It’s November. Christmas ads are already upon us. How did that happen so fast?
November and December will soon be the stuff of memories, and if we’re not careful we’ll miss important moments. How can we use our time more purposefully during these celebratory months?
It gets my attention when I read a phrase several times from different sources in a short time. So, when I read “there’s no present like the time” in three different places in the space of a couple of days, I noticed.
The message I took from the triple play of that phrase was that…
…time is a present.
Every day is a tremendous gift.
Time is no less a gift in November, when we can hardly keep track of it, than it is in February, when we long to turn the calendar to spring.
We all have the same twenty-four hours in every day, but if you’re at all like me, we don’t live every day as if time is a precious gift.
There are number of options for how we spend our time. Some moments are best spent with other people for relational development, enjoyment, encouragement, comfort, or help. Other times are intended for work, or study, for the disciplined focus of our bodies and our minds so that we will learn and grow. Of course, there is always the stuff that just needs to get done: grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, cutting the grass or shoveling snow, and paying the bills. And don’t forget rest, because whether you believe it or not, we all need rest.
I realize that my time needs some re-structuring, so I think I’ll make the following adjustments.
I’ll start my day by asking God to make my schedule. That might sound a little weird or frightening, but it’s not. I’ll ask him to schedule my time, and then follow the plan. It’s amazing how infrequently I do that. I’m more inclined to make my own to-do list, ask God to bless it, and run with it.
Resist time wasters. I’m pretty sure that no one on their death-bed says, with regret, “Gee, I wish I had spent more time watching sitcoms or fooling around on Facebook.”
Set goals. Setting goals is a fairly obvious technique, but it’s surprisingly difficult to keep it forefront in my mind. I have goals, but the time I spend is not always in line with my stated goals. Loads of material has been written about this subject, but the simple fact is that I need discipline to make sure that I spend my time according to my goals.
What are your thoughts about spending your time well? Any ideas you want to share? I could use a few!
I love the idea of asking God to lead my schedule. It sounds simple, but is something I rarely do. I think a lot of problems would be solved that way.
For me, being intentional about how I spend my time is important. I even write prayer time and time with God into my schedule as it prompts me to make it a priority.
I agree, Ali, and I’m trying to be intentional about asking since I wrote this post. Hopefully it will last!
Interestingly enough, on our way to school this morning, the radio deejays were discussing time and how one spends time. Given the hypothetical situation of knowing that you have one week left to live, what would you do? The deejays took turns answering with both a serious one (which usually revolved around family/friends) and a silly one. (One woman wanted to pet a grizzly bear!) Like you, I doubt that anyone on their deathbed would say, “Gee, wish I’d played on Facebook more” (or fill in the blank with frivolous time-waster). Then again, if you had lots of FB friends who were dear to you but far away, you might take time to say individual goodbyes to each through FB.
I once heard a retired lady say, like Larry in the comment above, that she prayed through her schedule every day. But I remember thinking, “You’re retired! You have no one dependent upon you to do anything! Of course you can do that!” I always wrestle with that idea. There are certain things I HAVE to do at certain times (pick up kids, etc.) and I think I’m afraid that if God were in charge of my schedule, I’d never get the laundry done, bake that required cake for the school fundraiser, get my kid to practice on time, etc., at least not without a lot of stress on my part or inconvenience to other people. Control issue, maybe?
I don’t know, Laura, if it’s easier to manage time when you don’t have enough of it – your day is scheduled out for you – or when your day, like the retired person’s, has limitless possibilities. I imagine retired people (just guessing here) probably don’t always know what to do with their plentiful time.
I find that I get far more done when I am busy. Whether that’s God plan or mine is up for debate. I feel like God is certainly trustworthy with my schedule and would make sure I did what needed to be done. My problem is that I’m too used to making those decisions all by myself.
I ask the Lord to schedule my day every morning during prayer. Do I always like His scheduling priorities? Heavens no! His schedule disrupts my goals for the day.
You are an inspiration, Larry.
Thank you for this reminder as we head into what is often the busiest time of year. I love what you write about asking God to make your schedule. Seeking Him first. Maybe it’s as simple as beginning my planning with one prayer, one question, “What do You want me to do today/this week/this month to Your glory?” Like you, I usually figure out my plan, start my list-making, and then ask Him to walk with me through it. I am also learning to say “no” more often. Sadly, I realize that my busy-ness is often like a badge I wear to boost my self-image. So silly. I am a child of God. I want to find my worth and my rest in that gift.
Beth, I have found that the knowledge that our worth rests in the gift of being God’s child – no more and no less – is something that is rarely grasped. It’s one of those things that I know intellectually, but still struggle to buy with my whole heart. The world, and its busyness that we use as a sign of importance, is so very dominant when it comes to self worth. I’m only now getting a smidgen of the profound truth of that simple fact: I am worthy because I am a child of God. That’s it. Thanks!