A Time to Speak

Politics. Racial tension. Religion.

You likely have strong feelings about one, if not all, of these issues.

But before jumping into the fray, it’s important to remember what the Lord says in His Word.

In Ecclesiastes 3:7, it says there is “a time to keep silence, and a time to speak” (ESV).

Now, does that mean we shouldn’t care about these and other important issues? Does it mean we should bury our head in the sand? Does it mean we should go about our day-to-day as if nothing life-changing is happening? Of course not.

It does mean, however, that it’s important to prayerfully research the topic and ask the Lord how He wants us to get involved. The key to making long-term change is to respond, not react.

Before We Become Involved

Prayer – As believers, we should never underestimate the impact prayer can have. It has the potential to change us, those closest to us—and the world.

Research – While social media does play an important role in 21st century life, it can also ignite the fire, fan the flames, and burn our sanity to the ground. (Okay, so I may have taken the analogy a little too far, but you get the idea.) It’s important to learn from reliable, trusted sources—and not just those that support our point of view. Too much contradictory information can confuse us, but only listening to those who agree with us isn’t the answer either.

Discover – There are many ways to get involved in “hot button” topics. The more we research these issues, the more likely it is we will discover one or two that deeply resonate with us.

Prioritize – Each of us can only keep so many plates spinning at any given time. We must honestly examine our life and see what responsibilities and downtime activities we must back away from or quit altogether if we’re going to devote a significant amount of time to a new focus.

Trust – When we ask the Lord for wisdom, He promises to give it. We can trust that He will guide our steps.

How to Become Involved

More Prayer – We ought to seek the Lord every step of the way.

There are various levels of commitment required, depending on how involved we want to become …

Comment on posts we agree with and those we don’t. This may require a minimal amount of time—or it could draw us into lengthy, emotional debates. We may even lose friends in the process. It’s important to proceed with caution.

Link to resources we believe would be helpful for our social media friends and followers to investigate. If the discussion gets heated, we have the opportunity to diffuse the situation—or ban certain commentors. Not all those who respond have to agree with us or like the resources we’ve directed them to, but it’s important that they be respectful of those whose views are different than theirs.

Write blog posts, articles, and books. The more strongly we feel about a topic, the more important we feel it is, the more likely we are to write or speak about it. We must weigh our current priorities, our long-term goals, and what we believe God is calling us to. Obviously, if we decide to write a book on the topic, it will take far longer than if we write a blog post or an article.

What topics are especially important to you?
How are you getting involved?

Expectations

Has 2020 met your expectations?

Wait! Don’t toss something at the computer screen.

Of course, the answer is a resounding NO WAY!

There may have been a relatively small number of people who saw this coming, but I’m sure you and I weren’t among them.

It’s hard when a family member or friend doesn’t meet our expectations. It takes it to a whole new level when an entire year fails to meet them.

You’ve heard it countless times before: there’s no use trying to change what’s beyond our control.

Twenty-twenty has confirmed that there are far more things beyond our control than any of us realized.

Words and phrases like “shelter in place,” “stay at home orders,” “coronavirus,” “COVID-19”—and even “pivot”—weren’t previously part of our day-to-day vocabulary. And many of us wish they would all just go away.

We don’t, however, have to remain weighed down by these words and their meaning. There are things we can do to move forward. We can create new expectations, factoring in the vocabulary of 2020.

Routine may be another word that’s on your A Few of My Least Favourite Things list.

Sure, when I was working as a church administrator, I had a routine. However, my schedule had lots of flexibility and I loved that.

I announced my resignation early this year. The plan was for me to train my replacement over the summer and be out of the office mid-August. And that’s what happened.

But then new challenges presented themselves.

This is not a vacation, Stephanie.

What should I do to earn money consistently? (I knew I was going to write and edit, but running your own business rarely provides consistent income.)

Where can I cut costs?

How will I keep all the plates spinning, even though I’m not working at the church anymore?

And yes …

How will I create a routine that works for the long haul?

First, I tried to plan my days using a timesheet. This is so out of character, I suspected it wouldn’t work. I was right. (It also reaffirmed to me that there aren’t enough hours in the day.)

And then, I decided to put a plan in action that I’d been mulling over for some time.

I created a Focus of the Day schedule.

My new routine looks like this: Monday – intern work and business building; Tuesday & Wednesday – editing; Thursday – writing; Friday – doula recertification studies; Saturday – creating something beautiful; and Sunday – worshipping and recharging.

Of course, I have other things to accomplish each day, but as I use these tasks as my daily focus, I’m getting far more done.

So, maybe I’m not as opposed to routine as I thought.

And expectations?

Well, I still don’t know what’s going to happen regarding COVID-19, but I do know that I have a plan of attack.

As a believer in Jesus, I know I can trust Him to oversee everything—even when my routine has to change, even when my expectations look nothing like the reality surrounding me.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV).

How about you? Do you have a routine established?
Does it help you deal with your expectations?
I’d love to hear what works for you.