Saturday, June 07, 2014

--> This is where I am right now <--

So, what is new.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the time that I have available to me.  I was recently moved to a four-on/four-off shift schedule at work, meaning I work four midnight shifts, and then I have the next four off.  At first, I was hesitant to move to this schedule because it meant a slight cut in pay (working four out of every eight days instead of four out of every seven), but my overhead is low right now, which means I can afford to have more time off.  I also have zero seniority to do anything about it.

So, wow, FOUR whole days off.  To be fair, some of those hours are spent re-acclimating to the daylight schedule and then back to nighttime.  I praise God that my body so far hasn't thrown any fits, and I can smoothly transition from one side of the sun to the other as long as I diligently sleep on a regular schedule, diligently exercise, diligently avoid eating anything when I'm not hungry or when I know I shouldn't be eating, and diligently right myself at the end of the night cycle with a healthy dose of caffeine and sunlight and social interaction.

So, wow, THREE and a HALF days off!!!  What does one DO with that time?

Again, to be fair, I've been spending most of that time recently rehabilitating my body from a major surgery.  Eating and resting quickly morphed into eating and lifting.  And eating.  (Sidenote: I do realize that I will one day look back at these I-can-eat-anything-I-want days with fondness, and I try not to take them for granted or waste them.  Translated, this means "please pass me the Oreos.")

But now, I'm where I want to be.  I'm military-ready.  I can run my 1.5 miles in a reasonable amount of time, I can force my way through at least 20 push-ups in under a minute, and I can crank out roughly 30 sit-ups using minimally acceptable form.  I don't have to go to the gym every day to create new muscle fibers.  They're enough, they're tough, and I'm getting used to them.

Okay.  So now what?

There's this one little word that I just love to hear.  It sends my head spinning in a dizzying euphoria that I can only believe is a God-given enticement to employ ourselves with work and to avoid idleness.  That word is "profit."

The profit I'm talking about is not of the fiduciary kind.  The profit I refer to is spiritual.

Back in January, I wracked my skull to figure out just what I wanted to do with the year.  Clean slates are slightly vertigo-inducing to me, and I needed an anchor.  A plan.  Something solid to look at, lest my mental proprioceptors be overwhelmed by the staggering amount of white space that lay before me.  So, I made a list of things I had always wanted to do, which required discipline but I had never followed through with.  I came up with:

-Learn Gregg Shorthand.  Be fluent.
-Learn Latin.  Be decent.
-Draw adroitly.
-Start a business.
-Memorize entire books of the Bible.

In order to follow through this time, I needed a structure, an armature upon which to build my glorious dreams of self-domination.  I jumped back into an organizational frenzy and raided the Staples store for "systems parts."  I must have looked like a mad scientist carrying binders and markers to her basement lab, making trips once or twice per week as I tweaked my creation, hoping to one day maniacally proclaim, "It's Alive!"

After scouring excel templates and Pinterest boards, I created a weekly planning system that is standardized and reproducible -- I don't have to ever worry about Staples discontinuing my favorite product.  About two months into the year, it became fairly obvious that I wasn't making any headway with these goals.  "What is my motivation?" I asked myself.  I honestly had none.  My goals were self-serving.  While I could have reasonably justified learning any of these things as God-glorifying through learning, I just couldn't get into them.  Something was wrong with my priorities, namely, that I didn't have any.

If there's anything I have come to learn from the people I am surrounded by, it is that those who set their priorities to honor God above all things with their time never make excuses for it, and never need to justify it.  It sets the tone for their entire day severally, and entire life corporately.

The psalmist says in 27:4 that "one thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple."  And this is his attitude in the midst of the grave uncertainties and physical demands of Middle Eastern BC, not the relative comfort and prosperity of 21st Century America.  How much more should I employ my own copious amounts of discretionary time by dwelling in His house.

So, this is where I am right now.

-Morning readings of 10 chapters from Prof. Horner's Bible Reading System.
-Evening reading of the Bible in a Year Chronologically - "Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch" Method.

If I am honest with myself, it's not too much work.  It's probably still less than I can do, and far less than I need.  But seeing ROI takes time, and profit comes through diligence and patience.  That's not something that is very popular, I have come to understand.  It's certainly not easy.  But it's a wise investment of my resources, with a view to profit and God as my priority.  I pray I live long enough to see with what treasures I can fill my house.

By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
Proverbs 24: 3-4


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