Mindfulness

In yoga there is a discipline called mindfulness. It is being conscious of what you are doing, focusing. In yoga it is often a focus on your breathing and the movement of your body. It brings a sense of calm when you are able to let distractions go and take a moment to just be. Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest emphasizes the need for a private life with God instead of an emphasis on practical work and busyness. Worship should be a time of focus on God through prayer, Bible study, and praise.

Prayer should be a time when we focus on being in the presence of God, letting go of distractions, but it is easier said than done. Distractions are by nature hard to ignore, and the enemy has a world full of options to choose from to distract us. Schedules, family obligations, work, politics, natural disasters, and illnesses are just a few of the options. It was not a time to come to God with a wish list or set of demands. That doesn’t mean we can’t bring our problems and fears to the Father; it just means that shouldn’t be our only reason for prayer. It is a time to simply be in His presence and listen to what He has to say to us.

Time spent studying the Bible is another way we can worship God and build our relationship with Him because it is His directions to us on how to live. In Nehemiah, after the walls were completed, the people came together and listened to the Word of God read aloud for hours. Today most people can’t listen or even read the Bible for more than a few minutes of time without being distracted by something. Society tells us that we should multi-task if we want to be successful in life, but while that may be true in the work place, it is not true in our relationship with God. We need to focus on God’s Word and what it has to say to us so that we can apply it to our daily walk.

The Psalms of David are great models for worship. He usually started with a focus on who God was and what He had done. David would often recount all the mighty works God had done in his life and for the nation of Israel. Recalling victories reminds us that God is always faithful. When we focus on God as Lord, it changes our perspectives. Instead of problems, we see opportunities. Instead of fear, we are filled with courage. Instead of despair, we feel hope. Worship sets our focus on the important things in life, namely our relationship with Our Heavenly Father. Once that is in proper perspective, everything else will fall into place.

None of these things happen by accident. It requires mindfulness on our part. We must choose to pray, study the Bible and worship God. We must focus our minds on what is truly important. Mindfulness requires practice. If we practice every day, when the moments of trials and temptations come, we will be ready to stand firm in our relationship with God and waiting to see how God will work rather than living a life of fear and hopelessness. It is better to take time to be mindful than it is to be busy because it gives us the proper perspective and attitude for handling hard times in a manner befitting children of the King.

 

One Step at a Time

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by something on your To Do List? You know it needs to be done, and there may even be a deadline approaching, but you just can’t seem to get started? I have several of those projects staring me in the face. Some days I procrastinate, and some days I can’t even bear to think about them. Today I had great plans for tackling at least one of those projects but was diverted by a problem with my car that took up over half of my morning. One of the biggest issues is planning to do it all, or most of it, in one day. That approach rarely works because of days like today, so we should take a page from Nehemiah’s playbook.

Nehemiah came to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls of the city. It was a daunting task that two other groups had failed to complete. Nehemiah approached the problem differently than the other groups, and that approach can be applied to any project. First, he started with prayer. There was nothing he did that wasn’t preceded by prayer. Next, he looked at the project objectively from every angle to see what needed to be done. Then, he designated out sections to different groups. Finally, he followed through despite obstacles and opposition.

Starting with prayer is always good advice for any situation we may encounter, but sometimes we don’t think about in when doing practical everyday tasks. God wants to be involved in even the smallest details of our lives.

Looking objectively at a daunting task can be overwhelming at first, but until we get all of the details down, we won’t know exactly what is required or the best way to approach it. It is like cooking a recipe. You need to know what ingredients you need for the recipe to see if you have them all in the kitchen. If not, you need to add a shopping trip to the list.

While you may not have other people helping you with a task, it still helps to break things down into smaller jobs. That way if time is limited, you can still accomplish part of the job. Progress of any kind is still progress.

Finally, it is just a matter of not letting the world and everyday problems get in your way. You have to keep working until the project is done. It may take longer than you first thought, but it doesn’t matter as long as it gets done.

Take advice from Nehemiah and tackle big tasks one step at a time. Don’t let naysayers get you down. Focus on the goal and keep moving. Let God lead and he will help you through step by step until you get to the finish line.