Ed. note: another school year is about to start and 2011 is almost three-quarters gone. It's easy to panic about all the things we have to do and all that is ahead in the many church demands of the fall. Gayle's wonderful article will give you the encouragement you need to make the most of it.
Fall and the start of a new school year is a good time both to reflect and to project—a time to look back and consider what you’ve experienced and learned, a time to look ahead to where you will go next. One sure sign of personal progress is the realization that you not only know smart things, but that you do those smart things. You will know, feel, when it happens. The difference is beyond measure.
• Put first things first. Sometimes we stay so busy doing the good that we neglect the best. Pray for wisdom to know what is truly important to you. Then give your time, energy, and love to those things first. Unless you make a deliberate effort to set priorities and to stick with them, your days will be filled with other people’s priorities and not your own.
• Respect time.
Understand that time is the most precious resource you have; without it you have nothing. Spend your hours and your minutes wisely. Plan your days rather than just letting them happen.
• Stay calm.
Know what matters—and be passionate about those things. Know what doesn’t matter—and don’t let those things get you down. You know you are becoming more mature when you control your emotions instead of allowing them to control you.
• Take care of yourself.
Your body is a gift from God; being as fit as you can be is a testimony in itself. Eat wisely, exercise, get sufficient rest, schedule regular checkups. Don’t allow lesser activities to keep you from a daily walk. Commit to some healthy extras: swimming, biking, whatever you like. Few of us do all we could or should. But we can!
• Nourish your mind.
God’s world is a wondrous place. Learn something new every single day. Today, look at a flower and be amazed. Tonight, go outside and gaze at the stars. Tomorrow, visit the library and check out books on a subject you know nothing about. Or use the Internet to travel a new part of the world. Talk with someone—and not on a cell phone. Think new thoughts. Grow wise.
Now you know smart things. And you can do them!