Archive for August, 2013

How Do You Set Your Mind on Things Above, When The Earthly Things Need So Much Attention??

I have a problem:

I am super good at focusing on one thing.  This ability to really hone in on something made me a fantastic student.  I could sit and absorb a lesson from a teacher or meticulously research, draft, and type out a paper, even if it took hours.  During that time, the rest of the world would be dead to me as I completely zeroed in on my task.

As a mom, however, this “gift” has become more of a hindrance.

See, as a mom, I will find myself folding laundry and trying to figure out what’s for dinner at the same time (this is my version of multi-tasking).  I will be mentally surveying my freezer, fridge, and pantry trying to put together a meal, and then Luke will come in, wanting to walk me through the specs of his latest LEGO creation.  Then, as I’m trying to divert to LEGOland, Greg will enter the room, asking me if I know where the keys are.  And then my head explodes.

Because laundry.  Dinner.  LEGOs.  And keys.  Are four things!  FOUR THINGS!  Not just one thing…but four.  Do you understand?  I just can’t focus on four things at once.

But wait, it gets better.  As I’m working on laundry, dinner, interacting with Luke, and finding the keys, I’m also being a Christian.  And the Bible tells Christians that we also need to be focusing on God during this time.  It even uses all-encompassing words like “continually,” and “in all circumstances”  (“Pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances” 1 Thess. 5:17).  And in Colossians 3, Paul tells us to “set our minds on things above, not on earthly things.”  Sooooo…for those keeping track at home, I’m now apparently supposed to be focusing on seven things:  laundry, dinner, LEGOs, keys, prayer, gratitude, and heavenly things.  At once.

Look, even if I stop folding laundry, wrench my mind away from dinner, and then tell Greg the keys are in my purse before getting down and focusing on Luke’s LEGO creation (thus narrowing my earthly things down to the coveted “one”), how do I interact with Luke in a way that is prayerful, grateful, and focused on God’s kingdom?

In other words, how do I keep my focus where it is supposed to be in the midst of the busyness of life?  How do I set my mind on heavenly things as I do laundry, make lesson plans, pay bills, fix dinner, and interact with other people?  Was God serious when He said to do EVERYTHING for His glory?  And if so, how do we do that?

How do we maintain focus?

THAT is the focus (har har) of tonight’s lesson in our women’s class at church.  I actually do have some ideas about the subject, since I’ve given it a considerable amount of thought and study over the years.  But I’m also interested in what my fellow sisters have to say, both in class, and in our larger Facebook group (and brothers, too!  I’m not trying to leave anyone out).

So, what do you think about all this?  What do you think it means to “set your minds on things above and not on earthly things”?  And how do you manage to do that in this busy life?

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Minds for the Kingdom

Two different things have recently made me very excited.

The first one was reading this book:

MindInTheMakingCover3003-200x300

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who works with kids in any way, be they a parent, an educator, or even a volunteer at an after-school program.  Basically, if you come in contact with kids and want to help them in some form, then this book is for you.

In a nutshell, the book lists seven essential qualities that all people need in order to succeed in this world.  Then, by gleaning from psychological studies, it gives practical suggestions for developing these qualities in children.

And in case I lost you at “psychological studies,” let me reassure you:  they are fascinating.  It is amazing to see how the mind grows and develops.  Let me give you a quick example that I shared at our opening women’s class:

Imagine taking a six-month-old baby and sitting her in front of a puppet show.  The puppet show is wordless and simple:  There is a hill.  A circle is trying to walk up the hill.  A triangle comes and tries to push the circle back down the hill.  A square then comes and helps the circle.  The end.

Next, the triangle and square are set in front of the six-month-old, enabling her to reach and grab one to play with.

Which one do you think she grabs??

You might think, “Hey, she’s a baby!  It doesn’t make a difference to her.  She will grab at random.”  But no.  Almost 100% of the time, the baby will grab the “helper” puppet to play with.  Sometimes in the test, the helper is the triangle; sometimes it is the square.  It doesn’t matter.  Even at that age, a baby can recognize a helper.

Babies know more than we think.  And it’s never too early to start equipping them for life.

Here’s the thing about the book, though.  These seven qualities?  They aren’t just for children.  Like I said earlier, these are qualities we all need in order to succeed in life.  And I’ll take it one step further:  These are qualities every Christian needs in order to be effective in God’s Kingdom.

That brings me to the second thing that has made me very excited lately.

This year, I’m teaching a women’s class on Wednesday nights at my church.  I’ve never really taught a women’s class before, nor have I really considered it “my thing,” but for some reason, I am just giddy at the idea of getting to meet weekly with the amazing women at my church and to discuss ways to live fruitful lives in God’s Kingdom.

For the next eight weeks, we will look at each of these qualities in class.  We will see what the Bible says about them, and we will talk about personal and practical ways to pursue these qualities in our lives.  My hope and prayer is that our time together will be equipping:  I pray that this class will give us each practical, scriptural tools that will help us as we try to serve God.  There will also be a very pragmatic component with tips on developing these qualities in our children.  However, even with this child-focused angle, my hope is that women without children will benefit from this class.

If you live in Nashville, we welcome you to come join us on Wednesday nights at Woodbine Family.  Dinner is served at 5:15, and we start class around 5:45.  If you don’t live in the area, but want to follow along, I invite you to join our Facebook group, Woodbine Family Women’s Class.  In it, I will post weekly links to recap posts like this one, our weekly Bible reading guide, and hopefully start some online discussion about our topics each week.

We would love to have you join us as we seek to develop minds for God’s Kingdom!

 

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