As always, when our Teacher speaks, He speaks from everywhere. It’s as if there’s a giant cosmic megaphone He uses to blast His message through the universe to our waiting ears. And He’s bought all the billboard real estate from all the advertising moguls, and populated them all with His message. You know the one? That one that seems tailor-made just for you?
As I have been pondering the state of my current life: broke, busy, burnt-out and blustery, I’ve been trying to see how it can be my fault. This has been, for the most part, an honest search. What am I doing wrong in the physical and/or spiritual realms that would lead to this impasse? Is it a trial designed to strengthen me? A punishment for unrecognised or unconfessed sin? The natural result of foolish decisions? Is this simply what adult life is like? And if so, why don’t “they” warn you before you get here?
After a good deal of contemplation, I think it may be a combination of all of the above, plus an heretofore uncredited player: Poor Time Management. Procrastination, my folks called it.
As we work towards our long term goal of full time ministry, it is reasonable that our faith should be tried and proved. (James 1:12 – “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”).
Some of our previous decisions and actions have been foolish and even sinful, depending on your interpretation of the book of Proverbs. Certainly, without decisive corrective action, no improvement could be hoped for, and we surely can’t keep making those mistakes and hope for blessings. (Prov. 9:8b – “Rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee“).
Whatever we may have been led to believe about adulthood, no one actually said it would be any less than hard work, punctuated by the blissful joys faith, family and friends provide.
But the real player on tonight’s stage, and the subject of this week’s lesson, is time management. I realise that this may come as a shock to many of you (ahem) but I am easily distracted and a pretty poor manager of my time. Between news, newsletters, emails, recipes, great ideas and hilarious cats, not to mention adorable children and entertaining siblings and staff, most of my day is accounted for. I try to spend time with both Papa Bear and the Teacher Himself each day, and of course I need to maintain my household and feed my family. And by that time it’s after 10PM and I’m composing blog posts instead of working – or sleeping! (Prov. 6:6-11).
I am trying to be more orderly, more disciplined. I am trying to live a healthier life that includes more sleep, more exercise, more quality time with my children outside of school. I am trying to keep my promises to my clients, take on less work, and leave the paying of bills to my Provider. But rather than achieve any of these noble goals, I am like the apostle Paul (in no way but this): “the things I want to do, I don’t do. Instead, I find myself doing the things I don’t want to do and shouldn’t do!”. (Prov. 7:19 – “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.”).
So anyway, between my quiet time, our evening devotions our daily school Bible studies, Church messages, personal conviction, and what I’ve been reading incidentally online and off, the message for this week is so very clear: make better use of your time! I was reminded of this once again this week when I stumbled across the BetweenFearandLove blog.
“There are things we have to do in life, things we need to do in life, and things we want to do with our lives. When the things we want to do take on the role of things we have to do and need to do we make them a priority. If we don’t make the things we want in life a priority, then we will never look back and see them done.”
This is so true. I sometimes think, “If only I had started XX or YY six months ago, this would be done by now!” If only I would start it when I think that thought! As Solomon says in the book of Proverbs,
Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: so shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.
Prov. 6:10 – 11
It’s time for me to get serious about managing my time, and I’d appreciate all the prayers I can get!