I am uncertain what people all do on their weekends. I can assume that they are jam packed with all sorts of good things. Friends, food, figure skating, frogged, figurines, festivals, fishing, felines, fairies, foot races, fox hunts, forest hikes and fun :). Weekends typically give people more opportunity to observe and see. It often allows a change of pace – where we possibly engage in the news more often, exercise, go to the mall or grab coffee with a friend.
I find that when I get up on a Saturday or Monday (my weekend), I know that I have more time – so I find myself using a lot more time. I am far less efficient, I get distracted easier, I tell myself the night before that I can stay up later (ok lets be honest I am getting old – there is nothing fun about staying up late and having the old, cranky body tell you a few hours later that its morning) only to be more exhausted and un-focused the next day! Yet, week by week we continue to play these games in our heads.
Some years ago I made the decision that I was going to have a routine that I would stick to – even on holidays and weekends. I wanted to see what kind of difference it would make (note: there are many times that I blew the plan for good reasons and on occasion for bad). One of the holidays that my family went on right at the beginning of this experiment was to a cabin over Spring Break. By the time we got to the evening the temptation was to stay up and watch a movie with my wife as we sat in front of the fire place. The setting was romantic and there was no pressure to be up in the morning. I can sleep in. And I heard the clear voice inside of my head saying – THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED!
WAIT! WHAT? Um…NO!! This was not part of the plan!!
The plan was get to bed early and get up early to spend time with Jesus. To talk with God, get to know him, sit in the hot tub and wonder about him. That was the plan!
My wife and I quickly decided that we didn’t need to watch anything and that we should rather get ready for bed! And what do you know. My body woke me up shortly after 5am! (Do not view this as spiritual or holy – getting up at 5. It’s what I love when I have enough sleep) I was rested, satisfied, peaceful. It felt amazing! The typical holiday morning before was groggy, trying to sleep longer, a sore body, frustrated. But not on this day!
It was amazing how sleep, routine, wise decisions changed the outlook of the next day. And all it took was not giving in to the cultural lie that on holidays we need to watch a movie before bed :). In fact, our family tried something different. How about watching something that you planned to watch before you came – and watch it during the day – when you are actually alert! Or how about you eat, read, play – and then after lunch when we are programmed to have a siesta – watch a movie then :). For some reason that seems wrong – right? But not on our holidays any more!!
Bed time DOES impact our perspective!
Time with God in the morning DOES change our outlook
A plan (no matter how loose) DOES help us rest on holidays
Thinking about what we actually need on a weekend or holidays DOES help us to recharge
No plan DOES produce chaos
Staying up later DOES make us disillusioned more often
Exhaustion DOES impair our mindset
OK, enough about routines, holidays and movie watching!
There is a verse that I have grown to love that fits in to todays blog that I want to share and then give you the CHALLENGE for this weekend!!!
Philippians 4:8 – This has been a misunderstood passage to me for so long. But I’ve had some insight that has helped me get it – and love it.
“…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things and the God of peace will be with you.”
Why did it frustrate me? Because it felt like the way to have peace was to just change how you think.
So, when things are chaotic – change how you think. When you feel angry – change how you think. It seemed like behaviour or thought modification. And that is fine – I guess. But it just didn’t click well enough for me! I thought there must be more.
And sure enough there was more – this wasn’t just gritting my teeth. The verses just before give the context, the pre-cursor to this passage. It has everything to do with a relationship with God.
- Rejoice in the Lord
- Be reasonable to people around you
- And you can be reasonable because God is with you
- When you are anxious – bring it to God
- And don’t forget – rejoice and be thankful
- And then GOD – the God of PEACE – will grant you peace – beyond your understanding.
- This is legitimate peace!!!
It is not behaviour modification – it is LOVING and WORSHIPING God. It is putting our perspective on GOD – and he gives the peace!!!
And then this passage hits us – assuming that we are walking with God. And instead of just thinking about things differently. We are being taught how Jesus saw things, how Paul saw things with God’s eyes and how we can as well.
The passage could be paraphrased like this (note: I am not a linguist 🙂
Worship God, Love God, Know God, Thank God, Walk with God. In everything that you think, feel, wonder about – Bring it to God and let him bring you Peace on the inside that you cannot deny or manufacture.
Then, when you walk around in the city, go to your jobs, interact with people, shovel your neighbors driveway, play with your kids, go for coffee with a friend – OBSERVE God things. OBSERVE where God is at work. It is easy to see everything bad and negative – but not with God!!! OBSERVE and think about where you see God at work. Find things that are lovely, admirable, praise worthy. Observe things that are excellent and praiseworthy. When you see with God’s eyes – this is what you see!!!
The result? PEACE. Not a fake peace – a real peace that goes beyond your mind – and deep into the inner most part of you! How does this work? Because the way we encounter Peace is with the person that is PEACE – GOD himself! So walk with God, everyday!!
(Clearly if I wrote the Bible it would be 10 times as long – that is why I am a preacher I guess 🙂
A photo journal challenge!
During this weekend, can you look around and see where God is at work? Look for things that are admirable and praiseworthy. Then SNAP a photo and send it to me :). I would love if you wrote a one liner that tells you what you see in the photo. AND if it is a photo that is appropriate for me to share on this blog for others to be encouraged – I will!!! Kind of like not-quite-insta-blog 🙂
Have a great day! Start sending photos! Be creative – you have time – It’s the weekend!