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November 20, 2013

My Sunday is Great, My Monday . . . Not so Much

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Contributed by: Ted Beasley

 

Ted Beasley is a professor at the Acton School of Business and is the founder of the Missional Business Challenge.

 

I've heard of history repeating itself, but this Monday thing has got to stop.

 

Spiritually speaking, Sunday and Monday couldn’t feel more differently.   On Sundays, faith is easy.  Worship at church connects us to our eternal Creator.  We get pumped up by the minister’s sermon (provided it doesn’t go over 30 minutes).  We’re surrounded by a congregation of people who are pretty much on their best behavior for that hour, at least until we all try to get out of the parking lot at the same time.

 

Sundays are a breeze to be with God.  But Monday is a different beast.  The rules change.  It’s hustle, compete and put out fires.  When it comes to practically living out faith, have you noticed that it’s hard to maintain your spiritual mojo through the week?  Where is the God who was so clearly nearby on Sunday?

 

How do I connect Sunday and Monday?  Most people of faith never figure it out.  They simply accept the fact that they live in two different worlds with different rules, that they are somehow two different people, bifurcated down the middle.  “Half of me is sacred, half of me is secular.”

 

Listen to this very powerful prayer Jesus prayed about you:  “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them . . . . As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.”  (John 17:15-18)

 

Jesus says, “Oh you are different.  Everything you experience on Sunday is true, and Monday is sometimes a whole lot of illusion, but I’m not taking you out of the world.   I’m sending you right into the fray on Monday.  And I want to be as real to you then as on Sunday.  Monday is holy.”

 

How do you bridge your Sunday and Monday?  How do you stay connected to God throughout the workday?  Here are three suggestions:

 

1.  In the Morning, Offer an Invitation.  As you know, there are two kinds of people in this world.  There are people who love to get up in the morning and there are people who hate the people who love to get up in the morning.  Maybe you’re the second kind.  Maybe God doesn’t even like being around you first thing in the morning.  But as soon as you can after waking up, create a minute or two to invite God to be part of your day.  It doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but you’ll need a few moments of silence.

 

Simply pray, “God, I’m going to need you today.  I invite you to walk with me throughout everything I have to do.”   And then tell him whatever your concerns are for the day – a project at work, a meeting you’re not looking forward to, a challenge you face, maybe a challenge your child faces.  Be specific about what’s on your work calendar.  Go through it with him in your heart and mind.

 

2.  Embrace Interruption.  Most of us are irritated by interruption.  We have our schedule and priorities for the day, and God have mercy on anyone who gets in our way!  But when you consider the life of Jesus, it was one interruption after another.  Certainly he had plans, but along the way, people with a question or need would catch his attention.  And he would pause, and treat it as if it was a moment orchestrated by God.

 

God inhabits interruptions, whether it is a co-worker who stops you and needs a little encouragement or if it is a traffic jam that slows you down and gives you a moment to think.  When someone or something interrupts you, take a moment and silently ask, “God, what do you want me to do right now?”  It will take discernment.  You can’t deal with every interruption, but part of learning to listen to God requires some degree of availability to be taken off schedule.  When you close yourself off from his interruptions, you miss out on the adventure of living the day in God’s presence.

 

3.  Check-In During Transitions.  All of us want to see the power of God manifested as we go throughout our work days.  We want to be successful professionally and spiritually.  How do we bear that kind of fruit?  Jesus gives the secret of a meaningful life in John 15 – “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”   (vs 5)  But it’s hard to stay focused on God’s  presence all day.  Our minds and bodies are occupied by other things.

 

That’s why I do check-ins with God during the transitions.  When I am about to start a call or I’m walking through the hall to a meeting or begin a major task, I use that downtime to reconnect with the Spirit.  And I simply talk to God about how I’m doing.  And I ask for his help in the next meeting or task.  It’s a 20 second prayer, but it helps me to “remain in Him” throughout the day.

 

What else are you doing to connect your Sundays and Mondays?  With a little intentionality when you awaken, in the midst of interruptions and during the transitions, you’ll feel a new vibrancy.  Your Monday will start feeling a whole lot Sunday.

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