“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

I’m reevaluating the pace of my life, my priorities, and how I use my time. What’s really, really important? Yes, there are expectations, obligations, and demands that try to push and pull me in all kinds of directions, but what is an appropriately paced life?

While I know that my gifts will make space for me, there is a season for everything. Yet I also know that I need to manage that space. So what does that look like for me—and for you?

First, prayer, worship, and reading the Word needs to be the plumb line that will keep everything else in balance. When these get messed up, the pace of life simply gets out of whack. Right now, I need to adjust my schedule to allow more time for all three.

Second, I need to avoid unhealthy and unbalanced expectations. Moderation is key. I need to pace myself with work, play, relationships, exercise, and even my writing. I need to find the balance in all of it and reject the oppressive demands that weigh on me, whether that comes from inside myself or from others and remember that, ultimately, people and relationships are the most important.

Third, I need to preemptively replace guilt with peace. For me, this is the hardest of all. I’m a perfectionist and ultra responsible, so I feel the pressures of the “should dos” and “must dos” way too much. So I must choose to rest in Him and trust Him with my days, weeks, months, and year, even when they don’t turn out the way I wished they would.

Recently, on top of all the busyness, health issues, and family situations have pulled me away from my agenda, my to-do list, and my timelines. I have so much more that I’d like to do, see, and write than I can possibly get done. So I have to let some of them go and find peace and contentment with whatever the Lord allows.

And what about you? What advice to you have to create an appropriately paced life, find balance in this busy world, and enjoy the peace that comes with it?

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is vice-president of Christian Authors Network, founding editor of Thriving Family magazine, and former Editor of twelve Focus on the Family publications. She has written hundreds of articles and now serves as a writer, writing coach, and consultant. For more, visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

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I love the ever-changing colors and textures of a sunset. There’s something so peaceful about it, almost as if the day exhales its worry and stress in preparation for the night.

Maybe that’s why the best sunsets include clouds, those masses of water vapor we usually associate with storms. In fact, some of the most beautiful sunsets happen in the aftermath of a storm when the abundance of cloud surfaces all reflect the varying hues of light as the sun slips below the horizon.

Several decades have passed since I took my first airplane ride, but I still remember that day when dark clouds hung low and rain made everything especially dreary.

The difference when we burst through the cloud deck astounded me. Sunlight shining on brilliant white cotton-ball tops of the clouds took my breath away.

We landed again in that dismal rainy weather, but I felt like grabbing everyone I saw and encouraging them to believe there was incredible beauty right above us on the other side of those clouds.

Jesus said, “I have told you these things so that in me, you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

If life’s clouds have got you down, trust there’s amazing beauty on the other side, and prepare for an awesome Son-set once the storm passes.

Mary L. Hamilton is the author of the Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series for middle grades and Pendant, a cozy suspense novel, under the name M. L. Hamilton. When not writing, she enjoys photographing sunsets like the one above. She and her husband live in Texas.

www.maryhamiltonbooks.com

www.facebook.com/maryhamiltonbooks

www.instagram.com/mlhamiltonauthor

 

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Janet Perez Eckles

Janet Perez Eckles

Hola from Janet Perez Eckles…Igniting Your Passion to Overcome

God doesn’t promise a day without problems, or moments without trials, but aligned with Him,  He promises a satisfied soul.

Two days ago, even my keyboard felt sticky. The air conditioner decided to stop working. And, in the Florida summer heat, my energy was melting into drops of worry. What if we need to repair the whole thing, what if there is no fix for days? How will this affect my parents who live with us and just reached their mid-80’s?

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Hello from Kathy Collard Miller, here in the Southern California desert.0098_Miller

It was always difficult for my mother to relax and trust God, and even when she was in her 80’s, it seemed like the Lord was still inviting her to trust Him more. My sister and I would say to each other, “You’d think the Lord would stop working on people when they get old enough, but He sure seems to still be working on mom.”

That was true up until the last few days of her life. When it was time for hospice, she moved into my home but didn’t seem to really comprehend that time for her was short. In fact, ten days before she joined

Great-gramma with great-grandson Raphael

Great-gramma with great-grandson Raphael

Jesus in heaven, she complained to me, “Kathy, I just hate lying here and not accomplishing anything. I should be doing something!”

I didn’t quite know what to say except, “Well, mom, you are 89. Maybe it’s time for you to just relax and let me take care of you.” She gave me a half-hearted smile like she wasn’t quite convinced.

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It was our favorite Mexican restaurant and hubby and I sat across the table from friends with whom we re-connected after decades.

And in the lively conversation a comment was made that jolted my senses. I positioned the wheelchair beside the table (I still couldn’t put weight on the foot with the broken bone). The comment came innocently, I’m sure. “Janet is blind and now lame,” he chuckled. “So… so much for this Jesus thing.”

Although it was a comment in jest, he had a point. Amigos, does the world think that when you become a Christ follower, life is perfect? Or does it mean that when you commit your life to Jesus, troubles end? Contracts flood in, and speaking engagements jam our calendars?

The answer is a resounding “no.” Life will not be perfect. But you will be perfectly equipped to face the fierce storms in life. And even when life is ugly, here are seven ways to know joy, true joy that plays the melody of confidence in the symphony of Jesus’ promises:

  1. Joy comes
    because we know His love will transcend all—blindness, illness, broken feet, broken hearts and broken plans.
  2. Joy comes
    because He promised to bring solutions we never dreamed.
  3. Joy fills
    our heart because loneliness is a foreign word. The constant whisper that God would never abandon us echoes while sweet sleep comes at night.
  4. Joy is ours
    because when the rest of the world is searching, looking and hungry for fulfillment Christ fills the void, feeds the spiritual hunger, and puts in place the piece that makes us whole.
  5.  Joy is complete because our purpose is defined: To Love God with all our mind, heart and soul and love one another. Love those who wound us, ridicule and insult us.
  6. Joy sings
    in our heart because this life is short, often dotted with trials, but we live in anticipation of the forever eternity promised to those to whom Jesus is their Lord.
  7. Joy is our promise
    Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, and you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy” (John 16:20).

Father, the joy you promise is the treasure that shines beyond setbacks, pain or troubles. For that gift, I praise and thank you in the name of your son Jesus, amen.

• Where do you find the joy that keeps you going?

• What is the force that ushers peace to your nights?

• Where do you turn in painful moments?

Janet Perez Eckles

Judson Press, 2011

Simply Salsa, Amazon Best-selling book

Grateful for the
privilege of inspiring you…

www.janetperezeckles.com

 

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