Freedom from Overload

by Kristine Brown @kristinebrown43

“Then David continued, ‘Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work related to the Temple of the Lord is finished correctly.’” 1 Chronicles 28:20 NLT

My writing space, also known as my office, doubles as a guest bedroom.

Or maybe I should say, our guest bedroom doubles as my office.

So, as I sit at my makeshift desk, peeking out the window at raindrops bouncing off piles of leaves in the yard, something out of the corner of my eye begs for my attention. I’m trying not to look, but I give in to the pressure. It’s the overstuffed closet I’ve been meaning to clean out for months.

I immediately turn from my writing task and scan my monthly planner. Maybe I can squeeze it in between work and dinner one day this week? Or better yet, let me work on revamping my entire schedule. Something has to give, so I can fit everything in and finally enjoy a clean closet! Planning helps me feel more in control, so I resolve to make a new plan. Again.

Organizing, analyzing, prioritizing, scheduling: I’m a planner by nature. I love the idea of becoming more organized. But even though organizing the schedule can be fun for a detail-oriented girl like me, all that planning doesn’t leave me feeling any more at peace.

I know deep down the best thing to do is just clean the closet.

When David passed along the assignment of building the temple to Solomon, he began by encouraging his son with this advice, “For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought.” A task like that came with a lot of detailed directions, too! Maybe David knew Solomon would feel overloaded and need words of wisdom to help him get it done:

Then David continued, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work related to the Temple of the Lord is finished correctly” (1 Chronicles 28:20 NLT).

David gave Solomon sound advice in his instruction for building the temple. After encouraging Solomon to be strong and courageous, he then added these three simple words.

“Do the work.”

We can learn an important lesson from this statement. Sometimes we try to find solutions for our overload, but it just adds more to the to-do list than what’s already there. When instead, we should stop trying to give our schedule an overhaul and just tackle the tasks – one at a time.

I don’t know about you, but I can make things so complicated. That’s why I love it when God keeps it simple, as He does here in this message to Solomon. After his instructions, David goes on to share the best news of all. “He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work…is finished correctly.”

When I do my small part, God will make sure the work is finished correctly. What freedom!

So, the next time a seemingly overwhelming job taunts you, remember today’s verse. Let it guide you through the temptation to spend an hour rearranging your schedule or creating a new to-do list. Instead, spend an hour tackling that task. Just doing the work will free us from the pile of jobs that overload us.

Now if you’ll excuse me for an hour or so, I have a closet to clean.

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kristine brownAbout the author: Kristine Brown is a communicator at heart, sharing insight with her readers in relatable  ways. Her lessons  highlight God’s powerful Word and redemptive grace. Check out Kristine’s weekly devotions and other resources at kristinebrown.net.

Do you ever question whether you measure up? Kristine’s book, Over It. Conquering Comparison to Live Out God’s Plan,  learn the solution to a battle all women face. Through practical Bible teaching, find contentment in your God-given uniqueness and take simple steps to claim victory over comparison. Learn how to say “I’m over it” and mean it!

Join the conversation: What work do you need to accomplish today?

Don’t Worry; Martha Will Do It

by Kathy Collard Miller

I wonder if Martha, the sister of Mary, was the dependability queen in her town, Bethany. I can just imagine at the Women of the Temple Committee meeting for the upcoming women’s luncheon event, the chairperson asking, “Now who can we get to cater the lunch?”

Everyone looks around and another woman asks, “Where’s Martha?”

Mary speaks up, “Oh, she’s at the meeting for the Temple Benevolence committee.”

A third woman raises her hand. After being called on by the chairperson, Lydia says, “Ask Martha. She’ll do it.”

Could Martha have worn an invisible S on her tunic? No, not for Superman, although many most likely called her Superwoman. But S for steadfast and its twin sister, Dependability. Why else would Martha have been so crazy busy when Jesus came visiting? Remember the story?

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42

What motivated Martha? Of course we’ll never know conclusively her heart’s motive. But as women, so many of us are like her because we have chosen the same technique to gain approval and applause: busyness and productivity. We know Martha didn’t have to do everything she did because Mary, who was equally considered the hostess, didn’t. I have no doubt Mary did what she was supposed to do and then chose to abide at Jesus’s feet. If Martha is like me, she thought of “one more thing,” “one more dish,” “one more decorating touch,” “one more …” Did she think, “Just wait until Jesus sees this. He’ll feel so important and valued.” I would have.

But Jesus loves Martha’s soul well. He doesn’t want her to carry the heavy yoke she puts upon her own shoulders and the muddy cistern she is gulping from. He doesn’t need anything to make him feel important or valuable. He only seeks his Father’s approval and applause.

In his concern for her he woos her by pointing out the result of her sin: anxiety, anger, critical spirit, feeling abandoned, even blaming Jesus for not making Mary do what Martha thought Mary should do. She accused Jesus of not caring for her. Most importantly, her motive was to provide rather than abide. Jesus was saying, “I love you too much. Please look at what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Come and abide.”

He says the same things to us.

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 NASB

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller is an award-winning author of over 50 books and this devotional is excerpted from Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory . She is a speaker who has shared in 8 foreign countries and over 30 US states. Kathy and Larry have been married for 48 years and are the parents of 2 and grandparents of 2. They live in Southern California and often write and speak together. Visit her at www.KathyCollardMiller.com. She would love to hear from you.

Join the conversation: Do you seek God’s approval through busyness and productivity?

