The “Through” in Breakthrough–Moving Forward, Part 1 of 2

bay bridge


At the beginning of this slogging season, trudging waist deep in time’s sucking mud, my friend Shanna spoke a word that would sustain me in the stuck places. She said, “Maybe your breakthrough will be so gradual and subtle you won’t even realize it’s happening, and then suddenly one day you’ll wake to find yourself in a different place.” (Brilliance. The woman is full of it in fact–her joy-glow so luminous it can’t help but rub off on those around her. Everyone needs a Shanna…)

Rather drawn to the dramatic, and hoping for another of God’s miraculous finales in my life, yours truly needed these grounding words. I have yet to awaken in beautiful Berakah, but my bags are packed, my one-way ticket bought, and I’m headed there, I know. Every bump along the way has turned out to be a God-placed steppingstone to the victory place. A training hurdle set to refine me; to increase my reliance on my Coach.

Here, the things Coach has impressed on me during this training season, weapons for wielding against scarcity, at-the-ready in my time management toolbox:

Getting confessional…getting intentional

Part of the process for me has been getting gut-honest about my time “mismanagement” over the years; read: disobedience. For my shameful squandering of seconds. In church a couple weeks ago, conviction seeped into my battle-tenderized soul…to confess the years misspent. Misspent in disobedience to my calling (justifying there just wasn’t TIME). Misspent in over-stuffing my million tiny moments in pursuit of illustrious perfection, ultimately pillaging my peace. Slaving to scarcity, depriving myself of life-giving margin.

Thus freed up, I’ve been moving forward in intentionality: getting serious about obedience in the specific areas the Lord’s illuminated in this season, which for me, are: #1, Building in margin–a 15-minute buffer across the board. And #2, Changing the way our family “Sabbaths”. Please hear me here: I’m not doing this perfectly. Remember how old habits die…work in progress.

But this. This Scripture keeps wrecking me–reining me in when I wander from the path of righteousness, set in my time-mismanaging ways:

“Great peace have those who LOVE YOUR LAW, and nothing can make them stumble.” Psalm 119:165 (NIV, emphasis mine)

 I mean—insta-good! I want so desperately to honor the Time Keeper with the hours He’s given. I’ve grown tired of stumbling. I’m ready for another way–to radically obey. So I’m striving to manage my time in His strength, escaping the frenzy and instead embracing the peace He’s given; ie: that’s already mine for the taking:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled; neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27 (ESV)

 Peace with TIME. Mine for the taking…

…And from that peace-filled place, I’m striving to build more “enjoy” into our life: joy, play and laughter; silencing the clock’s tortuous ticking in favor of presence in each moment’s gift. And reserving the time to exercise and enjoy my gifts; joy and peace, the blessed fruits of this life equilibrium.

Hugely inspiring to me in this season has been the Israelites’ forward movement in the epic Red Sea story. Once freed and now pursued by fickle Pharaoh, the Israelites, rightly terrified, demand of God and Moses, “WHY?” (This place? This misery? This demise?) For death in the desert seems a worse fate than Egyptian enslavement.

Moses reassures them, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:13-14 (NKJV)

 But faith without works is dead…

To their grumbling, God demands of leader Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it.”(v. 15-16, emphasis mine) Matthew Henry’s commentary sums it up in his like this: “Moses had bidden them stand still, and expect orders from God, and now orders are given.”

The Israelites’ breakthrough awaited…to be activated only by their faith-filled footsteps.

“And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground THROUGH the midst of the sea.” (v. 16, emphasis mine)

 The through in breakthrough—requires faith activation. Radical obedience, every time…Lord, let me be faithful in my through.

Reframing TIME

I’m learning I don’t HAVE to rush through life; living to beat the clock. This is the life my enemy wishes for me, not my Sacred Creator. He gives me a choice everyday: between the hurried, joyless, fogged existence and the slower, savory experience, rich in gifts and joy’s vibrancy. I must choose well. The stakes are high…my joy and my family’s is on the line. The days are numbered. Why would I want to rush through them?

 Introvert that I am, I used to think the only way to the time-harnessed, peace place was quitting and clearing everything off my calendar. But as I prayed it through, I felt God saying “No.” He showed me that actually, the amount of commitments on my plate are reasonable, what I need to do is reframe them–viewing them through His lens, learning to manage my load in His strength.

