Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Proverbs 21 - What's Your Hurry?

LINK: Proverbs 21

BACKGROUND

Proverbs 21 begins and ends with references to the Lord. The king's life (and, by extension, our lives) is in His hands (21:1-2), and it is useless to fight against Him (21:30). In between, the wicked are referred to eight times (21:4, 7, 10, 12 [twice], 18, 27, 29) and described as arrogant, prideful, desiring evil, unjust, hypocritical, violent, lying, and devious. Also, diligence associated with wealth is contrasted with laziness associated with poverty (21:5, 25-26). There are also two "better . . . than" references to a quarrelsome wife who makes a home unpleasant in 21:9 and 19. It is full of wonderful verses to ponder and apply. I hope you can linger long and slowly over them today.

REFLECTION on Proverbs 21:5


The plans of a hard-working person lead to prosperity, 
but everyone who is [always] in a hurry ends up in poverty.

Just yesterday, I wrote on a card:
God's Word for today: SLOW
I felt like He was telling me to do everything more slowly and deliberately. So, I forced myself to slow down. At the end of it, I felt rested and very connected with Him. It has carried over into today. I think I want to make this my word for life!

Today's verse and yesterday's word reminded me of a Contemplative Advent Retreat I attended in early December 2005 called "Making Room for the Beloved." In the introductory session, our leader, Esther Elizabeth, spoke of her addiction to running. She went for some time making us think she was the "shoe to pavement" kind of runner, but we quickly learned she was a "runner whose mind never stops thinking; whose body seldom stops moving . . . the kind who multitasks throughout the day . . . a rat on a wheel kind of runner." 

She then went on to discuss how running is an epidemic in our culture. This retreat was a Pre-Christmas protest against that kind of running and said NO to the craziness of the Season as we stopped and reflected upon our Beloved in order to make room for Him much like Mary made room in her womb for the coming of the Christ child.

During our three days, we were even encouraged to walk slowly, and this was hard! Before this, I never realized how much I hurried when I walked. 

In the midst of this realization, God led me to Proverbs 19:2a which is very similar to Proverbs 21:5:
It is not good for a person to be without knowledge, 
And he who hurries with his footsteps sins.
GOD'S WORD translates it this way: 
A person without knowledge is no good. A person in a hurry makes mistakes.
And I was making so many mistakes as the stress in my life got out of control. I was suffering, and my family was suffering. My life had become too hurried in the previous six months. Prior to that, I had a pretty balanced life, but outside pressures had made me slip out of that balance. I had been pushed into impossible deadlines for a leadership curriculum I was writing. Instead of saying no to the insane pace, I caved (because my other sin of choice is people-pleasing) and worked fifteen hour days to get it done and almost that many in implementing the leadership class. It was crazy. It was running. I was dying. It was not the SLOW and easy pace of hearing God's voice and responding to it. I was reacting to everything.

During that retreat, God revealed to me that it was sin and foolishness to live this kind of hurried life, and it was leaving me in poverty, not materially, but spiritually. So, a few months later, after my obligations were concluded, I left the hurried ministry behind, and I have not looked back! Now, I do not have the outside pressure of impossible deadlines and more work than I can handle. It is much less hurried these days.

APPLICATION

Are you always in a hurry? Most of us are trying to squeeze more out of our day by doing things just a little bit faster. Try to be more deliberate in your day today by slowing down and hearing God's "still, small voice" whisper to You as you go along with your daily tasks.

Here is also an article that I love called TYRANNY OF THE URGENT

This post could not be more perfectly timed as we prepare this Advent season to "Make Room for the Beloved" Christ Child. Let's make it one where we stop long enough to hear God's voice!

PRAYER

Lord, teach us not to hurry but to follow the example of Jesus who lived deliberately throughout all His days here on earth. It is in His name we pray. Amen.
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