Perspective

Today has been a day of perspectives. I got to work this morning and there were a million and one little things on my mind, sapping my mental capacity and slowing me down. They’re all very relevant to life at the moment because they’re things I cannot escape from: responsibilities at work, dear friends leaving Sydney permanently, needing to find a house at the moment… After an hour or so of working like that, we headed to staff meeting. In the past, it’s felt like another obligation, another church service, another excuse to get together to do God-stuff. But today it was what I needed…

We stood and began to sing:

Standing here in your presence
Thinking of the good things You have done

OK, so I hadn’t really been doing that. But with all I had in me, I tried to clear my head and think about what God has done.

Waiting here patiently
Just to hear your still small voice again

I didn’t feel so patient… But I could feel the little thoughts and worries knocking on the door. So I stayed a little longer. Hardly a place of relaxation or peace, but a place of solitude at the eye of the storm.

Holy, righteous, faithful ’til the end
Saviour, Healer, Redeemer and Friend

This is where it dawned upon me: it’s not about me! In 20 years, none of this will matter to me. But God will be just as holy, righteous, faithful…

And then finally, the chorus:

I will worship You for who You are

This was the perspective I needed. Today, worship meant admitting to myself that I’m not the centre of my universe. It meant recognising that God is so much bigger than me and in control than me… I worry about stuff because I can’t control it. But it’s not about me! I make it about me too often, but if I’ll just let my mind let go once in a while and look at things from a perspective of eternity, it allows the heart rate to slow down a bit. Some might consider this to be a loss of identity – taking myself out of the driver’s seat; but knowing that a loving God is in control of not only the universe but also my life and well-being is an extremely comforting thought!

What could I do in five hours?

I could work half of a full day the the office.
I could work a standard casual shift at Coles.
I could watch at least 2 feature length movies.
I could have coffee and a great chat with 2 or 3 friends in succession.
I could read the best part of a good book.
I could watch 6 episodes of a good TV show.
I could attend 2 church services, serving coffee between them.
I could catch up on sleep.
I could sit in Gloria Jean’s waiting to see who walks past to interrupt me.

Or I could sit in an upright seat in a metal tube with 150 other people packed in like sardines, subjected to bad food (if any at all), discomfort and boredom.

I am approaching the end of the 5 hour flight between Perth and Sydney. Not a short flight but not a long one either, the time is dead. This is the 23rd time I’ve done this flight in 3 years and quite frankly, I’m over it! The world is getting smaller… But not small enough. You can try to redeem this lost time, but you’re very limited in what you can do. Yet you cannot relax either. I guess it’s the price you pay for not having to drive the same distance in 42 hours!

OK, sorry for being grouchy!

Sucked in

It’s funny how bad habits are easy to form and good ones aren’t. In Sydney, I work myself hard. Some criticise that saying it’s bad for me, but I honestly feel frustrated when I’ve not got something to show for my time. If you’ve read my posts from the last two weeks, you’ll see that living a significant life has been on my mind a lot and that stuff to entertain (all the more common with the retail push at this time of year) is often a distraction from the things that really matter in life.

To my dismay, I have found myself being sucked into this black hole of entertainment: spending money on things designed to do nothing else than consume a few hours. I have been adding to my DVD collection like there’s no tomorrow, assisted by numerous sales in the stores ($13 really isn’t that much for a DVD!)… As I returned from yet another shopping trip this afternoon (4 movies for myself today), I realised that being on holiday and not working with a purpose in mind was leaving a vacuum. Rather than fill the time with activities that require more effort, such as reading books I’ve wanted to read all year or working on my Dutch (which I do for enjoyment!), I’ve been spending money on things that will waste my time away. I have three days left in Perth and I haven’t done anything that I wanted to do.

To counter the reaction that will inevitably come from some quarters, saying that I really need a holiday, I say this: yes, I need a holiday, but a holiday should give you time off what you have to do in order to do something you want to do. I wanted to do a certain amount of nothing, but I wanted to do other things as well. A holiday shouldn’t have to put one’s underlying purpose for living on hold – if it does, the integrity of the person in question starts to collapse!

Days

Do you ever think about the days entrusted to you? At the end of each day, that’s one less you have in which to make your mark on the world. I’m on holiday at the moment, but the sobering thought just occurred to me: “I have done nothing today, and I’m never going to get that time back.” Work or relaxation, I always want to have something to show for my day. How much of my life am I just seeking and then chasing distractions?

In the quest for significance, the life is always greater than the sum of its days, yet the life is made up of individual days. May each of my days have united and integrated direction and purpose to be the building blocks of a significant life.

Christmas: gezellig

Gezellig is a Dutch word that defies translation and even definition, because it speaks of a feeling or atmosphere that evaporates when you try to pin it down. In my understanding, it talks about the atmosphere of love and friendship, of warmth and peace between people in a situation. (For a fuller explanation, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gezelligheid.)

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