How We Spend Our Days

6th July, 2013 - Posted by Claire Larsen - No Comments

“How I spend my days is how I spend my life.”

This is a simple but profound thought.  A life is made up of days — one day at a time. My life happens in the present moment — what I am doing, what choices I make. Each activity makes up part of one day, and each day passes by and creates the life that am living.

I recently spent a long weekend at Laity Lodge. This retreat center is two hours drive outside San Antonio, Texas, into the middle of nowhere. A dirt road leads off the highway and winds its way through scrubby trees down to the bottom of a deep canyon.  From the road the way leads through the riverbed, and yes, the river is three or four inches deep, until a half mile later, you leave the river and begin climbing up the canyon again. This time the dirt road ends at a parking lot, and just beyond is Laity Lodge.

This place of refreshment hid away from the world is a world unto itself. Red gravel paths connect the few buildings to each other. Hammocks and hanging porch swings hang from the taller trees. A bubbling fountain captures your attention when you sit under the eaves of the main gathering building.  In this Tolkien-like piece of the world, you have time to think about who you are and what your God-given calling is.  It was in this contemplative setting that I was challenged to think about what it means to live in the present moment.

How I spend my days is important because all the days add up and soon I will look back and realize that my life has happened, and when I do this, I want to know that what I’ve done has counted for something for God’s kingdom.

One of the speakers at the retreat, Kate Harris, spoke about living in the present moment. She gave us two enemies of living in the present moment. The first is fear that leads to irrational pessimism.  Fear pulls me away from the present and drives me to greater fear that says,, “You cannot do this. It’s much too hard.” So fear becomes paralyzing. I don’t try new things,  and I don’t live in an attitude of trusting God that moves me forward to test out the possibilities that God has for me. In light of this challenge, I decided to do something I never would have believed I would do.  I took a painting class!  I believed I had no talent and that paintbrushes and empty canvases and me didn’t fit in the same sentence. But I tried! Now I have a beautiful painting of tall birch trees to hang in my house.

The second enemy to living in the moment is fantasy or irrational optimism. Something real, that which exists right now and in this moment, is better than something, anything, that I imagine. The present is real, tangible, accessible, and somewhat changeable.  Do I want to write my book?  Then I must write today and not just think about it.  Do I want to paint the porch swing so the grandchildren can enjoy it? Then I must push through the aches and pain I feel, pick up my paintbrush, and do it today.  Fantasizing about tomorrow is good as long as it gives me concrete things to do today — things that when put together build a life that brings glory to God.

Laity Lodge is all about finding and doing the high calling to which the Lord has called us.  All of us have a high calling from God. The cultural mandate given in Genesis 1:26-28 instructs us that all of life is worship and worship is anything we do from an attitude of faith for the purpose of pleasing the Lord. He has placed His wonderful world in our hands to care for.  He has given me (and you) gifts and talents to serve Him in this wonderful world. Approaching each day with the attitude that how I spend today makes a difference in the kingdom of God gives me a purpose and an enthusiasm to accomplish that purpose.

How I spend today is what my life will look like.  One day at a time I’m building the life I will present to Jesus when I meet Him ins heaven.  I want to spend my days in such a way that I will hear His words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Thank you, Lord, that I have this day. Thank you, Lord, that whatever I do today in an attitude of faith will be part of the life I live and someday look back upon and can say, “I lived my life for Jesus.”  Praise the Lord.

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