Tips on Tensions, Tiredness, and Time

Upon continuing my reading of The Unprivate Life of the Pastor’s Wife by Frances Nordland, I came across some good information in chapters 11, 12 and 13, which I felt I should pass on to you.

Chapter 11 deals with “Tensions and Fatigue” typically associated with the pastor’s wife, but that could be applied to any individual. In this chapter Nordland quotes a significant part of Dr. Marion Nelson’s book Why Christians Crack Up. Here is some of what Nordland quotes which I feel is most useful:

“Fatigue, when it develops, prevents the mind from being as efficient or as effective (as it might be) in coping with problems.”

“Remember that God the Holy Spirit, in speaking to us as Christians, works through our conscious mind. If our mind is fatigued and befuddled, the the Holy Spirit cannot get through to us as well as before. We cannot pray as we used to do because prayer is an exercise of the mind, and if the mind is tired, naturally we cannot pray as well.”

“A college student, for example,…should be careful to follow each school period of work and study and pressure with a period of less work and more rest, to help him build up resistance against fatigue. A period of abnormally heavy strain ought to be followed by a period of unusually light strain. This will enable his body and mind to recover, and thus he can avoid a breakdown.”

“…The development of fatigue is usually an indication that the Christian has been trying to do more work than God has willed for him to do in that period of time. If you cannot work sixteen hours a day without developing fatigue, then it is very unlikely that God would lead you to work sixteen hours a day. When God’s sustaining grace expires for that day and you become tired, then it is time to quit and rest instead of continuing your labor.”

“If our mind is numb with fatigue, we are not capable of being used effectively by the Holy Spirit.”

Then in chapter 12,  Nordland discusses the issue of priorities. From this chapter, I simply want to quote a poem she provided:

From morning until night

I am busy.

Surely all this motion

is getting me somewhere,

isn’t it?

Somewhere…

What an indefinite term!

Where am I going?

Am I any closer to being there

than I was yesterday?

I don’t know…

I’ve been so busy going,

I haven’t thought about

where…

Of course, I know

I know to know God,

Now…

as He is revealed in Jesus Christ.

Let’s check and see if I’m going

ahead,

or backward,

or nowhere…

Then, finally, in chapter 13, Nordland addresses time in a very interesting way. She argues that time is a constant and we cannot blame time for what happens from day to day.

She quotes Henry Austin Dobson who said: “Time goes, you say? Ah, no! Alas, Time stays, we go.” Before you keep reading, stop, read that quote again, and think about it, and really, I mean REALLY think about it. “Time stays, we go.” Time is constant. There will always be 24 hours in a day, and 60 minutes in an hour. Each second is always the same length, and 60 of them always add up to a minute. One day does not go faster than the other. Nordland quotes from a book, Managing Your Time:

“In the lives of busy executives there is no question asked more often than “Where has the time gone?” Does it seem strange that the question most often asked, rhetorically to be sure, should so misstate the case? Does time depart the scene as the question suggests? Or has it simply passed at the rate it always has while we accomplished far less than we should? Or, perhaps, are we really asking, “How could I have planned so poorly and have left so much to be done in so little time?”

Nordland finishes by arguing that we are to be stewards of our time just as we are stewards of our money.

So, as this new year begins, and our eyes widen with all that is before us, do not let this year “fly by” without having done what you are called to do, what you have set out to do. God has blessed us with this time. We are not guaranteed tomorrow, only this moment. So be sure to spend it wisely. Do not overwork yourself, God will provide the grace you need for each day. Remember who and what is most important during this next year. And truly, make every moment of every day you are given count. You never know when all will be spent and you are left asking “how did I plan so poorly and have left so much to be done in my already spent life.”

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