Every Opportunity Takes of Occupancy in Your Heart, Mind, and Soul

Photo by Eli Francis on Unsplash

It’s fall, and I’m tempted to sign up for all the things

I’m a starter. I do like the feeling of a project completed or a job well done, but what I really love is new beginnings.

In September, just like January, it’s important for me to take inventory of all my commitments. Because nothing feels worse than not being able to complete something I started out enthusiastically.

I want to be a room mom, Bible study leader, afterschool back-up for a neighbor. Maybe there is a place for me on the PTA. Or, what about starting that new fad diet that requires hours upon hours of meal planning and prep.

And isn’t now also the time for me to recommit to the three days per week workout routine? Then there’s the kids, who have a whole other set of scheduling needs that, let’s face it, take up my schedule too: swim practice, basketball, homework, and therapy sessions.

I’m tired just listing it all.

In a world where busy means you matter, take the time to determine the things that you can truly afford to do and the things you can’t. There’s always a cost.

Know this: more than anything you do, you matter.

It’s important to have a good gauge on what occupies your time and what it costs you, relative, not only to what other things you could be doing, but who you are being.

I was reading in Ephesians a few weeks ago about spiritual warfare

Paul talks about how sin gives Satan an opportunity, or a place to work, in our lives. There is a battle over our hearts and minds, and the enemy often tries to gain ground by going after our schedules. Because if he can keep us busy, it’s just as well for him.

And do not give the devil an opportunity. — Ephesians 4:27 (NASB)

The Greek translation of the word “opportunity” in Ephesians 4:27 is occupancy. I love the metaphor of someone, or something, taking up residency in a place.

If we think of a house full of clutter, there is no space to live and move around the way a home is intended to be used. A cluttered — or at its very worst a house of a hoarder — leaves no room for people. The stuff not only takes up space; the stuff becomes the focus rather than the people.

But a home of hospitality is meant for people.

People who can enter a warm, welcome, and open space to gather together around a table for a meal. A place for kids to play and be kids. Room for a guest to stay overnight or while they are getting their feet under them again.

Ever since Nathan was born, our home has become more than just a place for our family, but a place of community. It has become a place of openness. We welcome nurses, therapists, friends, and neighbors.

We need medical help and therapeutic interventions for Nathan. And same as with therapists, it is easier for friends and neighbors to come to us than for us to travel with Nathan to them.

I want our home to be a place where the people and activities take precedence over the stuff. I don’t want to do activities just for the sake of activities.

What I welcome is the occupancy of the Holy Spirit in our home to orchestrate all of this.

Because if I’m honest, my gift is not hospitality. Even though it doesn’t come naturally to me, it is essential for me to practice.

A home is a tangible example of occupancy, but there is a less obvious sort of occupancy that many of us miss.

That is every opportunity that comes your way is threatening to take up occupancy in your heart, your mind, your soul, and your schedule as well.

Emily Freeman in her book, The Next Right Thing,* talks about Soul Minimalism:

Stillness is to my soul as decluttering is to my home. Silence and stillness are how I sift through the day’s input. The silence serves as a colander, helping me discern what I need to hold on to and allowing what I don’t need to fall gently away, making space to access courage and creativity, quieting to hear the voice of God.

*Affiliate link

As you begin to take inventory on your activities, sit in silence. Listen to the whispers from God as to what truly is most important. As a child of God, you were made to worship, not to do all the things. You are loved whether you take on another commitment or not, but the most important thing to do is to just be in His presence.

My book, Beauty in Broken Dreams: A Hopeful Handbook for the Early Years as a Special Needs Parent, is now available on Amazon!

Also be sure to check out my list of Favorite Books on Disability!

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