The Futility Of Trying To Make It All Fit

You know what’s funny?

But, don’t laugh.

I’m a grown man that still gets frustrated about not being able to fit everything that needs to be done in one day.

We learn very early on that each day has twenty-four hours. And as an adult we understand that finite resources must be managed through budgeting –most importantly that is, in order to say “yes” to one thing requires saying “no” to another.

The frustration often comes when I’ve not taken the time to be deliberate about what I’m saying no to and am somehow caught by surprise by what hasn’t gotten done and disappointed by violated expectations (mine and others I’ve made promises to).

In those moments I have to grow up, to:
1. remember that it’s unfeasible to get everything done at once, therefore,
2. to take an account,
3. to choose based on my priorities what I’m saying yes to today,
4. to understand what I’m saying no to for today,
5. to evaluate if or when the “nos” may get a “yes” in the future and
6. communicate accordingly to stakeholders so that the appropriate expectations are set.

I shouldn’t just barge into the day hoping to please everyone.

I can’t.

So, I need a plan and to make sure I’m letting the right people down.

The goal is to express my life in a manner that is true to who I am and consistent with my values like how a fruit tree expresses fruit after its own kind, providing sustenance and shelter to other living things.

So, the goal is being authentic and fruitful, not being liked.

I often overcome dissatisfaction with how my day has gone by beginning it with a realistic understanding of the limitations of the time available to me, resulting in being deliberate about how I’m budgeting my time so at the end of the day I know I’ve spent my time in ways that are consistent with who I am and what my priorities are.

I am Christ’s.

And, my priorities are enjoying life in Christ and imparting it to others, all for the glory of God.

So, everyday, how I’ve spent my time should reflect that and then, assuming I have actually identified my authentic who and why, I can enjoy the satisfaction of having expressed and invested toward that.

It’s almost embarrassing how often as an adult I have to be reminded of how to function within constraints. But, I’m human and sometimes circumstances and emotions overwhelm my critical thinking, so I put this here as a reminder and in case it can help anyone else!

#Thriveday #planningday #adulting #timemanagement #productivity #fruitfulness #purpose

Originally posted by Paul Luckett to Facebook here.

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The Ministry Of Work

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com The Ministry Of Work

NOTE: This is a stub. It’s a raw outpouring of what came to me in a moment. There were points that were deeply helpful to me and I felt compelled to share it at this time, so I’m posting it before it is finished and will fill it out as more about “The Ministry Of Work” comes to me.

Ugh, another work day.

I found myself in a place where I was completely disenchanted with my work. I didn’t have any motivation. I didn’t want to do anything. I simply didn’t have the energy.

I felt bad for feeling bad. Am I being lazy? Am I depressed? Am I burned out?

This feels familiar. I’ve been here before. Experience teaches me to execute James 1:5.

So, I share my struggle with a fellow believer. I seek wise counsel. I pray.

My petition is singular, “I’m completely unmotivated. I don’t want to do anything. I’m not sure if I’m being lazy or if I’m depressed. What am I supposed to do?”

Then, I rest, not just rest from my tasks but I rest in the Lord, waiting, listening for His guidance.

The answer comes to me in that quiet place.

“Not what [you should do], who.”

Whatever matter we’re seeking the will of God for, we can know with certainty that the Father wants us to be like Him, to have His heart.

Everything good is in Him and His perspective on everything is perfect, so who is our Father and what is His heart as it relates to to work?

God is a giver.

God gives abundantly.

God gives so there is more than enough for everyone.

God in His wisdom creates means and mechanisms for the provision of all living things.

The means are His creation –natural resources and the mechanisms are the systems He’s ordained for the extraction and conversion of natural resources into provision for the care of His creatures.

And, one such mechanism God has given us to care for His creation and provide His abundance is work.

Lack, insufficiency, hunger and poverty are all a result of man’s corruption, exploitation and mismanagement of God’s creation.

When we fail to work for the benefit of others we steal, we rob the world of God’s loving provision through us.

“Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.” -Ephesians 4:28

Lies block love.

Show me suffering of a man’s soul and I’ll show you a lie.

In the light of the truth of who God is and who I should emulate, I can see the lies that I allowed to creep into my heart and cause my dis-ease:

1. Work is just about getting rather than giving. (Salaries, titles, status)

2. We get our fulfillment or value from our work.

3. If I can’t do what I want to do, I’m not doing anything.

Work is more than just a means of feeding ourselves, it is also a means for expressing Christ (the heart of the Father), it’s an opportunity to minister His character to others, it’s a means of communicating who He is.

I don’t typically enjoy physical labor but there’s a work I do with delight –washing my wife’s car. I do the work with diligence, excellence and attention to detail. I love conveying the truth of God that she’s cared for and it gives me pleasure to think of her constantly riding around in a tangible reminder.

