Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Making More Time 6

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 9:06 AM 0 comments
Around this time of year (and most, really), many of us need more time. And this tip in particular. In the middle of everything going on, all the responsibilities we have, and running around, we must remember to Include The Fun Stuff. These are the things that help us to maintain our relationships, sanity, and health.

Jesus said: "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." (John 10:10) Life is often not easy. There is stress, hurt, and lots of work involved. One of the ways we live life abundantly (the main way is to completely rely on, trust in, and obey God) is to take time to enjoy the time we have.

God never calls us to simply be busy for busyness' sake. He calls us to be fruitful for His kingdom. Our busyness can inhibit our discipleship - growing in our relationship with God and fostering relationships with other. Whatever that may be, we should seriously consider letting it go. And make room for life to be enjoyed.

Everything, however, doesn't have to be perfect for us to enjoy life. God tells us to take captive every thought. That means we can have right, true, pure, and good thoughts regardless of what's going on. And having a positive attitude helps us to enjoy life. Even chores can become fun when we have the right attitude. Turn up the music. Make it a game. Leave the dishes once in a while and go play with the kids. They'll remember that more anyhow.

And remember: balance, balance, balance! If you always leave the chores for fun, life will become chaotic and dirty. But if you always leave fun for chores, life will be depressed and grumpy. And as you utilize all the tips for making more time, you'll naturally be more balanced.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Making More Time Part 5

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 2:15 PM 0 comments
Did I mention organization? Oh, yeah, I did. Well, it's that important in making more time, so we're going to talk about it again. Taking the Time to Organize is our next step in making more time in our busy, over-scheduled lives.

In organization, it's true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The easier things are to find, the quicker you'll find them. Have you ever chased an item or two down, wasting precious time when you're trying to head out the door? Or marking things off your to-do list, only to spend half an hour searching for some essential piece of the puzzle? I think we've all been there.

On a large scale, imagine the library without organization. You have one particular book in mind, and you wonder around the library searching for the title among several thousand books thrown on the shelf in order that they came in, instead of by category or alphabetized. Think that would take a little more time than getting the call number or knowing where to look by the author?

On a smaller scale, the same is true for how we run our homes. However, you don't have to be an organizational master! Start small (where you put your keys, shoes, mail.) Recruit help to get started. If organization isn't your strength, surely someone in your life is good at it. And most likely, they'd be more than willing to pitch in and help out. My mother does several times a year - whether it is toys or clothes, in a house of four kids I often need help!

Set clear goals. Know what needs to be done when. Then they're easier to reach. What areas of home-management do you need the most help with organization? What tasks do you do on a regular basis that would run smoother if you had a more consistent routine?

As helps, lists, calendars, and day planners are available in abundance (or make your own!). These give concreteness to what needs to be down and helps reduce conflicts. Our brains are busy and often overloaded with extraneous data. Writing things down and being able to see what needs to be done is very helpful. And, when the calendar gets to full, it's a clue that it's time to return to steps two and four.

Don't worry if you're not a list/calendar person, though. These are simply tools! If it's not working for you (and make sure it doesn't become that you're working for it), then it's no longer a tool, but a burden. If that happens, reevaluate again and figure out what works for you.

We all have the same 24 hours a day, we simply have to balance our responsibilities and desires with how we use those hours. Organization will go a long way in helping us use our time efficiently and see when we need to unload a thing or two.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Making More Time Part 4

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 11:11 AM 0 comments
The fourth step in making more time is a fun one. Can you feel the sarcasm dripping off the page? This is actually one of the most difficult to face. We've addressed it somewhat in looking at how we spend our time and making sure we're redeeming our time for the most important things. But, today we go a step further. Today we look at: Eliminating or reducing time stealers.

If we're brave enough to examine how our time's truly spent, we will find that our lives tend to be full of time stealers. These are the things that are unnecessary. Things that bring comfort, or some pleasure, or simply offer distraction. But if we're complaining that we don't have time to do everything and these things take up a good part of our time, we have to be willing to acknowledge them.

