A System Of Seeking God
When a small, scrappy nonprofit throws an event for 300+ people, things are bound to get a little bananas.
In the weeks leading up to the event, our small team was feeling the pressure. Not only was I trying to develop all of the visuals for the evening, but I was also trying to wrap up my own programming with local kiddos. And plan a movie premiere. And make sure that our newly acquired event planner had all of her ducks in a row. And make sure that all of our email campaigns went out in a timely manner. And edit videos to embed in the email campaigns.
And sleep. And eat. And just, in general, take care of myself. The day after the event, I went hiking.
A week later, everything was more or less back to normal. Our office was even better organized than before! You see, our team went into that season of chaos knowing that things would fall apart. This wasn’t our first rodeo.
More important than our anticipation of the chaos was our preparation for it. We had procedures in place for how to follow up with event attendees. We planned when and how to update our website. There was even a stack of thank-you cards ready to be stamped and sent.
But my favorite part of this was, and still is, our bookkeeping. (This will get interesting, I promise.)
You see, in the past fifteen months that I’ve been keeping up with our day-to-day books, I’ve developed a system. All of the receipts live in the same pocket of my wallet until they’ve been keyed into QuickBooks. The online systems run independently until I pull data and check off all of the boxes. I keep a running list of any questions and periodically work through them. So even though I practically abandoned the system for two weeks, everything was just waiting for me to step back in and pick up where we left off.
Why Bookkeeping Matters
When life gets chaotic, it’s easy to let little things go—flossing, putting dishes away, folding your clothes, eating healthy… reading your Bible? But if you have a system in place and you’ve developed strong habits, then these systems won’t fall apart. And they won’t drag you down when it feels like everything else is falling apart.
The professional preparation that went into our event was huge, but let’s talk about my personal preparation for a minute:
I picked out clothes for the week leading up to the event so I wouldn’t have to worry about laundry.
The fridge was stocked with prepped and portioned meals to sustain me through the week (and I had lots of granola bars.)
I made a HUGE batch of cold brew coffee so that I wouldn’t have to wait around for coffee to percolate when I most desperately needed it.
My natural routine included running and yoga, so those were nonnegotiable.
I was in a consistent habit of reading my Bible every morning (also nonnegotiable.)
Making coffee, cooking, reading my Bible—these are all normal parts of my life. But in the past, I’ve seen how chaos can get in the way. It’s easy to let little things slide when there are bigger things—like editing a video or coordinating vendors—on your mind.
You’ve probably heard something like this before. Maybe someone gave you the book Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens, so you’re well-versed in what it means to develop good habits. And those habits are all well and good. They’ll help you be effective in your academic and professional endeavors. But when finals are fast approaching, and you don’t have time to go grocery shopping, and the only clean shirt is your dad’s old flannel button-up that you wear when you go camping… will you remember to seek God?
A Biblical Perspective
You need a system to seek God. Now, there is a fine line here, and I need you to pay attention to it: You need a system to seek God; God will not fit into your system. Don’t even try. This is where it might make sense for me to give you a bulleted list of “How to Keep Your Focus On God.” But I’m not going to do that because I don’t want you to turn a list into a god.
Instead, I’m going to tell you to read this verse from Proverbs:
My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. (Proverbs 4:20-27)
That’s it. Let your eyes look directly forward to God. My friends, life will get chaotic. It’s bound to happen. But the system to seek God is very simple. If you are in the habit of meeting Him in prayer and consistently reading your Bible, then the chaos of life won’t drag you down, you’ll come out on the other side of the chaos knowing that He was before it, He was in it, and He will remain after it.
So start today. Pray and then pick up your Bible and read for five minutes. Do that again tomorrow. And the next day. And the next day.
The next time you find yourself overwhelmed by the pressures of life, it will be easier and more natural to keep your eyes focused on God.
Do you have a system of seeking God when life gets chaotic?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mary Elizabeth has been doing life in Nashville, TN for five and a half years. She currently work for a faith-based nonprofit as an after-school program coordinator... and wearer of many other hats. Outside of work, she is known for her baked goods (it's been suggested that she start a "Muffin Ministry") and her tendency to disappear into the woods at random intervals. You can find her on Instagram at @emmyelle.