Sunday I finished teaching another course of Boundaries (based on the book by Dr.s Cloud & Townsend). Each time I teach I am amazed by how much I learn. This round, I am struck by the thought of good stewardship. Not only of the usuals: money and resources but of time, talent, and body.
Many of you know that I've lost 137 pounds, yet in that, I hadn't fully grasped being a good steward of my physical body. Losing the weight was good (indeed) but now I embrace the knowledge that I should also bring my body into physical health through exercise, proper diet and sleep. Good stewardship of this Godgiven gift.
Time. I've experienced the total disregard of personal boundaries in this area. I once worked at a ministry that actually taught Boundaries yet, the higher up a person's rank, the less they observed other's boundaries. I even had a sign on the door (politely asking not to be disturbed if the door was closed) which many completely ignored. Ironically, on numerous occasions, if a coworker did see and respect the sign, they'd beep me on the phone to see if they could come in. The underlying thought is that they technically respected boundary. Obviously, it was still violated because of the phone interruption.
Reflecting back on this experience, I learned that my time was not mine. It was for any and everyone to help themselves. I had nothing to say about it. In several instances, I was considered rude and inconsiderate because I politely asked not to be disturbed so I could do focus-work. I cannot tell you how difficult the struggle to keep this particular boundary in a Christlike manner. It became clear that I needed further instruction so that I could grasp the concept that a specific amount of time is allotted to me. I need to govern it well; how freeing. Permission to use my time as part of good stewardship. How refreshing to read the book once again and bone-up.
Talent. Frankly, this one leaped off the page and attached itself to my cranium. The first read through the book was the first time in my life that I'd ever considered that talent should have boundaries. Never had I entertained the notion. I'm accomplished in many things but, in many cases, have not developed them to any significant degree. These natural abilities came easy to me so, I took them for granted. The Holy Spirit convicted me and since that time, I have an entirely new perspective. I endeavour toward good stewardship in all aspects, in all of my gifts, and all of my abilities. The ultimate goal is that in so doing, I'll bring glory to Him--the Giver of the gifts.
For writers, it is often difficult to sit down and learn the craft of writing well. It requires endless hours of study before even one piece is put to paper. The world is teeming with would-be authors. In contrast, the world is woefully devoid of writers willing to put in the necessary perspiration to learn before they submit. In my quest, I've met scads of people and see one overwhelming common denominator. There's a difference between those who get published and those who do not. Published author's are willing to do whatever it takes by way of study, learning, prayer, and networking. The rest believe that simply because they have the gift or desire, they shouldn't have to do all that tedious, boring stuff.
Let me share a Biblical truth. My best friend is a published author and she puts it succinctly: Study to show yourself approved to God. Study. She's been a great source of encouragement because she, who's been published countless times, still has a humble, teachable spirit and is willing to learn to be even better at her craft. Wouldn't we all like to soar? God doesn't allow it, I think, because we are not ready for it. If you will sit, and learn with a humble teachable spirit, then apply your new found knowledge with due diligence, He will bless it. He's promised to, and He always keeps His word.