So, here we go. I'm just going to throw them out there without much comment. After all, I struggle in many of these areas, too.

Television - how often does 30 minutes turn into 3 hours (or more)?
Computer/internet - have you ever gotten lost in the web maze?
Unnecessary extra-curricular activities - Do we need to be involved in everything we're involved in? Even if they're all good things?
Things to meet others' expectations - This doesn't mean we ignore responsibilities, but how much of what we do is because someone else things we should?
Arbitrary rules - many of us have "rules" that we live by, usually things that began as good habits by us or others. But we adapt them as rules we have to live by and they often become stressors. Does the house have to be cleaned every week? Do all meals need to be cooked from scratch? Can we not recruit help in some needed areas? What rules have you made for yourself that you could let go of?
Disorganization - Looking for lost items expends a lot of time and energy. If everything has a place and you take the few moments to put it where it belongs, you will save yourself gobs of time that would be spent looking for it.

Remember, if you don't have enough time to do everything, something has to change for you to have time for the important things. What stealers can be reduced or let go? I promise the long-term payoff is better than the short term pleasure of that time-stealing item!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Making More Time Part 3

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 9:35 AM 0 comments
So, the journey to find more time continues. After you've begun to monitor your time and opened yourself up to make changes, the third step is to Redeem Your Time for the Most Important Things.

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

We tend to have so many options for things to do to fill up our time, that it's easy to let the less important things slip in and push the more important things out of the way. If I were asked, I'd say that the most important things in my life are:

Faith
Family
Friendships
Finances
Fun

It's easy to claim these are my priorities, but if I'm willing to be honest and inspect my life closer, I have to ask: Am I living them out? It's much easier to say what our priorities are than it is to spend our time on what we say is most important. Are you willing to compare what you say your priorities are with how you spend your time?

That doesn't mean that if you spend 8 hours a day sleeping and 8 hours a day at work that those are your top priorities. God gave us sleep and calls us to work (whether it's within or outside of the home.) I'm talking more about our flexible time. The time we have that's more negotiable in how we spend it.

If you were to look at your time and make a chart of pie graph, what would it look like? In a typical week, how do you spend your time? How much time do you spend:

Quiet time with God in prayer and/or personal Bible study
Self-care (shower, makeup, nails, hair, etc.)
Physical fitness (exercising)
Watching TV
Non-work time on computer
Working
Housework (cooking, cleaning, laundry, yard work, etc.)
Time with children (taking care of and spending fun time with)
Errands and extra-curricular activities
Church attendance
Care of family members (not children)
Time with friends
Time with Spouse
Ministering to others (cooking meals, helping with errands, making gifts, visiting, babysitting, etc.)

After an honest look, are you living out your priorities? If not, what small changes can be made to move the most important things to the top of your time-list?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Making More Time Part 2

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 9:33 AM 0 comments
In making more time, once you become aware of your time through monitoring it, the next step is to open yourself up for change. If you want to experience change (i.e. no longer feeling overwhelmed and like time's running away from you) then you have to be willing to make changes.

Even the small changes can be hard, but the payoff's immeasurable. Think back. Is there one habit you've changed in the past that's helped you use your time more effectively? Even though there might have been an adjustment period, didn't it make things run more smoothly? One thing I've changed is making sure I put my keys in the same place every time I come home. That way, when it's time to walk out the door and I'm trying to make sure myself and all the kids have everything they're supposed to have, I don't even have to think about where the keys are.

The second reason to open your self to change is that God wants to refine you through the use of your time.

Psalm 66:10 For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver.

Daniel 12:10 Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.

As long as we're on this earth, there's work God can do and wants to do in us. It may have to do with our time, our attitudes, our thoughts, our relationships, or our money. All of these things take time, and if we simply open ourselves up to God, He will do an amazing work in us.

If we feel like we never have time to do everything, chances are we've taken on more than God's called us to. Something may have worked for a while, but then more or different responsibilities came into the picture and we didn't want to let go of anything.

