My dear friends,

I recently was invited to write an article for the June issue in Events for Christians magazine answering the question, “What advice would you give to help people find quality time sharing Christ with family and friends during the busy work week?” This was my response:

You ask me for advice, but I would be the first to admit that finding quality time sharing Christ with my family and friends in my busy work week is just as difficult as another’s.  You might say it’s “my job” and therefore talking about these practices do just roll off my tongue, but they are as difficult for me to implement.  So my suggestions come from a similar struggle to bring my faith into my everyday life.

One tip is to make sure to eat at least one meal a week together as a family – all electronic devices and television turned off.  Jesus regularly gathered with folks around food and used the time to listen to the questions of others, to offer his thoughts, and respond to their needs.  I believe that these simple ways of sharing time are important to fit into my family life as well as extending into my time with co-workers and friends.  It builds stronger relationships, gives me a deeper appreciation of their unique abilities and gifts, and provides a glimpse into their needs and struggles.  Having quality time with another allows me to know how to respond: by praying for their concerns, by supporting their dreams, and by helping them get through the week.  A surprising result is that then they also can do the same for me!

As I scroll through Facebook, I have added a new practice that you might find useful as well.  I pause now and again to remind myself to add the joys and concerns of my friends and family into my prayers right then and there.  This is another way that I have given myself an opportunity to find a moment of quiet prayer in a busy day.  It is always a temptation to linger on the videos of kittens, meal preparation, or the latest political uproar – but if I can gently pull myself back to those individuals and situations I care about, then my prayer life can develop and my concern for those others can grow.

You may notice that this advice focuses on forming healthy relationships.  I find it so easy to get swept up in the demands of my daily work week that those I love, those I care deeply about are often pushed to the bottom of my to-do list.  But when I neglect them, I also neglect a significant part of myself.  My relationship with God demands that I love God, my neighbor, and myself.  I believe that as I do bring these connections into the core purpose of my day, the demands and troubles of my busy day realign into a more meaningful perspective.  God’s Spirit is now at work with me giving me more joy and energy to live my days with ample time to spare.

I share these few suggestions with you as the busy activities of summer take hold. When we think that our lives are too busy let me add a favorite blessing of mine for each one of you; “Life is short and we have little time to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us. So be swift to love! Make haste to be kind! And may almighty God bless and protect you today and always. Amen!

Your priest,

Paula+

Connect with me at pmillerphd@gmail.com or 313-443-7931