Rethinking how we think about our time

Ever wonder when you’re going to find time for, well anything? What if an abundance of provision fell from the sky each day like manna? Would we grab it and save it?

What if we were guaranteed the same amount every day — an amount we could bank on?

We don’t have to say what if, because it’s already happening. Every day. Like clockwork.

It’s called time.

Time is one of our greatest provisions and I don’t know about you, but I know I take it for granted. We get twenty-four hours each day and each day those twenty-four hours are replenished. That is mind-blowing.

While we don’t know how much time we have left, we can all be more intentional with the time we have now.

We can all learn to be intentional time-keepers. 

Let’s look at ways we’ve used our time and ways we can rethink about the time we use…

No-Show Time

I’ve been guilty of it too, so no finger-pointing from this girl.

We know how it goes… 

TheI’ll try to make it, results in, I’m sorry I couldn’t make it. We have good intentions initially, but when go-time comes around are we showing? Are we going?

Try means to make an effort to do something. What if someone asked us, “Well, how hard did you try?” Oh snap.

What if we changed the way we thought about our time? What if we shared more of it instead of keeping it to ourselves?

Before you hit me over the head with your bag of me-time, I need to make clear, protecting our time for good reasons is essential. Maintaining our sanity in the midst of insane schedules is truly an art but totally doable.

Prioritizing time for God, family & friends, reading the Word, prayer— all good. We need refreshment for our souls and nurturing for our faith. We can even take time for ourselves without feeling guilty, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

There’s a difference between taking time for ourselves and being selfish with our time.

I’m not implying we have to say yes to everything, but let’s be sure our no is for the right reasons.

Confession Time 

There have been times I’ve said no for selfish reasons. You, too?

I know there have been times when I should have said yes — times when I was meant to be somewhere for someone, but I wasn’t.

Couldn’t it just all balance out?

Couldn’t we just counter all the times we didn’t show with all the times we did? Something tells me it doesn’t work that way.

Maybe we didn’t show because we were too tired. Maybe we were too tired because we were doing more than we were supposed to be doing.

Overstepping Our Yes Boundaries

Just like we might say no for the wrong reasons, we need to be saying yes for the right reasons. If the yes isn’t meant for us we could be unintentionally robbing it.

How?

We can easily become over-zealous and step on the toes of someone else’s calling.

I know how hard it is; I’ve been there, too. A need arises and nobody is jumping up to step up. We give it like, I don’t know, 10 seconds before saying, “OK, I’ll do it.” We feel compelled to take ownership of the situation.

 We allow the urgency of the need to become an urgency within us. We want to fix it, take care of it, make sure it gets done.

Does this sound like you? Don’t feel alone. It sounded like me too, until I learned a wonderful concept I’d like to share with you.

Remember that phrase silence is golden? I’ve learned how to stop robbing the gold. There is a term known as the cushion of silence. The cushion of silence is that time of silence between a need being expressed and a response to that need.

Silence makes us uncomfortable, but it’s okay to allow a time of silence so that the right person can respond. When we speak before they do, they miss out and we’ve just added another to-do to our list. Unless of course, we’re the right person.

I’d like to share an important and freeing reality:

We can’t always be the right person. It’s not possible.

We mean well but our good intentions can do more harm than good. We have not been allotted time to do what we were meant to do, plus what someone else was meant to do. This probably happens more than it should and it could be why we never seem to have enough time.

Every Day We Face the Dilemma of Saying Yes or No

The yes or no dilemma can make us dizzy, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The key is prayer and seeking God’s will in all things. We can start the day by asking God to show us what He is calling us to do on that particular day. We can ask for our eyes be opened to divine appointments — our divine appointments.

It’s honorable to answer the call to serve, but we need to make sure it’s our call, because we are also called to be good stewards of our time.

God has even provided confirmation in His Word that we are not called to do it all. I’m sure He did this since He knows us so well.

