In Crunch Time: A Spirituality

Sometimes it just all piles up–the deadlines, the endings, the “one-thing-necessary,” the unexpected phone call, the drop-in visitor, the expiring appliance! And how does one keep gathering one’s self under the eye of the Holy when everything seems intent on resisting any attempt at collecting, amassing or grouping? This week I am trying to practice the basic minimum requirements for keeping my heart and soul connected to the Mystery while the pieces of my life careen around me.

  • do one thing at a time: “for every thing there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” (Eccl 3:1). All I need to do is to pay attention to what time it is to do which thing.
  • be thankful for everything that comes my way, even the things that seem like detours and interruptions; “In everything give thanks,”says Philippians. Really? Yet, I know it directs my mind and heart to the things most necessary.
  • ask for Holy Help when strength is flagging and wisdom feels elusive; one of Ann Lamott’s essential prayers, “Help me! Help me! Help me!” is very useful here.
  • remember I am not alone; I am accompanied, gentled, energized, directed by the Spirit that lives in me. Good company for the road no matter how circuitous!
  • love the people I  am with, more than the list of things I am trying to accomplish; Love is the first principle undergirding and overarching all the rest.
  • laughter and tears are great accessories to busyness; welcome each of them and wear them when appropriate.
  • the process is more important than the product; will the people with whom and for whom I labor be blessed and empowered as I work with them?
  • Lady Julian knew the ultimate truth: All will be well, all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.

May the God who can safely pilot me through waters and fires also direct me through the Crunch! I am counting on it!




About Elizabeth Nordquist

Elizabeth Nordquist is a Presbyterian pastor, teacher, and spiritual director who writes on women's issues, spirituality and Scripture, and what is happening in the world--hers, her neighborhood, the Church and the world. Each day she looks for ways in which the Spirit is moving in and around her.

  • Erin


    This is so appreciated in this moment when deadlines (they call them that for a reason!) are pressing on me. Seems like the gentle ease of Christmastide was so long ago and we are back to the daily “grind”. Crunch time is when you know whether the disciplines and practices you worked on in the non-crunch time are firmly in place. Focus on the important rather than responding to the tyranny of the urgent.

    Love the ones you are with rather than the task. Yes!

  • Beth Freidline

    I seem to shorten the “Help me” to just “Help!” Occasionally when dismayed by Fb news posts, I have clicked on “Help” instead of “Logout”. So nice of them to provide a reminder of when and who to ask for our help — not them; my help comes from the Lord.
    And I think of my frequent reprioritizing as excellent exercise in flexibility and helping to keep my brain fit.

  • Penny Green

    In line with these suggestions – I have a note on my monitor reminding me that “people are more important than projects”.

  • Patricia Estrada

    Ah — What a beautiful checklist you provide as an antidote to the ever-lengthening “to do” list we all possess. Thank you and wishes for blessings in your new year.

  • Mary Lou Busch

    Thank you Elizabeth. I have finally learned that I must slow down. I must walk with the Spirit or I am going to founder. I have been using the “Helpme! Helpme!”
    and the “All is wel!” You taught me those!

  • Adapter and Charger

    Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic blog.Really thank you! Cool.

  • Bob Parker

    Thank you for reminding me of the value of why I am doing what it is that I am doing. You are a blessing.

  • Karen

    Thank you! I lead a small group at my church; we are currently reading Brian McLaren’s book: Naked Spirituality. This week the chapter is HELP. Your comments and wisdom are very helpful; and they compliment the text…I plan to share them tomorrow. And… I personally am currently in one of those spots where all I can seem to do is ask for help…. thanks for the reminder that peace will come.