Shirin McArthur

prayerful pondering

Putting God’s Work First

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Last week I talked about a major spiritual shift that is occurring in my life. After many months of feeling that my ministry was lying fallow and ideas were scarce (during which time I survived a major move and completed lots of editing work, so it wasn’t as if I was bored!), spring has arrived in my spiritual life and new ideas are sprouting.

IMG_1449 cropBut moving into this season of inspiration doesn’t mean that my “work” is over. Just as with a garden, I must tend these inspirations, nurture them, so that they thrive, grow, manifest and bear fruit. One of the ways I am doing that is with my Lenten commitment to write poetry six days a week (since Sundays are not part of Lent, I’m giving myself that day of rest each week). Giving time and space to inspiration in my life is key to nurturing what is coming forth—especially since my Lenten weeks will also be busy, with lots of editing work, a week-long family visit, and some long-awaited vacation time.

Another inspiration that came to me on Ash Wednesday morning was the return to an old habit of putting spiritual work first in my daily routine. During the fallow months (Is this an excuse? Perhaps….), I would arrive at my computer in the morning and dive right into my editing work for the day. I’d take a break for contemplative prayer later in the day (a chance to sit in the sun and give my body a break), but otherwise, to keep up with demand (I told myself), I would work straight through until dinner time (except for meetings and errands and such).

But I know from experience that the most fruitful time of day for me is morning. It is when I do my best work—and while giving that best time to my clients is good for my perfectionistic tendencies (and editors must, by nature, be detail-oriented perfectionists!), it’s not necessarily good for my spiritual life. So a part of my commitment for Lent (and beyond, I hope) is to put God’s work first each day, so that I am taking best possible advantage of this season of inspiration.

Another way that I am putting God first is by inviting some of you along in this season of inspiration. One of the things I’ve learned in my work with SCORE is the importance of gathering a small group of “customers” who become, in essence, beta-testers for early versions of my product. As readers of my blog, you are already my “customers.” If any of you would be interested in being part of a group that receives, participates in, and honestly responds to, early versions of the online retreat work I mentioned last week, please let me know. I expect it will be a few months before anything reaches that stage, but part of asking others to accompany me on this journey is to create a structure for accountability, to keep me moving forward with what, at moments, feels like a rather daunting task!

And for those who do not feel called to be beta-testers, you are welcome to pray that this work will be fruitful, giving glory to God and grace to everyone who will be fed by it. Thank you.

When in your own lives have you recognized a need to put God first? How did you do that? What were the spiritual fruits of that season?

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5 thoughts on “Putting God’s Work First

  1. Shirin, I’d be honored to help you with your work. I’m something of a detail oriented perfectionist too. I can catch those pesky mistakes and give you input too. Just let me know. Love you and miss you terribly!! 😉😘🌵

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  2. Hi Shirin, your blog continues to challenge me to “keep” Lent. Thank you! I wondered if you could share a good retreat center in AZ where I might go for a week? A place that is reasonably priced or a work exchange— since I am not working at the moment…Anita

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    • I’m so glad that my blog is blessing you, Anita. The retreat center I know best is Desert House of Prayer here in the Tucson area; I think it’s reasonably priced…I don’t know if they do a work exchange. They might also be able to recommend others if it isn’t the right fit. Let me know if you come and want to connect! Blessings on your Lent!

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