail—we never truly find lasting satisfaction, even when we achieve our goals. What matters is that we figure out what’s most important and that we figure out how to live “centered lives” instead of trying to figure out how to wrestle the mythical “balanced life.”
If you feel overly stressed out from your schedule and think things are out of your control, you’re right. And since you can’t control everything, isn’t it better to rely on a God who can? Your busy schedule may have to stay busy, but you can have peace knowing you are busy doing the right things instead of the wrong ones.
READ & THINK…Find the Answers
God has a lot to say about how we need to prioritize our daily lives. What does Romans 12:1-2 say to do with your everyday activities?
Romans 12:1-2 (The Message)
1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Even people who know nothing about God understand that there should be a difference between someone who lives for God and someone who is enthralled with our culture. Instead of adjusting to the culture around you, what should your attention be fixed on according to Hebrews 12:2?
Hebrews 12:2 (New Living Translation)
2We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
Chasing success has been called many different things—and we can each have our own definition of what “success” looks like. However, what does Jesus want us to realize in Mark 8:36?
Mark 8:36 (New Living Translation)
36 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?
LIVE…What will you do now?
Have you ever asked yourself this question – “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?” (Mark 8:36) What do you feel you’ve accomplished in the world? How do your accomplishments measure up to what God considers important?
There’s nothing wrong with being successful—or even wealthy. God wants us to work hard and fulfill our obligations to our families and our jobs. However, we have to be aware of our motives behind our daily activities. Is your day-to-day life being placed before God or is it honoring something or someone else?
Look at your checkbook, schedule and how you spend your time…this may give you a good idea of what you are truly living for. If you asked your spouse or close friends what you live for, what would their response be?
Do you have a life mission statement? A life mission states your life purpose, beliefs and values. Try to write out what you believe your life stands for.
PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Now that you’ve thought about a life mission statement for yourself, write it into a prayer. Ask God to help you to achieve purpose in your life and to help you rediscover your priorities.