This is going to be one of the hardest posts to write, because it’s about a struggle that I deal with on a daily basis…time management. So here goes…I’m constantly dreaming of what I would do if I didn’t have to go to work, then I ask myself why I have to dream at all. I mean, we all have the same amount of hours in a day. Why can’t I arrange my life in such a matter of discipline so as to accomplish what I’d like in spite of the 9-5? Why can’t I just make it happen?
Yet, I’m constantly running around chasing my tail. Case in point: I am writing this post in the wee hours of the morning because I spent the day recovering and catching up from a hectic, work-loaded week. Then the weekend, (with all its chores and projects), often spills into the next week. It’s a vicious cycle.
I really want to stop the insanity. The coming of this New Year has given me a chance to reflect and look ahead. In fact, every New Year brings with it a sense of hope and potential to do things differently.
What if I fill 2014 to the fullest, using each day focused on utilizing the time I have to its greatest potential? How would I do this? I mean, we all have responsibilities that demand our time and energy. Certainly the Bible would have something to say about the “everyday-ness” of our lives, because this “everyday-ness” takes up the bulk of our lives. I searched the scriptures on time- management, and although it never comes out and gives a top 10 list on how to be self-disciplined, it does give overriding principles about how we are to use our time.
Consider that our time is short. Moses prays:
“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
Knowing that our time is short, let’s consider that life is to be lived intentionally, with a focus. We can’t be hap-hazard, always trying to get our act together, or we’ll get nowhere.
Here are some questions that have got me thinking about my focus in life:
- What is the most important purpose of my life?
- What legacy will I leave behind?
- What am I all about
- What would I die for?
The Apostle Paul was clear about his:
But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)
Paul also writes:
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)
Too many activates and goals lead to burnout; therefore, we must understand which goals fall in line with the focus of our lives as Christians, that is, to live out lives in obedience to Christ.
Does this mean that all of our goals must be spiritual in nature? No, (I would love to develop my interest in cooking, have friends over more, enjoy the outdoors more, and invest more), but again, not to the detriment of the spiritual. It’s all about the greatest focus. I’m beginning to see that even the physical goals (such as weight loss and exercise) contribute to the spiritual. If I don’t get enough rest, for instance, I can’t even begin to have the energy to focus on Bible Study and prayer, on this blog, on serving and having the attitude I need to have. Also, by caring for the physical, I am making an investment that could add more years of productive ministry, not to mention that the body is a temple, where the Holy Spirit resides. (1 Corin. 6:19).
For instance, my goals for the next year are:
- To publish my Bible Study, “An Invitation to Forgive: A Study of the Book of Philemon”
- To publish at least 1-2 more studies, (perhaps on Hebrews 12:1-3 or James 3:3-11 )
- To begin my study of the Book of Jonah, completing at least the first 2 chapters.
- To continue with this blog, posting at least 3-4 times a month
- To develop a Bible-reading plan
- To read at least 7-10 books, including authors such as Arthur Pink, J.C. Ryle, David Platt, the Puritans
Yet, in order to be effective, I need to supplement those goals with a balance of diet, rest and exercise:
- To exercise 3 times a week
- To get at least 7 hours of sleep
- To replace bad food choices with healthy ones
You may have written similar goals. Now that we have a clear focus, let’s get to the hard part. What’s stopping us from reaching our goals? How do we reach the goals you and I have for the New Year?
It comes down to one word. The D-word, the word we dare not embark upon without the strength to persevere from above. Yes, I’m being dramatic, but it is true. We have to build discipline into our lives in order to implement this opportunity to live our lives to the fullest in 2014.
Let’s talk about that in the next post. It’s time for bed!