S05E043, Buffer Zones, Andy B 2 Minute Video
It’s easy to see all the gaps and fill them up. If it’s a dam, great. That same finger shoving effort may not be quite as helpful if it’s a colander you’re filling the holes in, while you’re trying to strain some cauliflower from the water it was just boiled in - for your dinner!
Context, as ever, matters!
We can treat our diaries, and our time, a little like this – we can fill every second available, and leave no spare capacity (or room for other people, or room for God).
I once chatted with a minister in a church. He was pretty new, and his immaturity was sadly all too easily on display as he talked about how important he was, and why his diary was so very full all the time. The bigger problem here was that he had been given some really solid advice, and had chosen to ignore it – he’d been advised to always leave a little space each day for issues that came up with his congregation. He happily told me why he was ignoring that advice; he told me it was great advice, and he might do that one day.
It wasn’t a surprise to see how much damage that did to the church and the end consequence was people leaving in their droves because they didn’t really get any chance to meet with him: his overly full diary precluded him from meeting the needs of the very people he was filling his diary in order to serve better, a little like the father who works all the hours he can for his family, while neglecting his family in the process – the initial reason for his extra hours.
Buffer zones protect us, sure. But, they also create opportunities - a little like saying no to one person in need, enabling you to have the opportunity to say yes to someone else. Filling our diaries, in one sense, can be simply our arrogance shining through. It is a bit like saying we can read the future and know what will be happening tomorrow or next week. Making plans is great. Not allowing those plans to change is not so good!
Perhaps this sounds a little extreme to you, but it really is rather true – we can block out our ability to hear what God may be saying to us: there’s nothing wrong with being busy. But there is something wrong with being so busy we have no time for other people who may need us.
So, be slow to fill your diaries, and always make sure you leave time for God to have the right to alter the course of your day.
Just a thought...
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[00:00:00] So another Andy B, 2 Minute Videos. And following on from yesterday when we looked at Pacing Yourself, I wanted to think about Buffer Zones.
[00:00:13] Now in the UK buffer zones are getting a bad name, because they're being used badly. We, the government wants to put Buffer Zones around abortion clinics so nobody can go and pray, which is utterly absurd and it's a complete dereliction of the idea of freedom of speech!
[00:00:27] You cannot stop someone from thinking. Prayer is done internally. You cannot ever legislate against someone standing somewhere and praying. It's utterly farcical. I'm not talking about those sorts of buffer zones, although, yes, I did just say what I just said.
[00:00:39] I was thinking about buffer zones in our calendars.
[00:00:42] I was thinking about how we have these things that actually protect us from being too busy.
[00:00:47] So, when I was looking at Pacing Yourself, I talked about the idea of a whiteboard and you write down the, the seven days of the week, and you're filling different things that you're gonna be doing during the week.
[00:00:57] If we're not careful, we end up filling every gap that we [00:01:00] see and there's no spare capacity, there's no Buffer Zone.
[00:01:05] When I was chatting with, with a Minister quite a long time ago he was really quite foolish. He was very immature. He was very new in his job and he said, Well, I know the best thing to do is to leave at least one hour free every day.
[00:01:16] Oh, great. You're doing that.
[00:01:17] No, no, I'm far too important and far too busy to do that. I'll do it one day.
[00:01:22] Now that's really immature. That's really foolish. If you've got good advice, you know, to be good, then, then you need to follow.
[00:01:29] I understand sort of what he was trying to say, which is I've got lots to do. But if we fill every gap, then we can never help people. And he had a string of people disappointed that they could never, ever get an appointment with him 'cos he was far too busy because he failed to, follow the advice he gave, he'd been given, which he knew he was good.
[00:01:49] Don't fill every second of every day of your week.
[00:01:51] Don't fill your calendars up so you are really busy for Jesus, but you've got no time to help someone, because you're in such a rush to help Jesus, [00:02:00] you're not helping people. And we can do that so easily, can't we?
[00:02:05] We need to leave Buffer Zones.
[00:02:06] We need to leave spaces and gaps.
[00:02:08] We need to leave possibilities of doing something else. Of allowing God the right to call us to help Him in different ways other than we had assumed. That's the important importance of buffer zones in your diaries.
[00:02:21] So don't fill all your seconds. Leave some gaps, and if nobody calls you for help, get on your knees and pray!
[00:02:31] Just a thought.
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Written by Andy B