How often have you had this internal conversation?
I’m behind. Again. The items on my “To Do” rival the number of freshmen in my lecture classes. My time is not my own. I don’t like the pace of my life—so little time for people. So little time for God. I’m not sure I like the person I’m becoming. But the academy seems to demand it.
Is it possible, in the pursuit of excellence in my research and teaching, to find time for relationships with Jesus and others?
How do I become a person who loves others well when I have no time for people?
How can I count myself a disciple of Jesus when I can’t find time to follow Him?
Something has to change.
Reality: Relationships Take Time
People take time. My marriage tells me this. I see it in the eyes of my kids. While dear friends seem to understand the demands of my schedule, at least for a while, they won’t remain friends for long without an investment in our friendship.
Missed conversations, missed experiences and events in the lives of those I care about, take a toll. Whether I like it or not, relationships take time.
Reality: My Schedule Ultimately Reflects the Affections of my Heart
I love my work. That’s why I cut corners relationally–with family, with colleagues and friends, and even with God. I won’t change unless I first confront the reality that I make time for the things I love. My affections drive me.
Eventually, though, I realize how out of control my life is, where my affections are—manifested typically in a broken relationship.
So how do I:
- become a person who loves God first?
- become a person who loves my spouse and children well?
- And fulfill my calling to the academy with excellence and rigor?
Reality: We need the expulsive power of a new affection.
Scottish theologian and political economist, Thomas Chalmers wrote:
The best way of casting out an impure affection is to admit a pure one… It is only when, as in the Gospel, acceptance is bestowed as a present, without money and without price, that the security which man feels in God is placed beyond the reach of disturbance. Only then can he repose in Him as one friend reposes in another… The only way to dispossess the heart of an old affection is by the expulsive power of a new one.
Considering God’s great, unchanging love for me – that Jesus gave His life in my place, and that in Him I’m completely forgiven, I respond by giving him first place in my life.
I embrace the expulsive power of a new affection. My heart makes space for God.
And in light of that growing affection, I create space for people, learning to love them as I love myself.
— FC Editorial Team