We should also look for the ways others are seeking to convey His person through their work and be co-laborers with them, especially when we’re unclear about or do not yet have any of our own.

We should be driven to make ourselves useful and be productive as God is productive.

“But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.'” -John 5:17

Sometimes, lethargy is due to causes less sinister than lies and disobedience, sometimes it’s due to being overwhelmed with complexity and decision fatigue, not quite knowing which thing to do or choosing which task would be the most profitable. But, what we know for sure is that some labor, any labor is more profitable than none. So choose something and get moving because it’s in the process of walking in faith that God provides for the next step.

Though I’ve hinted to it, I would be remiss in not emphasizing that a part of who the Father is and what His heart is as it relates to work is rest.

When we fail to properly rest, we fail to properly express who God is.

We should either be working or resting in preparation for work (which includes enjoying the fruit of our work). When we do it properly, we glorify God, we are revealed as sons of God and become vessels God uses to pour out His abundant and manifold grace in the world.

This newfound perspective of work not just as a task (what) but as a means to express God’s character (who), to be a giver as He is a giver and to be His vessel for His provision and care of His creation deeply encourages and revitalizes me. It places a high and challenging calling on all that we do.

Therefore,

“whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” -Colossians 3:23

Work.

Posted by Paul Luckett.

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Maintaining Focus

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com Maintaining Focus

I am grieved by the brokenness of the world and the suffering it causes.
I am often tempted to try to “save” or change the world.
But, that is not my charge.

The world will remain broken and grow worse as long as there is evil in it, that is, any way of thinking besides God’s.

I have one focus: to attend to my Lord’s house,
to see to the provision for those who are in it,
to maintain it as a safe place
and to seek His beloved, declaring everywhere the good news of His salvation from sin whose infection has caused a broken and dying world.

And, as we who are being saved enter His house, we wash each other’s feet so not to bring the filth that is outside inside.

My goal therefore is not to save the world but to lift up Christ and see people saved out of it:

To invite everyone to the courtyard of the knowledge of Christ,
To minister them into the sanctuary of relationship with Christ,
To lead them into the Holy of Holies of the Love of Christ,
To serve the House of God as a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9).

Practically, that means to make the Love of God known not only in word but also in deed and truth (alḗtheia -sincerity): in how I serve, how I work, how I relate to everything –in how I live (1 John 3:18).

May I be found so doing until my Lord returns,
when “all enemies have been put under His feet” and evil is defeated completely (I Corinthians 15:25).
Then, by His power, there will be no more destruction, “for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” – Isaiah 11:9

I have decided to make all that I do in service to this: my Lord’s house. As Paul said, “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2.

If it doesn’t further this, I have no part in it. #kingdomfocus #focus

Originally posted by Paul Luckett to Facebook here.

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The Deceitfulness Of Riches

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com The Deceitfulness Of Riches

For weeks, I’ve intended to:
visit a loved one,
sit with a dear brother,
put in quality family time,
write that note,
make that call,
share that word.

Why haven’t I?

Because I’m occupied with what I have to do to make the money to keep what I’ve got.

And, I’m preoccupied with what I have to do to get more.

“what I have to do…”

I’ve been in bondage.

The world says I can attain the good life if I somehow manage to get the right combination of things. But, Jesus teaches that the things that make for my peace are in knowing the Father and following Him, forsaking all else.

I know the truth, but at some point I again embraced the lie.

This deception offered me fool’s gold, robbing me of what matters most: precious time loving people who are dear to me and dear to God, in exchange for the worthless: a nirvana I might experience some day if I manage to get and do all the right things. (Spoiler alert: It’s a lie. Fulfillment never happens this way.)

Working for more stuff and living more life are in opposite directions. And, I’ve been going the wrong way!

My focus should not be on how to keep what I have or how to get more. My heart should be set upon attending to my Father’s house rather than seeking my own interests and pleasure. When I have the same heart as the Father (as demonstrated by Jesus, His only begotten Son), then my pleasure comes from seeing His house provided for and prospering.

So, I pray “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit with in me!”.

I’m on a journey now
to lay aside that which ensares me,
to divest myself of what weighs me down,
to sell what I have to share with those who lack,
to live with less so I have more to give:
to follow Jesus.

I repent.

The Myth Of Black Exceptionalism

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com The Myth Of Black Exceptionalism

A major downfall of my community is our participation in the myth of black exceptionalism.

The notion fed by a pitiful desire for proximity to whiteness that suggests those blacks who have somehow made it to the table (irrespective of how dubious the means) are somehow “different” than other blacks, a “credit to my race” -exceptional, but as evidenced by the limits imposed on our influence while at the table, still inferior.