If we're hanging onto something in our life that we should have let go, our hand stays clenched around that thing and remains closed to the additional blessings God may have waiting to pour down on us.

What have you been holding onto that God wants you to let go of so He can our more blessings down on you?

Next, and closely related to the previous reason for being open to change, is that God wants to transform you through the use of your time.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing, and perfect will.

2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

If we don't have time to spend with God in His Word and in prayer, we are not fully living in His will. These are the ways God transforms us. There's no set time to spend with God that's necessary to draw closer to Him, but some time is essential.

Are you willing to ask God what time He wants you to give Him one-on-one?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Making More Time

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 8:42 AM 0 comments
Do you ever feel like time flies by without notice? That there is never enough time to get everything done that you need to get done? In our world of hurry and scurry, most of us feel overwhelmed with responsibilities and short on time. The good thing is that there are ways to make more time! Think about it: more time to enjoy your family, more time to spend with God, more time to sleep. What a wonderful thought. Over the next few weeks, my posts will focus on the tricks and tools I've learned to make more time, something that's a work in progress.

The first step to making more time is to: Monitor how you spend your time.

Why is this important? A few reasons.

1 - God cares how we spend our time. Does He really? According to the Word, He does. Here are just a couple examples of God addressing what He thinks about our time usage:

2 Thess. 3:11 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies.

1 Timothy 5:13 Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to.

These verses address what God thinks about our wasting time. I couldn't even begin to include scriptures that talk about how we should spend our time: in hymns of praise, encouraging each other, loving each other, taking care of each other, preaching the gospel. All we have while on this earth is time. How we spend it determines many things in our lives: how hard we work determines our grades or pay or promotion. How much time and the kind of time we spend with our children goes a long way to determining our relationships with them. Our time spent with other loved ones, including God, determines the depth and health of those relationships. Time is the one thing, once spent, can never be regained. And it matters how we spend it.

What would you say if I said we have more time today than people (as a general rule) than ever before? You'd probably look at me like I'd lost my mind. We do, though! The more conveniences we get in life, the more idle time we have. We simply fill it up. We fill it up with sports and parties and dinners and browsing the web and watching TV and reading books and sitting around talking. We have tons of idle time (for the most of us) when we're not working on our livelihood or maintaining our homes. We simply fill all that time up.

However, it's important to remember that we have one purpose on this earth and that’s to be a disciple of Christ. That can include the fun things and the relaxing things, but it's important to remember that those are not the most important things.

And nothing says we can't rest!God allows for rest, but in our society we take much more than the one/seventh of each week to rest. We view any time we spend on working, chores, and ministry as taking away from our time. The truth is, all of our time is a gift from God and should be used wisely.

2 - If we’re not conscience of our time, we’re more likely to waste it. How often do you get to the end of a day, or a week, or a month and wonder exactly where the time has gone? Time seems to simply slip away when we're not paying attention. That doesn't mean we are to ignore our responsibilities and watch the clock to value each moment. Scripture even addresses this:

Romans 13:11-14 But make sure that you don't get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can't afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don't loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about! (Msg)

So how do you monitor your time without wasting more time monitoring it? Organization is one way. However, I know that not everyone is an organization master. But you don’t have to write a to-do list every day or keep physical track of your time. It's often helpful to do so, but isn't a requirement. Being intentional about how you use your time – both active time and rest time – will, however, help you be more fruitful instead of just busier.

3 - Living in the moment we have, with a grateful attitude for every single breath and gift from God, will increase your time exponentially. When we race from one thing to the next and are always looking forward, we miss the blessings of the moment, feel rushed, and actually lose time. Working on being fully present in the moment we’re in helps us not only feel like we have more time, but will dramatically decrease stress and increase joy.

Are you fully here right now? Or are you wondering if the house is being destroyed while you’re away or the list of things you have to do tomorrow, or next week, or even next month? Pause and take a moment to engage fully in this moment. What are you grateful for? What gifts has God given you today? Savor them. Be grateful for them. Ask God to help you recognize them.

