“If it doesn’t fall out in the next week, we’ll need to pull it,” the dentist said, further explaining the implications on the permanent tooth.
My daughter is at that age where it seems as though all her friends are having some form of dental work – teeth pulled, expanders, braces or a combination. The reality is their mouths are limited in space. Not big enough for the new teeth coming in, their mouths become crowded leaving permanent teeth searching for a resting place.
Our time on earth is a lot like their mouths – limited. So often, I have tried to cram things into my already busy schedule. All the while, they push, twist and misalign God’s plan, leaving His eternal work, well, searching for a resting place or worse – not coming in at all.
To expand our time and align our schedules, we may need to pull some things from our limited resource of time. While this will come with some temporary discomfort, it’s necessary to making room for permanent, eternal things.
1.) Determine Which “Teeth” Are Crowding
Time is a precious resource which, to be honest, can run out at any time. As short or long as it is, our time belongs to God. Unfortunately, busyness has become a badge we wear with honor. When we prayerfully seek first His kingdom and righteousness, all other things – including our calendar – fall into place. To live on purpose and make time count for eternity, seek His guidance on what activities have little “return on investment.”
- But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God. My times are in your hands.” Psalm 31:14-15 NIV
- But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be given to you. Matthew 6:33 NIV
2.) Pull Unnecessary Baby “Teeth” Activities
The longer they sit there, the more crowded our life becomes and the more distorted our calendars look. There’s no room for incoming “new teeth” because the old ones are still there. Like my daughter’s permanent tooth, eternal things find its resting place hidden behind the temporary baby activities. The writer of Hebrews tells us to throw off everything that hinders the race marked out for us. Not everything that distracts us is sinful, but everything that distracts us takes our eyes of the Author and Perfector of our faith.
- … Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1 NIV
- For if these things reside in you and abound, they ensure that you will neither be useless nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:8 NIV
3.) Set Braces In Place
For those who have worn braces, you know there are certain off limit foods – no exceptions. To create a straight calendar, we must wear Godly braces. This may mean saying no to certain things until you have complete alignment. In Biblical times, walls were a means of protection from enemy invasion. In the same way, setting braces in place creates protection from attacks on our time. God thought enough about “braces” to establish the Sabbath, a day of rest from the busyness of life.
- Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control. Proverbs 25:28 NIV
- Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. Exodus 20:9-10 NIV
4.) Wear A Retainer
Perhaps one of the most important things to do once our schedules are aligned is to “wear” a retainer. Just as teeth have a way of slipping back to their memory spot, humans have a high tendency to return to former ways. For our family, this retainer means committing to nothing other than church on Sundays. With this retainer in place, it’s an automatic NO to sports with practices or games and even Bible study groups that meet on this day. Choosing to be unmovable gives us the margin to abound in His work.
- Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV
Did my little girl have to have her tooth pulled? Nope! I’m happy to say after days of pulling, pushing, and wiggling that stubborn tooth; it finally fell out. Instead of waking up with a tooth extraction appointment, she woke to a tooth fairy reward nicely tucked under the pillow.
Savior, we don’t want to regret the time we’ve spent on “baby teeth” when we could have made that time count for eternity. Help us not to cheat our lives of the great blessings you invite us to. Give us the strength to pull meaningless tasks from our schedule and make room for what matters most. May Your reward be tucked into the crevices of a heart set on you. In Jesus name, Amen!