1. WHEN TO SPEAK OR WRITE: I thought I knew how to write a paper, but I found myself in a bit of a rush with the last paper I had due this past term and made one big error: I started to write having only finished half of my research. The result was a messy conglomeration of 10 pages that wandered here and there, saying a bit of this and a bit of that, but not really saying anything coherently. Ugh. I realised that I needed to stop writing and took a day to go over all the sources I had not yet looked at, a day that I thought I really could not afford to take. But I did, and after that I was able to write much more quickly. I had a clear idea of what I wanted to say, and was able to cut, paste, and edit the mess into a good introduction and first point. The Lesson: always take time to listen, read, be informed, get the whole story before speaking or writing. There is never NOT enough time to be thorough.
2. IN TIME: I get annoyed at people who are late. Not that I am never late myself, but I try to always be where I said I would be at the time I said I would be there. Walking in late, to me, is disrespectful and an indication that I believe my agenda is more important than anyone else's. Being late is asking other people to be inconvenienced so that I need not be. Faithfulness is a really big deal to me, and that's a good thing, but this annoyance is ungracious when it surfaces, and is an indication that there is something I need to learn here. In general, I believe there is something that we as followers of Jesus don't get regarding time. For the most part, we simply adopt the values and attitudes of the culture around us and never think what it means to view time according to God. While I was thinking about how we can go about aligning our times to God's times, one of my profs sent me the info for a new book coming out: Crafting a Rule of Life: An Invitation to Well-Ordered Way by Stephen Macchia.
Here is a paragraph describing the book: "All of us have an unwritten personal rule of life. We wake at certain times, get ready for our days in particular ways, use our free time for assorted purposes and practice rhythms of work, hobbies, and worship. There is already a rule in place that you are following. Isn’t it time to give up your unwritten rule and prayerfully write one that more closely matches the heartbeat of God?" Yes, please. I will be ordering this book. The Lesson: there IS a way to line our times up with the times and seasons of God. Teach me, O Lord.
3. HEY MATTE, CAN YOU???? I get frequent requests to help others out in various ways: it could be listening to someone tell me their problems, connecting with friends new and old, hosting house-guests, providing food or gifts or skills, or participating in a project. For the most part, I am happy to assist. But lately, the requests have come thicker and my time and energy is thinner. Just when I was beginning to feel conflicted about not spending enough time with the people who come across my path, or being a good hostess, I came across this post by a fellow introvert. It helped me put things in perspective and realise that the small, hidden, private, pondering, silent things I do have a lot of value and should not necessarily be shuffled aside for the larger, more public demands. Here is the link to: 10 Myths About Introverts. The one quote I really like is this: "A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers." The Lesson: nourish my gifts/skills and take the time to develop them. Invite people into my life as God directs me, and do not neglect the gift which God has placed in me. Through it, I can love and serve him and others best!
the photo: my new office where most of my research, pondering, and writing happens. Thanks to Dean for helping me set it up. I love it!