Then ask Him to help make you aware of your time.

ii. Take a moment, engage in this second fully, and list 10 things you’re grateful for at this moment.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Learning from the Little Things

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 11:33 AM 0 comments
The sound of a small person thumping and rolling down the stairs is a terrible one.

A few minutes ago I help my precious 2-year-old and thanked God for her cries. She was bumped around a bit, but really okay.

But it made me wonder: How many moms are holding a precious child in their arms who can no longer cry? Whether having succumbed to disease, cut short by starvation, or brutally killed because of persecution or other evil, how many mothers will weep over a baby today?

I am so grateful for every moment with my children, even the frustrating ones.

And I also wonder: What can I do to make a difference to those other mothers around the world? What little thing would I have to give up to donate a few meals? What time in prayer could I sacrifice for safety? In what ways can I help promote the spread of the gospel of Christ Jesus, the only true source of hope and peace?

Thank you, God, for protecting my child from serious harm and using such a small thing to draw me closer to Your will.



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Making More Time 6

Around this time of year (and most, really), many of us need more time. And this tip in particular. In the middle of everything going on, all the responsibilities we have, and running around, we must remember to Include The Fun Stuff. These are the things that help us to maintain our relationships, sanity, and health.

Jesus said: "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." (John 10:10) Life is often not easy. There is stress, hurt, and lots of work involved. One of the ways we live life abundantly (the main way is to completely rely on, trust in, and obey God) is to take time to enjoy the time we have.

God never calls us to simply be busy for busyness' sake. He calls us to be fruitful for His kingdom. Our busyness can inhibit our discipleship - growing in our relationship with God and fostering relationships with other. Whatever that may be, we should seriously consider letting it go. And make room for life to be enjoyed.

Everything, however, doesn't have to be perfect for us to enjoy life. God tells us to take captive every thought. That means we can have right, true, pure, and good thoughts regardless of what's going on. And having a positive attitude helps us to enjoy life. Even chores can become fun when we have the right attitude. Turn up the music. Make it a game. Leave the dishes once in a while and go play with the kids. They'll remember that more anyhow.

And remember: balance, balance, balance! If you always leave the chores for fun, life will become chaotic and dirty. But if you always leave fun for chores, life will be depressed and grumpy. And as you utilize all the tips for making more time, you'll naturally be more balanced.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Making More Time Part 5

Did I mention organization? Oh, yeah, I did. Well, it's that important in making more time, so we're going to talk about it again. Taking the Time to Organize is our next step in making more time in our busy, over-scheduled lives.

In organization, it's true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The easier things are to find, the quicker you'll find them. Have you ever chased an item or two down, wasting precious time when you're trying to head out the door? Or marking things off your to-do list, only to spend half an hour searching for some essential piece of the puzzle? I think we've all been there.

On a large scale, imagine the library without organization. You have one particular book in mind, and you wonder around the library searching for the title among several thousand books thrown on the shelf in order that they came in, instead of by category or alphabetized. Think that would take a little more time than getting the call number or knowing where to look by the author?

On a smaller scale, the same is true for how we run our homes. However, you don't have to be an organizational master! Start small (where you put your keys, shoes, mail.) Recruit help to get started. If organization isn't your strength, surely someone in your life is good at it. And most likely, they'd be more than willing to pitch in and help out. My mother does several times a year - whether it is toys or clothes, in a house of four kids I often need help!

Set clear goals. Know what needs to be done when. Then they're easier to reach. What areas of home-management do you need the most help with organization? What tasks do you do on a regular basis that would run smoother if you had a more consistent routine?

As helps, lists, calendars, and day planners are available in abundance (or make your own!). These give concreteness to what needs to be down and helps reduce conflicts. Our brains are busy and often overloaded with extraneous data. Writing things down and being able to see what needs to be done is very helpful. And, when the calendar gets to full, it's a clue that it's time to return to steps two and four.

