the shape of leadership

Creating Space for God

God will bless your work time when you prioritize your walk time.

Kathy Cannon on June 22, 2017

My calendar is more reliable than my brain. With all the craziness of life — marriage, five kids and ministry — I’ve discovered that unless it’s written down or typed in, it ain’t gonna happen.

I block off time for sermon writing, basketball practices, lunch meetings, date days, worship nights, music lessons and team gatherings. I wake up early and fall into bed early. Every single thing that depends on me showing up or preparing in advance must be on that calendar.

Each and every item is important, often incredibly spiritual and sometimes even urgent. But given an honest evaluation, it easily becomes more about my work life than it was about my walk life.

“Pastors, you are paid to be the Christians you keep telling others to be.” The admonition from Pastor Charles Crabtree circled in my brain until the Holy Spirit urged me to be as intentional with my personal walk with the Lord as I was with my professional work for the Lord. The tools were there. The systems were in place. It was my priorities that needed to shift. Sure, I can get things done for Jesus. But am I becoming more like Him?

God desires intentional relationship. For me, that depended on showing up, and preparing in advance. The two reasons I use a calendar to make life work became the same methods I use to grow in my walk.

God desires intentional relationship.

First, I plan to show up. I create weekly blocks of time on my calendar for devotional reading, prayer and journal writing. I shut down or put away everything else to avoid distractions. Now that it’s on the calendar, I can be honest and tell someone, “I’m sorry; I have another appointment then.”

Protecting these times is a discipline, but my relationship with God requires me showing up to meet with Him.

I cannot pour out to others unless I consistently refuel by spending time in the presence of God, and that doesn’t happen by accident. Since I’m not yet good at praying for hours, I started with 10, 20, then 30 minutes, and took that appointment as seriously as I took the meeting with a volunteer after it.

Second, I prepare in advance. With a little prep, it is easier than I thought to reclaim lost time in my days. A current personal-growth read now resides in my car or on my iPad at all times, and when I find myself sitting and waiting, it’s there to pick up. Those previously wasted moments in a lobby or during a child’s music lesson become treasured times to read the next chapter instead of mindlessly scrolling through another social media feed.

With these shifts, my entire life has become more fruitful. God will bless your work time when you prioritize your walk time.

“Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit” John 15:5 (NLT).

This article originally appeared in the June/July 2017 edition of Influence magazine.
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