I, however, am not exceptional in any way. I am what happens with a semi-stable, home-owning, two parent family and very modest resources.

I went to an elementary school in Atlanta, Georgia, that exposed me to a second language, German, in the second and third grade.

My parents could afford to supplement my education with activities such as piano lessons.

I was afforded opportunities in a well funded Jackson Public School District who could recruit exceptional teachers and offer programs such as Bailey Magnet School and the Jackson Academic and Performing Arts Complex.

I had opportunity through APAC to participate and compete in the visual arts and classical voice (what some think of as Opera, but its a little different).

I had opportunity at my high school, Bailey Magnet, to participate in string orchestra (violin), debate, forensics, student government, etc. etc.

See, I am not exceptional, I am an average person that is a confluence of those investments. People, by in large, are products of our investments. So, if we want different outcomes, we must make different investments.

What’s most needed in the black community, in my opinion, is not welfare but wealth.

The outcomes we find undesirable; crime, teenage pregnancy, and other ills of poverty are not because my people are deficient or broken, it is because of a broken system that artificially constricts the flow of resources to protect the advantage of some by starving the investments in others that are necessary to produce the outcomes we claim we want.

One of the most poignant examples of this “artificial constriction” was made during President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, where the FEDERAL Housing Administration (not some backwater town in the deep South, mind you, but the federal government) adopted a documented policy to extend credit to whites, irrespective of their credit worthiness (they were essentially begged to take the loans) while creating racially restrictive conditions, where blacks were not only excluded from the loan program but were barred from even renting homes subsidized by FHA loans. It is to this day, one of the most significant contributors to the wealth gap. Many whites who were languishing in poverty as a result of the Great Depression, were lifted out by one of the largest government interventions (welfare program, if you like) in U.S. history -being given an appreciable asset, homes, while blacks were pushed further to the margins.

Beginning to address the problems we face today will require interventions on the scale of those that contributed to them. As much as it was true for whites during the depression, it is true for blacks today: the path out of poverty begins with possessing an asset that reliably appreciates in value. And, education ain’t it. It’s what we’ve been peddled -straddling us with enormous debt and very often useless parchment. But, in my opinion, that’s putting the cart before the horse. Education is important, but generally education should be profitable. It’s not alchemy. Education cannot create something out of nothing. At a societal level, education is a means of growing production and profit. What good is knowing without the wherewithal to do? What good is know how when we have no where to apply it? Therefore, education follows wealth.

Everything I do is driven by a God given love of my community as a whole and a desire for all of it to thrive. Blacks are a part of that community and we’ve got a tourniquet constricting the flow of vital resources throughout the body. So my efforts to eliminate these restrictions are not merely to benefit blacks but for the well being of us all. So, you want to stop kids from breaking in your truck? You want to deal with the issue of crime sustainably? It’s not more prisons. We’ve tried that. Making the long-term, positive investments for the outcomes we want is where we start.

So blacks, especially, who have achieved some affluency must stop perpetuating this lie that we’re special and that other blacks are in their predicament because they lack some innate quality that we, who have “made it”, have. We’re harming ourselves by deflecting from the real conversation to be had – how we’re going to accomplish wealth at scale. When the conversation drifts to a symptom, we must bring it back to the system.

I love you.

Originally posted on Facebook on February 14, 2021.

What Is The Point?

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com What is the point?

As a believer, my purpose, as I currently see it, is to promote Oneness in God through Christ, with everything bound securely together by His unfailing Love -a bond stronger than any other in the universe. (Romans 8:38-39)

To this end, I, by the grace of God, labor first to be found squarely in Christ (Philippians 3:8-9) and then, with His Love, draw everything in my sphere to where He is (John 12:32), that, this being committed to collectively by the entire body spanning every generation, all of creation might be redeemed and reconciled to Him (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).

To be clear, this is God’s work and what we do He does through us (Philippians 2:13). And even what we see about the goal, He showed us. So, it is 100% His grace, not our works, that any man should boast.

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” -Ephesians 3:20-21


			

The Paralysis Of A Perfect Plan

Planning Whiteboard

I can’t tell you how much time I’ve wasted waiting to develop the perfect, fail proof plan. I have to constantly remind myself that if God wanted to make me a robot that operates on strict step-by-step instructions, He would have. Instead, He made me creative, resourceful, able to navigate obstacles and has given me discretion over how I represent His interests. So, I must simply be led by a desire to please God, put my hand to the task before me with what I have and work to grow my stewardship. There is no need to agonize over my next move. If I first aim to have His heart and relate to the world as He does, my steps will be guided in the process.