Stuck in the mud
Published 7:15 pm Sunday, April 2, 2023
What if, God said to you… “Come away with Me for a while. The world, with its nonstop demands can be put on hold. You live among people who glorify busyness; they made money and time a tyrant that controls their lives. Even those who know Me as Savior tend to march to the tempo of the world. They have bought into the illusion that more is always better: more money, more meetings, more programs, more activity.”
I read that passage from Sarah Young’s “Jesus Calling” during a leadership retreat where we were beginning to ask ourselves, “Are we doing too much busy work and not enough faith work?” If you want to be around a bunch of Type A, ultra busy, super organized, high-octane people, you should consider hanging around this group. Actually, I think I may be describing many of us?
But don’t you long for a better balance of less “work at it” and more “faith in it?” Without ignoring our obligations, how can we carve out time to discern the will of God in the midst of our activity.
Too much busyness and not enough listening is like your car getting stuck in the mud. You push on the accelerator and the wheels turn faster. The roar of the engine, the mud flying in all directions and the smoke rising are all signs of frantic activity but the object of all the activity, namely your car, is going nowhere. You push the gas pedal harder making the wheels spin even faster, creating ever more noise, flying mud and rising smoke. Yet the object of all the activity still sits there stuck in the mud.
Or... you could stop the frantic activity and step out of the car. After looking at the situation more calmly, you realize the need to do something different in order to release your car from the mud. Looking around you see a board that could be placed in front of a wheel. This allows your tire to gain needed traction. As you get back in the car, you push the accelerator again but slowly this time, easing the car forward, then backward creating a rocking motion allowing the car to find the grip of the board and free itself from the muddy trap.
Are you busily spinning wheels, throwing up plenty of mud and smoke but essentially going nowhere? Maybe it’s time to stop, step away for a moment and make time for the God who created you, has a plan for you and is looking for an opportunity to guide and encourage you.
Sarah Young of “Jesus Calling” goes on to write: “Moreover as you walk close to Me, I can bless others through you.” So, not only will you benefit from spending time with God but those who watch you, depend upon you, learn from you, lean on you, love you or even despise you will be blessed by your willingness to change, to listen, to follow God‘s guidance.
Patrick Lencioni asked six simple questions to guide businesses seeking purpose. We could ask ourselves those same six questions.
- 1. Why do I or we exist? 2. How do I or we behave? 3. What do I or we do? 4. How will I or we succeed? 5. What is most important right now? 6. Who must do what?
Patrick writes: “If you can rally around clear answers to these questions — without using jargon and flowery language — you will have a better chance of having a healthy outlook. Answering these questions is as difficult as it is simple. Simple because it doesn’t require great intellectual capacity or cleverness. Difficult because it requires honest dialogue and a real commitment.”
At the leadership retreat we learned busyness is good but not at the expense of missing out on listening to God‘s voice and being more aware of the needs around us. You could wind up trapped in a mud hole spinning tires, throwing up mud creating lots of noise and smoke. Or, you can stop. Step away, look around and listen for God‘s still quiet voice. It may be the most important decision of your life.
This simple prayer from “Godspell” is a great reminder of what it means to refocus and be aware: “Day by day; Day by day. Oh dear Lord, three things I pray. To see thee more clearly. Love thee more dearly. Follow thee more nearly. Day by day.”
My prayer today? Day by day, help me to see You more clearly, to love You more dearly and follow you more nearly. Day by day, enable me to be more aware of the needs around me and give me the awareness and the courage to respond.
Rev. Larry E. Davies can be reached at email@example.com.