Take this verse for example:

I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. 1 Corinthians 3:6 NLT

It was God’s design for Paul to plant and Apollos to water in that particular season. I’m sure Paul would have been more than willing to water where water was needed, but he wasn’t called to do the watering at that time — Apollos was. We can all learn from this. It’s also a great reminder that God handles the transformation and growth.

Speaking for myself, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to do God’s job when I needed to be doing something else. How about you?

Spending Our Time with Eternity in Mind

What comes to mind when you hear the term timeshare? Most of us, including Google, associate the term with telemarketers selling vacation weeks.

I remember the time (thirty-one years ago to be exact) we actually bought a timeshare. Brian and I both agreed we were going to listen to the presentation, grab our free toaster or whatever, and run. Well about 5 hours of timeshare-labor later, we were the proud owners of a bouncing timeshare week. The clincher was that “free” (those are air-quotes) trip to Acapulco. Of course, it included another timeshare presentation but the offer sealed the deal for us.

We bought in February and planned the trip for our anniversary in August. What we hadn’t planned on was when our timeshare extravaganza week finally rolled around, I was 6-months pregnant. Not the best time to travel to a place where you can’t drink the water. We were careful to drink only bottled water and those beverages with holy ice. Evidently the ice with the holes were safe. Then I drank that juice on our last morning there before our flight home. I’ll spare you the details.

After a few great vacations, we wound up selling our week but we really did enjoy it while we had it. Timeshare is a great concept when you think about it. Perhaps we need to claim that term for the body of Christ. Just a little time sharing from each of us can change lives.

Photo by Vasile Tiplea on Unsplash

Snippets of time add up to a lifetime, yet chunks of our time are being squandered when they could be sacred.

We have empty pockets of time we could be filling with memories.

Let’s rethink how we think about time. Even just an hour of our time shared could impact someone else’s life for eternity, or at least for an hour.

When we spend our time doing what we are supposed to be doing, we will have time to enjoy what we are meant to enjoy.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:15–17 ESV

It would be fantastic if we could buy more time like minutes in a cellphone plan, but we can’t. What we can do is save time from slipping through our fingers and grab hold of as many minutes as we can.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Call to Action

When our goal is making wise food choices, we record what we eat. When our goal is making wise financial decisions, we record what we spend. What if we recorded what we did each hour of the day? For just one day? What would we discover about how we are spending our time?

How can we be more intentional with our time today?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Visit Doris at DorisSwift.com.

Doris Swift is the author of Goodbye, Regret: Forgiving Yourself of Past Mistakes. She loves to write, teach, and encourage. She reaches out to a community of women through her blog Walking Deeper at DorisSwift.com, at speaking events, and on her Walking Deeper Facebook page. As a leader in women’s ministry, her passion is to share God’s truth and disciple women to grow in faith as they follow Jesus. In ministry for over thirty years, she has been gifted to teach, speak, mentor, and counsel. It’s her joy to see women of all ages bloom in their purpose and calling. She’s written for various sites and publications such as Purposeful Faith, (in)courage, and Just Between Us magazine. Doris resides in Florida with her husband Brian. She enjoys traveling to historic cities, spending time with family, and loves being Gammy to her beyond adorable grand-kids. You’ll find her on the soccer field, rain or shine.
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Doris Swift is the author of Goodbye, Regret: Forgiving Yourself of Past Mistakes. She loves to write, teach, and encourage. She reaches out to a community of women through her blog Walking Deeper at DorisSwift.com, at speaking events, and on her Walking Deeper Facebook page. As a leader in women’s ministry, her passion is to share God’s truth and disciple women to grow in faith as they follow Jesus. In ministry for over thirty years, she has been gifted to teach, speak, mentor, and counsel. It’s her joy to see women of all ages bloom in their purpose and calling. She’s written for various sites and publications such as Purposeful Faith, (in)courage, and Just Between Us magazine. Doris resides in Florida with her husband Brian. She enjoys traveling to historic cities, spending time with family, and loves being Gammy to her beyond adorable grand-kids. You’ll find her on the soccer field, rain or shine.

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