January is a good time to take stock and look ahead. I suppose in some way we all want to have a productive year. We want to be sure to “get things done.” But it is important to stop before we start, and ask ourselves what we want to get done. I have read a lot of time management books through the years (clearly time management is an area where I feel challenged). This is what I have come up with for myself in summary: I will never have enough time to do all the things I want to do. I will certainly never have enough time to do all the things other people want me to do. But I have exactly enough time to do what God wants me to do.
I recently read again Brother Lawrence’s book Practicing the Presence of God. I bet Brother Lawrence’s superiors and co-workers in his faith community were probably more goal oriented. They wanted to get things done. Brother Lawrence, on the other hand, was just assigned the task of washing pots and pans. He learned about simply being in God’s presence. Now, hundreds of years later, we don’t know the names of any of Brother Lawrence’s superiors. But millions have been blessed by Brother Lawrence’s simple words, from hundreds of years ago. God’s ways are so different. In the long run, it was Brother Lawrence in the kitchen who “got things done.” Getting things done starts with listening.