Time

Posted: January 17, 2012 in Christian living, Life & Times
Tags: , , , ,

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV) 1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

Time is the one thing you can’t recapture. Ever missed a moment? Lost an opportunity? Ever look back when the kids are grown and think, “Man, it seems like only yesterday they were babies.”? There’s even a morbid site called “deathclock.com” where it will fictitiously count down the “time” you have remaining.

I don’t want to be one of those guys who looks back on my life in old age and regret how I spent my time. In fact, I read these weird stats:

In an average 83 year lifetime, you will spend…                          [from getmoredone.com]

23 years sleeping                                  2-5 years in the bathroom

19 years working                                  2 years in school

9 playing/recreation                          7 years traveling/in car

6 years eating                                        3 years being sick

1 year going to church  

If I was Aladdin, I’d wish for more TIME. Period. Wouldn’t it be great to have complete control of your calendar?  To be able hold back the clock to accomplish all you want in your day? week? month? year? life?  How many times have you thought, “There’s just not enough time in the day”?  I’m the Lead Pastor of a church with 3 athletic teenage daughters and a 5 year-old son, plus my wife works from home. Believe me, there’s not a week that goes by where we don’t wonder, “where’d the time go?”

Here are some time-management tips I’ve learned along the way. I hope these help you make the most of the time you’ve been given.

1. If YOU don’t prioritize your time, SOMEONE ELSE will do it for you.  It seems like if I’m not disciplined enough to schedule my day, “intruders” will creep in and dominate my time.  The URGENT will replace the IMPORTANT.  You’ve got to be disciplined enough to determine what comes “first” and schedule your events accordingly.  In our house, here’s our priority scale:

Matthew 6:33(NIV) “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

a. God – Nothing comes before my personal time with God. I make time 5 days a week to read the Bible & pray (currently, I’m reading through the Bible in a year).  I also plan my week around my Impact Group (Bible study with other families that meets in our home) and my Transformation Group (weekly Accountability group with other men; currently studying Hosea).  And of course, we attend church every weekend as a family. Even our kids know this comes first, so we plan our weekends accordingly and they schedule their time with friends around church events.  It’s amazing, but when God comes first, somehow everything else “fits”.  I challenge you to try it!

b. Family – If you’re married, your family is your next-highest priority.  Your SPOUSE should come first; THEN your kids.  My wife and I are very PROTECTIVE about OUR TIME together.  We take regular date nights and small trips together with just the two of us and we make it a point to talk together each day. We do our best to GUARD these times, even if it means putting our kids ON HOLD for a bit.  We do this to create a STRONG BOND in our marriage. The bottom line is: We didn’t marry the kids. We want to INVEST for our future.  We want to BUILD into something that we’ll have after the kids leave home.  We look forward to GROWING OLD together the rest of our lives.  I’ve seen too many “empty nest” divorces.  Too many times, the parents invest in the KIDS FIRST, only to realize that when they leave home, they don’t know how to connect with their spouse anymore.  The love is gone and the romance has faded. Don’t make that mistake.

With the kids, we try to take them out on “date nights” with mom and dad individually every month. We try to eat dinner together as a family 5 times/week. We take day trips periodically and take a family vacation once or twice a year. We intentionally “CREATE MEMORIES” with the kids that we hope will last a lifetime.

c. Personal – I try to ‘bake in’ regular “me” time for R & R. It’s so valuable, that I encourage this for my staff!  I want my identity to be found more in the stuff I do outside the office than what I do in the office.  My job does not define who I am.  I also try to FLIP THE SWITCH when I come home. (I’m not as good at this as I should be). When I’m AT WORK, I want to devote myself fully.  When I’m AT HOME, I want do devote myself fully. I have to learn to “turn off” my brain and really focus on my family when I walk in the door.

             d. Job (Church) – Christ gave his life for the church. People in ministry remind me of this all the time.  I love my job. I am totally stoked that I GET TO DO THIS for a living!  Nothing gives me more fulfillment than this.  I will always work hard. I will always care for people. I will always strive to IMPROVE my LEADERSHIP.  I do my best to schedule meetings, trips, and conferences that will help others, grow the church, and sharpen my leadership edge.  But I do my best to stay “in bounds” with my priority scale. I have a wife and kids who can help hold me to this and keep me accountable.

[note: If you’re a pastor, DO NOT make the mistake of moving your JOB of working at the church HIGHER on the priority scale. I’ve seen way too many marriages fail and godly men “fall” because of this. A GREAT BOOK on this subject is Andy Stanley’s “Choosing to Cheat”.]

 

2. Be intentional about scheduling times for “rest & recharging”.  The idea of the Sabbath was to completely shut down. To rest. To spend that time honoring God.  I think the practice of the Sabbath is lost on many Americans.

Exodus 20:8-11 (NIV) 8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Lack of rest can really “cost” you.  Notice these stats from the American Medical Association:

  • 80% of people are over-stressed on the job
  • 460 Million vacation days per year are turned back in and not used
  • Cost of ‘stress & overcommitment’ costsUSeconomy $300 billion each year.
  • That’s $7500 per employee annually!

I believe the person who makes time for R & R will be a better person. They will be happier & healthier at whatever they do.  Here are some things I try to do during in my R & R times:

Sleep:  Most of us are “sleep deprived”. We should get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep per day.  

Health & Fitness:  Running, exercise & healthy eating habits are vital.  Monitor your diet.  Take vitamins. Drinking 8-10 glasses of water per day will help your energy level, too.  I try to go to the gym 5 days/week.

Try a new hobby:  Soccer, hunting, shooting, and quad riding are some of my favorite activities.  Find something that fuels your passion and go do it.

Plan a hike, trip, or family outing:  Pick a destination to get out of the house and get your mind off of the day to day.

 

3.  Let your personal calendar vs. your professional calendar drive your life.

We do our best to schedule our family times 6 months in advance.  We usually start with the big things like vacations, or day-trips and go from there.  There are date nights for mom & dad, specific time with the kids, etc.  The farther planned our personal calendar is, the less chance our “work” calendar will interfere.

 

I hope some of these tips have given new priority to how you spend your time.  Let’s make the most of the time we have.  Each moment is precious. Each day is valuable.  Don’t waste it!

James 4:13-15 (NIV) 13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

What time is it?

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