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In the Moment

I need times of transition. This is something that I have discovered about myself and my daily life. I have a difficult time jumping from one thing to the next, especially if I have spent a significant amount of time dedicated to a single focus. To contextualize what I am talking about let me say that on any given day I come up with a new list of three things to accomplish and I add these to my "daily six list." Those six are the things that I have prayerfully decided upon in order to keep myself accountable and effective in my calling and purpose.

Applying both of those lists to my routine has taken a lot of time and discipline to include as an every day reality, but to talk more about that would be a blog of a different color.

I usually don't need a transition between each of those nine daily items as they are similar in focus and the mental/spiritual/emotional preparation is the same. However, when I go home I need a time of transition to adjust my focus so that I can be effective in the most important ministry in my life.

Beth and I have discussed this fact and one thing she does to help me is to give me errands when I am on my way home. Early in our marriage, she wanted me home as quickly as possible and she didn't want to burden me with one more task. For my part, I wanted to get home as quickly as possible and I didn't want one more thing I had to do every day. The reality is that this task allows me time to transition between ministries. I use that word (ministry) because it helps me to conceptualize my role in different circumstances and it holds me accountable to having a Kingdom focus whether I am a husband/father/pastor/brother/counselor/friend/missionary/etc. Going on errands may not work for everyone but if I don't have one, I have come to accept that I will have to take time (once I get home) to turn my attention to the members of my family, be fully in the moment, and prayerfully release everything else I have done outside of the home. Otherwise, I am not really present even when I'm there.

I also need a similar shift for other activities or ministries but I've found that the biggest adjustment is in preparing myself for a worship service. An incredibly challenging concept of this eternal life that began the day I confessed Jesus as my Lord and Savior is that need-based ministries will pass away at the time of the final consummation but worship will continue forever. How do I transition between everything else going on in my life and the one, unique activity that is the pure expression of the first and greatest commandment? I had to realize that there is a huge difference between preparing myself to hear from the Lord in prayer, and preparing every fiber of my being to engage in corporate praise of our Creator, Redeemer, and the great I Am. I have had to recognize the fact that this should not be a case of "I should really do that" or "if I can set aside five minutes I'll try to make that happen."

The answer for our Sunday worship service came one morning as I stepped out of my office pulled by the heart of what was being sung in pre-service practice time. I looked away from the team and saw Ruth, one of our church members, walking every row of the sanctuary and covering each seat in prayer. I had seen her do that many times but this time it struck me that I didn't have a dedicated time of transition to prepare myself for worship. Quality time in any relationship requires an intentional and singular focus. I wanted to make sure I was fully in the moment when I was in worship as much as any other activity so why wouldn't I apply a time of transition? No transition has to take long but it does have to be personal and eventually I found the habit that worked for me. Now, to be transparent, I have had many hectic Sunday mornings when an urgent circumstance has impacted my ability to have my normal transition but now that I am aware of its necessity I try to adjust to make sure I don't lose it entirely. After all, I need times of transition.

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