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Sometimes We Need a Reboot

by Edie Melson

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

A few years ago, I came to the point of a computer crisis. My current computer became a serious source of irritation in my life. Not just the ordinary, I-hate-technology moments we all have, but the big I’m-going-to-have-to-wipe-the-hard-drive-and-start-over sort of situation.

To be fair, it wasn’t even a real computer, it was a netbook. I’d had it for just over two years and I had used that little machine hard. It logged as many travel miles as I had and, for a PC, had been a truly trouble-free machine. And up until the past few months, I’d been thrilled with its performance. It had always booted up quickly and gone from application to application with lightning speed. Even now it ranks as one of the favorite computers I’ve ever had.

But then that all began to change. At first I thought it probably had something to do with a virus or spyware or even cookies. So I ran every diagnostic tool I could find and discovered it was free from any digital disease.

One thing all my diagnostic digging did reveal was a very full machine. Its open memory space was rapidly disappearing. Where once it had room to perform, now its life was cramped and overloaded. Its performance had dramatically decreased, and if it were a person, I’d even go so far as to say it had become chronically cranky. Its bad-tempered disposition was due to the fact that I expected it to do things it was never designed to do.

Because it was originally so efficient, I kept piling more and more on it. I moved all my work life to its hard drive because it performed so well. And, until it became overloaded, it just quietly processed my requests. Now, my only option was to wipe its hard drive and start over. And, to be totally honest, I really didn’t have the time to spare.

Why didn’t I have the time?

Well, it turned out I was suffering from the same sort of malady as my darling digital offspring. While I considered what to do with this machine, God began to draw some obvious parallels within my own life. That had been a banner year for me, but with my successes came with a dump truck full of opportunities.

For some, that would be a good thing. For me, the queen of I-can’t-say-no, it developed into a nightmare. My own life had become overloaded, and my performance had begun to suffer. Where once I finished projects early, now I struggled to complete them on time. I was suddenly driven by deadlines and distracted by details. And the only answer was take a little time do a serious reboot to my life.

I took the time I needed to plug back in to my Creator and let Him remind me of the special things He designed me to do. I wiped my life free of everything I wasn’t suited for and it made all the difference. Just like my computer, I was once again able to work with plenty of room to breathe.

King David wrote: “…when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:2). I encourage you to spend time in God’s presence asking for discernment in prioritizing commitments. Use this summer to readjust your life back in line with what God designed you to do and watch the difference it will make in your life.

Edie-MelsonAbout the author: Find your voice, live your story…is the foundation of Edie Melson’s message, whether she’s addressing parents, military families, readers of fiction or writers. As an author, blogger, and speaker, she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her latest book, While My Child is Away; Prayers for While Were Apart is available at local retailers and online. Connect with her further at www.EdieMelson.comand on Facebook and Twitter.

Join the conversation: With what ways do you discern whether or not to commit to something? Have you ever found yourself overcommitted?

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Cultivating Carrots and Commitment

by Edie Melson

Here in the Carolinas, spring is beginning to push through the winter grayness. Daffodils and tulips have pushed through the brown ground with welcome pops of color. And everywhere are signs of gardening. As I watch another growing season begin, I’m drawn back to one summer when I thought I’d give gardening a try.

Our boys were young, and we had decided that planting a vegetable garden would be a great idea. Looking back, I can hardly believe we could ever have thought we had the time or energy—while keeping up with three active young boys—for such a consuming project. Oh, the energy of young parents.

But we were optimistic, and so we began. We used an old tiller, plowed up a small bit of ground, and planted a variety of seeds. One of the vegetables I was most looking forward to eating fresh every summer was carrots. When it came time to plant the carrots, I was amazed at how tiny the dark seeds were in the palm of my hand. I remembered the man at the garden center warning us to plant the seeds sparingly, but the seeds were so small, and I really wanted a large crop of carrots. So I sprinkled them thickly in the ground. After all, I figured, if a few were good, more would be better.

Those of you who are expert gardeners are probably beginning to grin, because you already know what happened. I think every single one of those tiny seeds took root and sprouted. As they grew, in a few short weeks they became a tangled mess, fighting for nutrients and space. Then, after lifting a couple of inches of green toward the sun, every single one of those carrots withered and died. I was left with nothing more than the bitter taste of disappointment and discouragement.

As this memory resurfaced, I found myself asking God why it had come to mind. I realized that I’d been agonizing over my busy calendar and God was warning me, once again, that my life was becoming crowded by saying yes to too many things. He was reminding me to plant fewer seeds and take time to nurture them. Otherwise I’d find myself with an empty garden, with nothing but withered endeavors from pouring too many good things into my life.

When Jesus used the metaphor of gardening to teach his disciples, He told them, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser…every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:1-2 NASB) Most gardeners know the benefits of pruning. Spent flowers are removed so the plant will not waste energy on developing seeds but continue to flower. Branches on a shrub are thinned so the healthiest branches can get more sun. God does the same for us. He faithfully prunes away those things that will keep us from bearing fruit.

So I ask you, how is your garden? Is it well-ordered and taken care of? Or, in your desire to accomplish much, are you also crowding out any hope of reaping a harvest?

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 NASB

Edie-MelsonAbout the author: Find your voice, live your story…is the foundation of Edie Melson’s message, whether she’s addressing parents, military families, readers of fiction or writers. As an author, blogger, and speaker, she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her latest book, While My Child is Away; Prayers for While Were Apart is available at local retailers and online. Connect with her further at www.EdieMelson.com and on Facebook and Twitter.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Edie’s book, While My Child is Away,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: What things are crowding your life?