Shownotes: 3 Powerful Reasons Why You Need a Structure Today
Who cares about structure? If we were to ask a highly organized person, they will probably tell us that structure is essential. If we ask someone who finds aspects of being organized stifling, they’ll probably say something else.
Structure. Stifling to some; liberating to others. And I daresay, necessary to all.
There are many great ideas and plans that have died for the lack of a structure in which to execute them. You see, for a great idea or plan to get off the ground, a structure is needed. Here is an example.
You want to spend more time with God in prayer. It’s a wonderful idea. What’s your plan? Okay. It may be early morning or late night or during the day or several times. Well. What’s your structure like? How is your day organized?
As we listen to our guests, we realize they have reflected the importance of structure, albeit in different ways, as they talked about how they ordered their life and the place of God time in that order.
Moreover, as I interact with people, I see many good intentions, especially when it comes to living from God’s center. However, there is a key missing ingredient. So, we’ll address it specifically in this episode.
With that said, here are 3 powerful reasons why we need a structure, that missing ingredient in some of our lives.
Powerful reason Why You Need Structure #1
Parameters. Ministry can become amorphous. Life itself can, as a matter of fact. Some things are clearly defined. It is easy to move from thing to thing, from need to need, from activity to activity until you have this immense blob that you call your life. It has no clearly defined anything. It has no structure. Yet, you tell yourself that all is well. You’re doing fine. You’re meeting the needs of the people.
When do you pray? When there is time. When is there time? It depends. When was the last time you had a solid one-on-one with God that left you refreshed?
What structure does in this case is define the boundaries of your ministry, of your events, of your days. You are able to see when things are going outside of those boundaries. You can then make a prayerful decision as to whether or not you allow the overflow and how much of it you allow.
Because, having boundaries is not in and of itself stifling. It is in fact liberating. A blob is not liberating. The structure allows us to better see possibilities without pushing out or pushing aside other aspects of life and ministry. We clearly see how we are operating and where. This gives us space, bringing us to
Powerful reason Why You Need Structure Today #2 Space
When things are running all over each other because of a lack of structure, we end up in a very cramped place. After a while, we inhabit a really tiny place and everything else is out of our control. Things are happening to us and they are happening faster and faster. There is no space for planning. There is no space for breathing even.
Structure allows us to know where things are. To plan in the down times. To know which slots cannot be touched. What goes where. What we may be able to shift or shelve for later. Structure allows us to breathe.
It is not by accident that some of the people who are most effective at what they do are highly organized. They have learned to tend the margins of their life and to know where to put the spaces.
You see, when we know where the spaces are, we maximize the places that are full for we know what must be accomplished before we hit the spaces, the time outs, the refreshing time, the devotional time, the God time, the centered time. These in turn refresh and reinvigorate us to back to the full places with renewed inspiration, vigor, and creativity. These diminish when we lake when we are out of space.
Here is a question. If you are in the situation where you are desiring more time with God, where is the space to make it happen?
Powerful reason Why You Need Structure #3 Holding things up
Structure will help to keep things from collapsing in our ministry and life. Who likes things falling apart around them? Who likes things not going according to plan in a disastrous way. It is true that there are times when in spite of all our heroic efforts, our plans and structures, things go awry. Okay. But, I’m sure you will agree with me that a structure in place helps us to recover faster. I know that I have found that to be true. We have bandwidth left over, thus we can pivot and be resourceful. When we’re flying by the seat of our pants, not so much.
Now, we can “Let’s fool myself thing” and say, “well, you know, all things work together for good.” Or, we can look at ourselves after and say, “That wasn’t too bad, was it?” Ah-hah. Hmm hm. Really? We should probably be on our knees and faces thanking God we didn’t have a disaster and not use it as an excuse to go on with a disordered mess, thinking structure just doesn’t work for me, or someday . . . Someday I’ll get it.
In truth, structure allows the various aspects of our lives and ministries room to breathe, as it allows us room to breathe. We fit things together in meaningful ways. We put things in their right place. We build a network that is strong. We build a day that has its requisite parts doing what they should be doing when they should be doing it. We prioritize and put those in our best spots.
You see as we think of structure holding things together, we are also talking about the stewardship of our time. How our time holds together and holds the other aspects of our life and ministries together, especially the aspects that feed us—physically, mentally, and spiritually. IN passing, a lack of structure leads to poor eating habits. Meals happen and are not planned, thus bad nutrition happens and then sickness. Take that tip as a love gift.
Okay. Let’s take a quick look at:
3 things that keep us from having structure:
- A false sense of what it means to be an available servant.
- The illusion that a structure will make us less available to the Holy Spirit.
- A lack of discipline.
I’m sure you can think of others things that prevent us from having a structure. This is not exhaustive. Here is the thing. No one is going to do it for us. No one is going to guard our lives for us. No one is going to guard our time for us. At the end of the day if you are disorganized and resist structure, it will show and it will take its toll of you and everyone else around us.
When we have structure and/or as we develop structure in our lives, let us constantly ask ourselves these questions:
- Do we have structure in our lives simply to have structure in our lives?
- Do we have it because it comes easily and so that’s what we do?
- Or, do we have it so that Christ would increase in us and we would be better positioned to do God’s will and so bring glory to God?
Here is why this matters:
Structure simply to have structure can be an idol, as good a thing as it is. It can become a source of pride.
Additionally, when structure comes easily to us, we run the risk of taking it for granted. Of applying it without godly purpose.
However, when we desire that our structure would allow Christ to increase in us and be used to bring glory to God, we will find even greater freedom as we prioritize it our quest to live from God’s center. We will be attentive to the Spirit even as we move within it. We will be flexible and responsive to the needs of others.
Here is the key. To have healthy parameters in our lives and ministry, to operate with adequate space, to have our lives hold up and hold together, we need structure. This is the type of structure that starts with God and is for God.
Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it. Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable one. So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the air; but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).
- Take a good look at your schedule. What does it say about your priorities? How well do you keep it and keep up with it?
- Make a list of your priorities, starting with the ones that are most critical to living from God’s center. Be sure that they are in the key spots, then let the rest of your schedule flow around them.
Photo courtesy of 1A-Photoshop / Pixabay.com
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Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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