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A Structured Life

Apr 11, 2022

This post is by Jen Shultz.

 

I am supposed to be writing today about why the benefit of maintaining a Bible study in hectic seasons as well as the calm seasons is beneficial. And here I am at the eleventh hour completing my task because I am in a season that is chaotic. Honestly, we all have probably felt this way more than not since this pandemic began, right? Our sense of order and control went out the window with the first lockdown, at least here in my world. Note that I use sense of order and control a bit tongue in cheek because that ideal is just that- an ideal. 

Control is an interesting idea. Webster’s defines it as:

  1.   the power to influence or direct people's behavior or the course of events.
  2. a group or individual used as a standard of comparison for checking the results of a survey or experiment.

In reading this definition, it is very clear to me that I am not the one who is or should be in control. I am just not that powerful. As I dig a little deeper into this concept of control, I realize that I have no real desire to be responsible for the long-term success of events. I am tired just thinking about it. I have to fight day by day to just try to manage my health, raise my children, and hopefully make dinner. It does not sound like much written out like that, but taking care of myself is a full-time job. Undoubtedly, your life is different. Maybe you are a teacher trying to make sure students feel safe, are not hungry, and learn. Maybe you are a first responder and life literally hangs in the balance. You could be serving in our Armed Forces. You could be part of the clergy. You could be someone’s grandparent, sibling, or friend. All of us have many titles and many jobs. Being in control is not one of those hats we wear. Looking into this more fully, I have come to the conclusion it is not control we crave as individuals, it is structure. 

Structure is defined as 

 

  • the arrangement of and relations between the parts or elements of something complex
  • the quality of being organized.

 

Being part of something bigger is absolutely where I land. If we are talking about organization, I am your gal. I absolutely have that quality, but please do not ask me to be in charge… unless you really want to talk about chaos.

So, how is understanding the difference between these two things connected to us being in the Word each day? Why is structure versus control significant, especially when life throws task after task at us? Precisely because in those seasons of chaos, we still need to carve out that time to be still. We need to be able to just stand while the world churns on around us. Even in the busiest times- those times where we feel like everything is so important and there are not enough hours in the day- we need that time to breathe. We must realize that it is HIS breath in our lungs, that it is HIS plan we are moving forward with each day. Jesus was increasingly busy as he moved toward the end of his life, but still, he made time to connect with God.  “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed”. Mark 1:35 Now, I do not know about you, but I try so hard to walk a path that is reflective of Jesus’ time on this earth. I fail often, but every morning offers new mercies (Psalm 143:8). Because I am a failure with so many earthly things, I have made certain to create a structure of having that time with God every day. I need to be reminded of my place and its importance in His Kingdom.

When we build the structure of having daily time with God into our days, an interesting thing happens. We begin to crave that spiritual connection. Just like our physical bodies need nourishment, our spiritual selves need to be fed. I do not know about you, but no matter how busy my days get, I cannot go very long without giving my physical body what it needs. And now that I have built the structure of my day to include daily time with God, I can absolutely see the difference in the days I neglect to feed my spirit. Whatever season you are currently in- be it the eleventh hour days or those you are able to linger in God’s Word- carve out that time. Create that structure. Feed your spirit just like you do your body. You will not regret it!

 

Jen is a small town, Oklahoma girl married to a superhero. Together, they are raising a family on second chances, shiplap, and a shoestring. She is a firm believer in grace, organization, and efficiency. She finds great satisfaction in taking broken items and giving them new life, likely because that is exactly what God did for her. She overuses the word shine, exclamation points, and emojis. She proudly claims to be her kids’ number one fan and hugs more than is socially acceptable. A natural-born encourager and armchair warrior, she is learning to redefine her mission field and make the most of each day she is given. Recently promoted from breast cancer warrior to breast cancer survivor, Jen is chronically ill and chronically positive- not necessarily in that order. She is learning to practice perseverance over perfection and longs for the day she gets to see her grandparents and Jesus’ face. Until then, she is just looking for Grace in the Grind.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

 

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