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by Jim Hohnberger
This is an excerpt from Jim's newest book
"Come to the Quiet". This is a
Before moving to the mountains,
we lived on forty beautiful acres in Wisconsin, and behind our
large log home we had a bird feeder at the edge of the woods.
Like most bird feeders, it seemed to appeal to the squirrels as
much as the birds, and they visited it several times a day. I
enjoyed watching them almost as much as I did watching the
birds, and I noticed that each squirrel had his own personality
and held a different spot in the squirrel pecking order. I
watched with interest in the spring as the new crop of babies
joined the squirrels and found their place in squirrel society.
One year there was a little squirrel born who had a rough time
of it. The poor little guy tried to get to the feeder, but the
other squirrels would chase him away with murder in their eyes.
They wouldn't tolerate him within fifty yards of the feeder, and
the only reason I ever came up with was that through some
genetic fluke he was an albino squirrel. At last he gave up
trying to live in the community that rejected him, and I found
him living way back in the woods by himself.
It's sad, but human society, friendships, even families are not
all that different. It seems that for many people the most
serious offense you can commit is simply to be different from
everyone else. The world has developed standards of normal
behaviors that are based not on logic or reason but on simple
herd mentality. If everyone else does it, it must be right. One
of my friends in medicine tells his patients, when addressing
the cardiac risk factors in their blood work, "Yes, Mr. Johnson,
your levels are within normal limits . . . " and oh, how the
patient smiles until he continues " . . . normal, that is, in a
country where it is normal to die of Heart Disease."
That, my friends, is our problem. We live in a country where the
accepted and normal lifestyle, if followed will normally result
in death from lifestyle diseases. The average American is so
pressured and stressed that free time has become a luxury they
feel they can no longer afford. And we are not the only ones. As
I travel the globe, I find the same thing is increasingly true
everywhere. More and more demands on our time and our children's
time rob us of the rest and the peace, not only in the lives of
the adults but in whole families. To live at such a pace is
harmful physically, but even worse is the inevitable spiritual
death that comes from neglect. It is simply impossible to live
the way most of us are living and have either time or
inclination to seek after God and develop a relationship with
Him sufficient for salvation.
I know, for I tried that life and find God at the same time, and
let me assure you, if anyone could have done it, I would have
achieved it. I am a hard worker and am disciplined and
organized. Surely I would have a better chance than most, and
all I found was bitter failure! At last Sally and I decided
enough was enough. We would be albino squirrels, and we would
live the life God intended for us to live, regardless of public
Let me share what we did and what some others have done. I am
not dogmatic, nor do I want everyone to do things my way. My
intent is to share what has worked and allow you, the reader, to
adapt the principles I share to your own situation under the
guidance and leadership of God, not Jim Hohnberger. We are all
different individuals, and thankfully we have an individual God,
not a "one size fits all." He adapts His ideals and plans for
the individual, allowing us to become the very best we can be.
So how did we start?
I believe most of us take a twenty-four hour day and try to
decide what we can possibly eliminate from it to slow down and
simplify our lives. Unfortunately, this method doesn't work real
well for most of us because most everything we do each day seems
like a priority or we wouldn't waste our time on it. Sally and I
decided to schedule our days around what we want to achieve, and
then add the extras, and when the schedule was full, it was
full. We had to discard those items for which we had not time
We wrote down our priorities:
1. Developing a walk with God that was real, vibrant, and
effective and lasted all day.
While most of us would want this as our foremost goal, the time
demands will vary from person to person. . . . Regardless of how
much time you spend in devotions, if you are not getting
connected to God, the time is worthless. Connection is the key
that unlocks the secret of the Christian life.
2. Working toward a marriage that had real spark and love while
eliminating the hurtful patterns of behavior we had fallen into.
Relationships take time, and outside of your relationship with
God, no other relationship has as much potential to influence
your happiness and your salvation as your marriage does. Time
invested here pays tremendous dividends and should be
considered, in my humble opinion, more important than other
work. If you call me at noon, you will get my answering machine
because my girl and I are out in the swing visiting. Just the
simple act of letting the machine get the call tells your
partner they are more important than work.
3. Creating a family that really works, meaning a home where all
members are bound tightly by love; an orderly home; and a place
where the children and parents are learning self-control.
Closely related to this is the time spent as a family. Few
things send a stronger message to me about a family than to call
and be told, "Sorry, Jim, we will have to call you back. It's
family time!" Family time is not just recreation though; it is
taking the time to do the type of training that helps eliminate
the need for discipline.
4. A lifestyle that allows time to think and act intellectually
without the push, rush and hurry that mark so many poor
decisions. We all have exactly the same amount of time in a day,
and it is perhaps our most precious commodity. Like a
high-pressure salesman, the devil tries to arrange circumstances
so that the time available to contemplate the choices before us
is as short as possible. The effect is that even choices that
are seemingly small and insignificant can have major
consequences. . . . .
5. Income adequate to meet family needs. The notion of wresting
a living from the land is romantic, and oh, so very appealing
for those who want to get from the system, but it is also very
unlikely to come true. No matter how efficient the household,
there are still things one needs a cash income to obtain. We
must understand that the money in our pockets was traded to us
for our time. If we are trying to redeem time for other
purposes, then we must examine carefully just how much work is
needed. While work should not rule us, we should also provide
for ourselves, except under unusual circumstances. Christians
should not expect either the government or the church to support
them simply because they choose not to work. . . . .
6. Time for Social interaction with others. The human being came
from his Creator with social needs, and these need a place in
our schedules. The amount of interaction need not be large, but
there should some consistent contact with others. This not only
provides enjoyment, but it helps us stay intellectually
stimulated, not stale and closed minded.
You can see examples of how our schedule took shape in my book
Empowered Living. But many people have said, "OK, Hohnberger,
you lived this lifestyle under unusual circumstances, and we
already know you made it work for your family, but what about
us? We live in the real world. Does this work when it hits
reality face to face? What about busy professionals, working
moms, or single mothers?" It's a fair question, isn't it?
In Jim's new book - he finishes this chapter with details of
families and how they handled "Coming to the Quiet" for
themselves. Must reading!!!
"Come to the Quiet" click here!!
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