Don't worry if you're not a list/calendar person, though. These are simply tools! If it's not working for you (and make sure it doesn't become that you're working for it), then it's no longer a tool, but a burden. If that happens, reevaluate again and figure out what works for you.

We all have the same 24 hours a day, we simply have to balance our responsibilities and desires with how we use those hours. Organization will go a long way in helping us use our time efficiently and see when we need to unload a thing or two.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Making More Time Part 4

The fourth step in making more time is a fun one. Can you feel the sarcasm dripping off the page? This is actually one of the most difficult to face. We've addressed it somewhat in looking at how we spend our time and making sure we're redeeming our time for the most important things. But, today we go a step further. Today we look at: Eliminating or reducing time stealers.

If we're brave enough to examine how our time's truly spent, we will find that our lives tend to be full of time stealers. These are the things that are unnecessary. Things that bring comfort, or some pleasure, or simply offer distraction. But if we're complaining that we don't have time to do everything and these things take up a good part of our time, we have to be willing to acknowledge them.

So, here we go. I'm just going to throw them out there without much comment. After all, I struggle in many of these areas, too.

Television - how often does 30 minutes turn into 3 hours (or more)?
Computer/internet - have you ever gotten lost in the web maze?
Unnecessary extra-curricular activities - Do we need to be involved in everything we're involved in? Even if they're all good things?
Things to meet others' expectations - This doesn't mean we ignore responsibilities, but how much of what we do is because someone else things we should?
Arbitrary rules - many of us have "rules" that we live by, usually things that began as good habits by us or others. But we adapt them as rules we have to live by and they often become stressors. Does the house have to be cleaned every week? Do all meals need to be cooked from scratch? Can we not recruit help in some needed areas? What rules have you made for yourself that you could let go of?
Disorganization - Looking for lost items expends a lot of time and energy. If everything has a place and you take the few moments to put it where it belongs, you will save yourself gobs of time that would be spent looking for it.

Remember, if you don't have enough time to do everything, something has to change for you to have time for the important things. What stealers can be reduced or let go? I promise the long-term payoff is better than the short term pleasure of that time-stealing item!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Making More Time Part 3

So, the journey to find more time continues. After you've begun to monitor your time and opened yourself up to make changes, the third step is to Redeem Your Time for the Most Important Things.

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

We tend to have so many options for things to do to fill up our time, that it's easy to let the less important things slip in and push the more important things out of the way. If I were asked, I'd say that the most important things in my life are:

Faith
Family
Friendships
Finances
Fun

It's easy to claim these are my priorities, but if I'm willing to be honest and inspect my life closer, I have to ask: Am I living them out? It's much easier to say what our priorities are than it is to spend our time on what we say is most important. Are you willing to compare what you say your priorities are with how you spend your time?

That doesn't mean that if you spend 8 hours a day sleeping and 8 hours a day at work that those are your top priorities. God gave us sleep and calls us to work (whether it's within or outside of the home.) I'm talking more about our flexible time. The time we have that's more negotiable in how we spend it.

If you were to look at your time and make a chart of pie graph, what would it look like? In a typical week, how do you spend your time? How much time do you spend:

Quiet time with God in prayer and/or personal Bible study
Self-care (shower, makeup, nails, hair, etc.)
Physical fitness (exercising)
Watching TV
Non-work time on computer
Working
Housework (cooking, cleaning, laundry, yard work, etc.)
Time with children (taking care of and spending fun time with)
Errands and extra-curricular activities
Church attendance
Care of family members (not children)
Time with friends
Time with Spouse
Ministering to others (cooking meals, helping with errands, making gifts, visiting, babysitting, etc.)

After an honest look, are you living out your priorities? If not, what small changes can be made to move the most important things to the top of your time-list?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Making More Time Part 2

In making more time, once you become aware of your time through monitoring it, the next step is to open yourself up for change. If you want to experience change (i.e. no longer feeling overwhelmed and like time's running away from you) then you have to be willing to make changes.

