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The Gift of Deadlines…

Written by: shannon  |  Found in: Growing in the Lord  |  5 Comments »
My friend Angie & me running toward the mountain!


I have always been a girl in need of deadlines.  If someone asks me to do something for them – an interview, a song, a favor, or a decision – I almost always ask them, “When do you absolutely need this? What timing is ideal for you?”  I ask that as much out of respect for them as I do a point of accountability for me.  I need to have a deadline so that I can prioritize appropriately.  You see,  I am not very driven in and of myself, like some are, and I need that extra kick in the hind end, so to speak.

In fact, when I work on a new music project, I have to have a date looming out in front of me in order to stay accountable to the process.  And while some would think that would stifle creativity (which an unrealistic deadline can do), it helps me rise to the occasion and makes writing, creating and exploring ideas trump other “lesser” tasks that can wait several weeks or months, or at least til the weekend.  When I am conscious of this ultimate goal of completing a new project, I am able to make adjustments in the months leading up to that goal in order to make that goal attainable.

My friend Linda and I were talking the other day about the goal of getting into shape.  (see our pic above, as we head out on a walk!) We laugh because we are very similar in this area.  We are both very healthy eaters, but we struggle with consistency in exercise and with wanting to eat too much sugar!  Because of our writing and travel schedules, which ebb and flow dramatically throughout the year, we get on the exercise bandwagon, then off the exercise bandwagon, then back on again…you get the picture.  And because we are both involved in public ministry, we have to have various photos and videos taken of us from time to time (oh, joy).  We joked that our motivation to kick it into high gear exercise-wise is a photo shoot!  We are on the “photo shoot” exercise plan!  :)  Sad to say, but true.    The deadline helps!

So what does this have to do with our lives as a whole?  Well, I’m glad you asked!

Whether or not we are consciously thinking about it or not, we are all living with a deadline.  To put it very bluntly, the deadline is death to the life we know here on earth.  We are plodding along on this planet, along with other souls, every one of us with this same unavoidable deadline. (though we do not know the exact moment it will occur)  Following my husband’s accident in 2009, I became more keenly aware of this deadline than ever before.  Oh, I always knew it was there, of course, but to come so close made me re-think many aspects of my life.   Suddenly, “loving” became so much more glaringly important than “doing.”  Funny how that same priority was spoken by Jesus Himself in Matthew 22.   LOVE.

So, what are your deadlines?  Does the ultimate deadline of the end of your life make you think and act differently today?  Does it make you love more and stay busy a little less?  Does it motivate you to pick up the phone and reconcile with someone you have yet to forgive?  Does the deadline of your children leaving the nest make you (and me) nag less and play, pray and listen more?    Does it make you sign up for that class you’ve been meaning to take for years or take that missions trip with your church?   Perhaps, it motivates you to make a batch of cookies and walk over to the neighbor’s house – the one you’ve only waved at from across the street for years.  Maybe it makes you want to simply sit at His feet more often, enjoying His presence and deepening your knowledge of His word.

I’m not saying the answers are easy or even clear, and for each of us it will be different.  And, certainly, these deadlines should not cause us fear, guilt or dread. (especially as Christ-followers, for, truly, the ultimate deadline is a new beginning!)  We should be aware of them, however, for if we aim at nothing, we will hit nothing.   We must “run toward the mark” as Paul so eloquently wrote in Philippians 4.  The fact is, God Himself sees our life on planet Earth as important enough to get us word that loving Him and loving others is what it’s really all about.  Even more, He felt our time here was SO important that He sent His beloved Son & Holy Spirit to point us in the right direction and give us the strength to run the race with vigor.  What love!

I can’t wait to lay my eyes on the One who is called Faithful and True, see Him ride triumphantly on a white horse and say my name!   Hallelujah!  But until then, I want to love Him fervently and love those He’s entrusted to me as deeply as I am able, aware of the deadlines that make this life the treasure and gift that it is.

How about you?  Are you a deadline person?  How has your life experience taught you what is most important, in light of the ultimate deadline?  I’d love to hear from you…



pics Shannon