 I’m learning…rather than shaking my head in disgust at the hours expended in light of the staggering to-do’s remaining…to give thanks instead.

Thank You, God, for this time. Regardless of what I have or haven’t accomplished.

 Thank You for the errands I was able to run. And thank You for the glorious sunshine in which to run them.

 Thank You for a family to serve, gifts to exercise; a blessed life to live. And for the sacred space—24 merciful hours–in which to do it all.

I’ve also had to reframe margin. Over time I grew to regard the M-word as frivolity. Wasted time. Which boiled down to the basic belief that I wasn’t worthy of it—this re-invigorating rest and relief, so elemental to one’s health as a whole. Dysfunction at its finest.

Especially since my children left the nest for full day school, I’ve spend a lot of time soldiering forward, making myself endless to-do lists as I’ve striven to find my rhythm; my purpose. Straight terrified in the face of such a gigantic amount of time each week to steward. And even more terrified to reserve a bit of it for recreation; for re-creating ME.

{…Stay tuned for the conclusion of Making Peace With Time: The “Through” in Breakthrough—Moving Forward, Part 2.}

peace with time

 {Making Peace With Time is a blog series chronicling my struggle to harness and live peaceably with time, finding the blessing in all of it. Time, it’s a gift from above…may its Creator use this journey to wash my eyes, that at the end, I might behold it as such, victorious over my ticking captor…}

7 thoughts on “The “Through” in Breakthrough–Moving Forward, Part 1 of 2

  1. I’m convicted. I started out reading this series thinking, that’s not me…I’m usually on time places…I generally get my kids and myself to places on time or just in time… 😉 But today finally got through my thick skull that there is really so much time each day, each week, that I have no idea where it went! My problem is being so overwhelmed with my ‘to do’ list, that I do nothing. I am frozen, not able to think of what to do next or how to do it…then all of a sudden it is time to pick the kids up from school, and what did I accomplish? Ugh. I think we have too many things in our heads today…my brain is on ‘information overload’! I actually asked my doctor to give me a memory test this week, because I thought I was losing my mind! Turns out I’m not…I aced it. Ugh. So then what? Doc says to let stuff go…of course I know this, but it is easier said than done…maybe it is time that I intentionally ‘un-plug’…at least for a little while…a detox from information over-load…try to get to a smaller ‘to do’ list…be focused and present in each thing I do, without 10 other things crowding my head and begging for my attention… how do we do this? Do we need to form a support group?? I’m so ready!!

    1. I so relate to all of the above, Angela; I think all of us women do!! One of my favorite quotes is from Ann Voskamp: “Life is not an emergency.” Truth. So breathe…but easier said than done, right? We have an enemy that’s hell-bent on us staying good and frenzied. But he’s no match for the Great I Am–the source of our peace. I’ll join your support group, girl!! xoxo!

      1. Thanks Girl! Love that we can vent, and everyone not only gets it, but we can encourage each other!! Thanks be to God for girlfriends!! 🙂

  2. I agree with the comment above! I think because I AM “on time” is why I have issues with time! I’m rushed and always thinking of the next thing and the details and the to-dos and the have-tos and the want-tos and the shoulds…I actually say out loud on occasion: “This never ends.” — Deep breath. Slow down. Savor each experience. Give over the mind chatter to dwelling on Jesus. I’m learning, too, even if so gradually that I don’t even realize it’s happening. (Thank you, Shanna!)

    1. Oh, me too, Meghan!! I breathe the defeated “This never ends” almost daily…we’re all in this together, sharpening each other through the discussing and living of it, desiring more!! We’ll get to Berakah, slowly, steadily, as we fix eyes on Jesus–you’re so right. xoxo!

  3. I have recently only thought about one day at a time–” for tomorrow has enough worry of its own”. Partially because I am at a busy time and just completing the tasks of one day is enough for exhaustion, but also because Scripture doesn’t require me to have a checklist for the day. Thankfully, it says in Psalms that I might make a plan, but He directs my steps. Thank goodness for that in this busy phase of sports and homeschooling!! And to all my mama friends with kids in school, the one day that my kids go to school is my most hectic day so I totally get it! It seems like I should get so much done on the Monday they aren’t here, but that day is the fastest day of my week.

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