Think about the word ‘preoccupied.’ If a house is preoccupied, it means somebody else is already there. You can’t have it because someone else does. You might be able to drive by . . . maybe even drop in for a visit, but it’s unavailable to you. If your mind is preoccupied, it’s taken; it’s ‘off the grid,’ it’s uninhabitable by any other meaningful thought. I see drivers preoccupied, swerving gently down the road, talking on the phone or reading texts and emails. I see husbands in restaurants with their wives and kids, preoccupied with their smart phones . . . sports scores, fantasy leagues, business stuff, whatever.
Here’s how being preoccupied impacts my life . . .
- I can’t focus on the current ‘thing’ because I’m thinking about the next ‘thing.’ I’m all over the board before I know it.
- I know I’ll feel free when I’m ‘caught up,’ but I’m never caught up. So, I never feel totally free.
- I’m constantly preoccupied with the future. The rest of the day, tomorrow, next week, Christmas, next year. It’s hard to stay focused on the ‘here and now.’
- Being preoccupied leads me to put things off, especially when I’m facing things I don’t particularly want to do.
- Being preoccupied keeps me constantly busy. There’s never a break for rest. I’m more tired throughout my day and especially at the day’s end.
The Lord reminds us we’ll “be transformed by the renewing of our minds,” not the refreshing of our calendar. It’s what (or who) we think about that matters. My word for this year is deliberate . . . I set out to be more deliberate. One of my all-time favorite words is intentional, but intentionality without thoughtfulness can be exhausting. Sustained intentionality requires thoughtful, prayerful priority-setting and establishing a healthy pace. That’s why being deliberate is critical. When I stop and think about who I am, what I want, and how I’m going to get there, I’m led to focus on one day at a time . . . one day with a clear plan and a clear path to follow. Not preoccupied, not overwhelmed, not ‘hair on fire.’ Just a gentle approach to the gift of one day with sight, health and purpose.
I love getting out one of my older Bibles and reading everything printed in red ink. Just the stuff Jesus said. I’ll read a little before and a little after His words and it always strikes me how Jesus was never in a hurry! Having been at North Point Community Church and serving with Andy Stanley in several capacities, I see the same thing in him. Always on purpose but never, ever in a hurry.
If you think about God’s sovereignty and His unconditional love, why should any of us ever be preoccupied? Why should we ever be in a hurry? The Creator of the universe loves you personally! He knows your name! He’s invited (not compelled) you to join in this Kingdom work. Take time to listen to His heart and His instructions. Ask Him for the wisdom to know what He’d have you do and the courage to do it. I find His assignments to be small, one day-at-a-time, one personal interaction–at-a-time kind of things. Don’t overthink it. Move. Deliberately.
Scripture: Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
Mentor Tip: With only 3 hours together each month, it’s a huge challenge to move through your agenda and not be in a hurry. Remember to be deliberate, to stay focused, love on and listen to your guys.