Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Pause, Listen, Balance, And Stay Focused.

Once upon a time, my agenda was snow-white. The occasional specks of ink on my agenda were mainly activities relating to keeping me alive—hospital appointments, physiotherapy and home care. That is now history of past events. It is no longer breaking news that Irene’s plate is always fully loaded these days. Hence my absence from the blogosphere over the past three weeks.

The run-up to the Hit The Street For Their Feet Charity Walk on April 25th was hectic. It left me breathless. I have not had time to catch my breath since then. All the donations coming from across three continents had to be acknowledged and receipted irrespective of the amount because each of them made a difference and added value taking us to our set goal. I am so grateful to God that I have much to acknowledge. The administrative part of the Charity is still ongoing.

It was in the midst of that that I realized that I had only thirty days (now seventeen) left to the wedding of the dear daughter of Zion who God used to support me during the year post my amputation. She cared for me and attended to my needs during those early days while I learnt to regain my autonomy and to get accustomed to my new definition of normal as an amputee. She has been a blessing to me. I had committed to help translate her dream to reality and time was fast running out. I was in overdrive now.

Alongside came the preparations for the Annual Conference, which took place in my church last weekend. While we were getting ready, I had to go for a surgery to correct what the doctors termed “a rare form of adhesion” which got my tracheotomy scar stuck to my trachea. It was a day surgery. I was back in my kitchen barely 3 hours after the surgery. But it was a restless and rather painful night afterward and has required a twice a week trip to the hospital to keep an eye on it.

In the midst of all these, my accountability partners and very concerned friends were keeping a tab on me. They wanted to know where I was, regarding my pending assignments—completion of my book and getting the Feet Of Grace website running to name a few. And the pressure mounted.

That was when I had to pause. I needed to take a deep breath. I was feeling overwhelmed and overcharged. I have a passionate aversion to idleness with a relentless drive for purpose, perfection and making a difference. It appears that this combination has pushed me to the other side of the spectrum.

The outlook for the next four months seems even more charged with several planned travels, ministry project and pending Ministry training assignments. It was the time for me to pause and listen.

I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens, empowers and infuses me with strength from His limitless stores. But I am not called to do everything.

Having a clear guidance and direction from God as to what He wants me to do, when, where and how He wants me to do the things He has called me to do has become an imperative. I must pause and listen. If I am not quiet, I cannot hear Him speaking to me. It is only when I am getting instructions from Him that I can balance all the many balls that I have to juggle in the air. It is only by His grace that I can do the things He has called me to do. I need to pause, listen and balance.

I know God also has a deep aversion to idleness. Several passages in the Bible points in that direction.

"And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, 'Why have you been standing here idle all day long?'” – Matthew 20:6

“"The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat." – 2Thess. 3:10

“You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you,” – 1Thess 4:11

I also know that God does not want me to burn out or run on my own steam, I cannot be useful to Him that way. Therefore, I must insert precious times of rest into the equation.

Several key points shone brightly like a lighthouse on a dark night as I processed all the above.  I will share some of them with you.

1.       I have to learn to say NO:
If I am going to stay focused on the goal and accomplish the tasks God laid on my heart for this year, I have to give myself the permission to say No. First to myself and then to others. A young man challenged me recently to master the art of No in an excellent article he posted on his blog - The Art of No. It is not just about saying No but how to manage a No response. What do I mean by saying no to myself? I mean I cannot do everything that comes to my mind even if it sounds great and will benefit someone.

2.        I need to prioritize:
Some tasks are important, but they are not urgent. Some things that God calls us to do are urgent and important because someone is waiting at the other side to receive of it. I cannot afford to be lackadaisical about the things that are important in God’s kingdom agenda. The fact that He has not issued a deadline the way my bosses at work would do does not mean that I can do my God-ordained assignments at my convenience.

3.       Ultimately, my accountability is to God:
God has called me to be a good steward of the resources He has assigned to me to manage. These include the talents, gifts and abilities with which He endowed me. As a steward of God’s resources, there will come a time I much give an account of what I have done with these resources. As well as how I have fared with the responsibilities and tasks He assigned to me. Doing His will and fulfilling His call upon my life requires my utmost attention and dedication.

God’s all-sufficient grace is available and richly abounding to each of us so that we having all sufficiency in all things and at all times may abound to every good work. I want to abound in good works. My earnest desire is to impact lives for good, make a difference and leave a lasting legacy. I must, therefore, run the race set before me tapping into the rich grace available to me and with my gaze focused on the ultimate goal.

Over the coming months, I will do my best to keep this space we share together to enrich and encourage one another active while I strive to maintain a balance in my responsibilities and commitments. There will be guest posts here, and I hope to see the blog relocate to the Feet Of Grace website as soon as it is up. In the interim, I ask you to uphold me in prayers; that I may have strength to do what I am called can do, courage to accept those that I cannot do and the wisdom to know the difference. Pray also that God will send me help fitted for this assignment.

I pray that each of you will flourish in the place where God has assigned you.

What do you do when you feel overwhelmed with so many things to do? Share and let's encourage one another.