I have found myself, on more than one occasion, becoming wrapped up in getting everything checked off only to find myself checking out. Having goals and plans and even accomplishing them can be rewarding, but "taking care of business" no matter what, could lead you down a path where you are not taking care of yourself. I always found it so profound when the flight attendants would instruct the passengers, "In case of an emergency...if riding with a child...please secure oxygen to yourself first...and then help the child in your care.". I have never been a flight attendant, and based on that rendition I probably would never pass training, but you get my point. These wise safety coordinators explained a critical piece of leadership, in one simple example. If we do not take care of ourselves we will not be able to help anyone. I type these words and even reflect on them often, because I am clearly "A Work in Progress".
I believe that whether our personalities are type A, type B, or a combination platter, we can all heed the advice from our friendly frequent fliers. As a person with a very type A personality, I tend to plow forward through to completion, at times forsaking my health. Most of the time I am disciplined as a nutritionally and physically focused individual. But sometimes, when completion is on the line, I have thrown exercise and the ability to control late night sweet snacks out the window all in the name of rewarding myself.
I am reminded of a time when I got my priorities out of whack, when I spent several days staying up late intending to wrap up some final details on a few projects, but found myself surfing the net for information to help me with a very low priority project. Because I had made this choice I had gotten behind on some work and when exercise and rest came up in my schedule I flew passed them, telling myself that I had to rush in order to keep my word on my commitments. Within a matter of two days I was run down, less productive, fighting off sickness, and looking at less than par finished work.
Then I had the audacity to try and tell myself that the reason why I was not getting my work completed, with excellence, was due to the fact that I was not feeling well. I knew better and could not even swallow my own excuse. God showed me how to stop making excuses and instead how to look back at that week and pinpoint multiple areas where I could have better used my time. He showed me how I could have sowed my time directly back into my health, which would have given me the energy and focus needed to produce work that I would have been proud of delivering.
Staying focused is a critical component of being a fruitful person, which is a topic in and of itself, but in order to stay on task and help others we first need to invest in our own lives. There are many ways that we can invest in ourselves, from vacations to spa days, but the simple day to day investments are the ones that will keep us lifted and strong in our journey. First things first is to spend each morning with the Lord, which will put us in the right frame of mind to make our best choices throughout our entire day.
Spending time with the Lord is critical, but then we must apply His wisdom to our daily routine in order to produce fruit and help all of those around us. We can pray all day, but when we stay up late and eat a handful of homemade chocolate chip cookies while vegging out in front of Internet T.V. (even if it is Joyce Meyer), it will effect the fruit that we are trying to produce, (ouch did I just say that out loud, okay I needed that even if you did not).
I am not saying that we can never enjoy ourselves, because for years I did not (again, driver personality in abundance), but I am saying that whatever we reap we sow. If I sow late nights of unproductive sleepless activity I will produce days of broken focus and frustration, (for myself and others). I must invest my time wisely, no matter what I feel like doing, because my feelings are only interested in instant gratification, whereas my spirit requires fruitful productivity and if that means delaying my feelings so be it.
There are times that I plan to work longer hours on certain projects, but I have learned to plan these with the Lord. Offsetting these productive days the Lord has shown me how to plan investment time. Late nights are planned and time off projects are more enjoyable because I can lay down my work and enjoy personal investment. I am not perfect and it never fails that when I try to work long hours when I should not be, those are the times when I notice myself going down the path of getting out of balance.
Being “A Work in Progress” I continually strive to eat right, exercise, and get rest, because I know that God wants me to prosper and when I do I believe, that is when I can help others. I want to help others, therefore I must take measures to take care of who God has created me to be. I believe that when we invest in our lives, so that we can sow into other people, we will not only be fruitful, but we will live to enjoy seeing the fruits of our labor. Thank God that He is always there to help me get hooked back to His refreshing air, investing in me so that I can help others.
"Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest propser and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth,"
(3 Jn 2 KJV)