Do you ever experience those frustrating times when “not bothering” to do something creates more of a bother later? I do quite often- and these usually happen when I am “just” going to do something quickly. Thinking I have a simple task that shouldn’t take much effort, that very lack of effort leads to more of a hassle in the end!
For example, the other day I set up my ironing board near an electrical outlet that was underneath and behind a side table. Instead of crouching to face the outlet directly, I remained behind the ironing board and tried to turn sideways and down to plug my iron into an outlet I couldn’t see. A few awkward moments later I gave up and did it the right way. Why didn’t I just approach the task directly the first time?
I frustrate myself with other simple tasks as well…
– Trying to make do with a coin or table knife instead of finding a screwdriver.
– Groping in the dark drawer for my socks instead of turning on the light.
– Fumbling with a bracelet clasp instead of putting on my glasses.
– Attempting to carry piles of items from my car instead of bagging or boxing them.
Each time, I become increasingly annoyed until I decide to do the task the proper way. At that point, I have already wasted time, I have strained my eyes and my spirit, I have dropped my belongings, or I may have even injured myself. Exasperated, I then do what should have been done in the first place- make the effort to do the task correctly, efficiently, and with the proper tools.
We know the need to plan well for big events such as vacations, career changes, or educational options, but how often do we try to make do or simply get by in our everyday tasks and routines? More importantly, how often do we enter each day without the proper preparation, especially as we seek to live and serve as people of God? Can we live our days faithfully and abundantly if we just get by or make do as we go along?
Of course not. We need spiritual practices to help us be more readily prepared and postured to live as followers of Christ. The time we spend in prayer and other spiritual disciplines will enable us to handle the tasks and trials before us with more grace and peace.
Kneeling before the outlet under the table, I am reminded that I should begin each new morning by facing the day with a posture of prayer and humility.
Finding the right tool for the task, I am reminded that I should use my essential tools of Bible reading, prayer, and reflective journaling to equip myself for any challenges ahead.
Turning on the light, I am reminded that I should first seek the Light of Christ to illuminate my soul before I search for anything else.
Putting on my glasses, I am reminded that I should ask God to give me clarity and vision for all of my daily decisions and plans.
Regrouping and boxing my belongings, I am reminded that I can place all my burdens in God’s hands, and I can ask God to help me reorganize my daily cares and responsibilities to keep God as my first priority.
Why bother? When we “bother” to spend time with God, we are given the posture, the tools, the light, the clarity, and the help for any bothersome things that may come our way. Time spent in prayer and reflection is not time wasted, but time invested for faithful, abundant living. Perhaps we could even say, “Spiritual practices are really no bother at all!”