I’ve studied effectiveness. I read Getting Things Done. Listened to podcasts and read Lifehacker every week. In the last 3 years, I’ve tried 7 different To-Do apps on my phone and gone through just as many calendar and email apps.
I’ve been trying to life hack my life to be happier and more productive. Countless changes and habit-forming techniques. All this in pursuit of making me more efficient and effective at life. Not just work. At everything.
I have tried new ways to make more time and to make more use of my time. Testing my memory and my mind. Reading countless experts and had all number of people nag me about what I forget and what I do.
All this and I still get up running behind. Between getting the kids ready for school and missing the bus and trying to squeeze in my morning prayer between meetings and study. I still miss opportunities and fail to get together with enough people.
The more I focus on how effective I am, the less effective I become.
My Morning Routine
One of the great life hacks, which I do subscribe to and believe in is the morning routine.
My ideal would be to wake up, drink a glass of water, and shower. Make a cup of coffee and do the daily office. Then make breakfast, preferably a bacon and egg sandwich, and write. All done in under 90 minutes.
I believe in personal morning routines.
It’s just that mine is not only mine to deal with.
Getting my kids up is part of my morning routine. So is getting them to eat breakfast. And dressed, teeth brushed. Out the door and to the bus stop before 7:45.
And I also have to dress myself and eat something. And shower and drink my water.
My morning routine is mine, but it doesn’t only revolve around me.
Neither does my nighttime routine. It involves making dinner for my family and cleaning up and playing games and brushing teeth and getting the kids to bed. Then I fall down on the couch for an hour of TV before I drag my own butt to bed.
The truth is that my life is not my own. I’m responsible for myself. But I’m also responsible to my family and friends and church. And ultimately, and I believe most importantly, responsible to God.
I’m not alone in the world. And neither is God.
God’s mission is rarely a solo affair. It’s a teamwork thing.
Doing what God calls us to do almost always involves other people. It involves conversation and intimacy. It involves wrestling with the world and trying to make it recognizably God’s.
Of all the things we can say about the Missio Dei (the mission of God), we must say that it involves teamwork.
- Like Jesus sending out pairs of disciples to share in ministry.
- Or Jesus promising that when two or three are gathered, he would be in their midst.
- That the foundation of our faith is built around community and social norms and expectations.
And ultimately, that our work would be representative of the Kindom: what Jesus calls the Kingdom of God. A vision of a future and present reality embodying the Jubilee. Characterized by debt forgiveness, radical equality, and community building. Nobody left out and all sharing in the beauty of creation with true respect.
In other words, to liberate us from the selfish, abusive, and divided world we so love to embody. And that we could give one another the forgiveness and mercy we expect God gives us.
What’s the Point?
The choice we’re given is to figure out what this has to do with us. With our church and with our lives.
How do we build the kindom? What does it look like in action? Who am I in the midst of this?
Many people of faith mouth the same words. But when it comes to living, to relationships with others, and when it comes to our government, we are in total disagreement.
The One Thing
I recently read The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller. In it, Keller writes about how inefficient we are when we focus on the many things coming at us. And how his own life turned around when he started to focus on one thing at a time.
He runs everything through this focusing question:
What is the one thing I can do such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?
Find the one thing in life and focus on it. Do it. Everything else will follow.
It seems to me that Jesus shows his disciples how to do that very thing. How to narrow God’s purpose for them down to the one thing at the root of it all. For me it’s love. Loving God; loving neighbors.
What is it to choose to name the one thing, the missio dei, and take part in it? What if you set out to let everything else go, treat it like its secondary, and focus only on that one thing? Name God’s one thing and then go. Could you start from there?
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