Even the small changes can be hard, but the payoff's immeasurable. Think back. Is there one habit you've changed in the past that's helped you use your time more effectively? Even though there might have been an adjustment period, didn't it make things run more smoothly? One thing I've changed is making sure I put my keys in the same place every time I come home. That way, when it's time to walk out the door and I'm trying to make sure myself and all the kids have everything they're supposed to have, I don't even have to think about where the keys are.

The second reason to open your self to change is that God wants to refine you through the use of your time.

Psalm 66:10 For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver.

Daniel 12:10 Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.

As long as we're on this earth, there's work God can do and wants to do in us. It may have to do with our time, our attitudes, our thoughts, our relationships, or our money. All of these things take time, and if we simply open ourselves up to God, He will do an amazing work in us.

If we feel like we never have time to do everything, chances are we've taken on more than God's called us to. Something may have worked for a while, but then more or different responsibilities came into the picture and we didn't want to let go of anything.

If we're hanging onto something in our life that we should have let go, our hand stays clenched around that thing and remains closed to the additional blessings God may have waiting to pour down on us.

What have you been holding onto that God wants you to let go of so He can our more blessings down on you?

Next, and closely related to the previous reason for being open to change, is that God wants to transform you through the use of your time.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing, and perfect will.

2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

If we don't have time to spend with God in His Word and in prayer, we are not fully living in His will. These are the ways God transforms us. There's no set time to spend with God that's necessary to draw closer to Him, but some time is essential.

Are you willing to ask God what time He wants you to give Him one-on-one?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Making More Time

Do you ever feel like time flies by without notice? That there is never enough time to get everything done that you need to get done? In our world of hurry and scurry, most of us feel overwhelmed with responsibilities and short on time. The good thing is that there are ways to make more time! Think about it: more time to enjoy your family, more time to spend with God, more time to sleep. What a wonderful thought. Over the next few weeks, my posts will focus on the tricks and tools I've learned to make more time, something that's a work in progress.

The first step to making more time is to: Monitor how you spend your time.

Why is this important? A few reasons.

1 - God cares how we spend our time. Does He really? According to the Word, He does. Here are just a couple examples of God addressing what He thinks about our time usage:

2 Thess. 3:11 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies.

1 Timothy 5:13 Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to.

These verses address what God thinks about our wasting time. I couldn't even begin to include scriptures that talk about how we should spend our time: in hymns of praise, encouraging each other, loving each other, taking care of each other, preaching the gospel. All we have while on this earth is time. How we spend it determines many things in our lives: how hard we work determines our grades or pay or promotion. How much time and the kind of time we spend with our children goes a long way to determining our relationships with them. Our time spent with other loved ones, including God, determines the depth and health of those relationships. Time is the one thing, once spent, can never be regained. And it matters how we spend it.

What would you say if I said we have more time today than people (as a general rule) than ever before? You'd probably look at me like I'd lost my mind. We do, though! The more conveniences we get in life, the more idle time we have. We simply fill it up. We fill it up with sports and parties and dinners and browsing the web and watching TV and reading books and sitting around talking. We have tons of idle time (for the most of us) when we're not working on our livelihood or maintaining our homes. We simply fill all that time up.

However, it's important to remember that we have one purpose on this earth and that’s to be a disciple of Christ. That can include the fun things and the relaxing things, but it's important to remember that those are not the most important things.

And nothing says we can't rest!God allows for rest, but in our society we take much more than the one/seventh of each week to rest. We view any time we spend on working, chores, and ministry as taking away from our time. The truth is, all of our time is a gift from God and should be used wisely.

2 - If we’re not conscience of our time, we’re more likely to waste it. How often do you get to the end of a day, or a week, or a month and wonder exactly where the time has gone? Time seems to simply slip away when we're not paying attention. That doesn't mean we are to ignore our responsibilities and watch the clock to value each moment. Scripture even addresses this:

Romans 13:11-14 But make sure that you don't get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can't afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don't loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about! (Msg)

So how do you monitor your time without wasting more time monitoring it? Organization is one way. However, I know that not everyone is an organization master. But you don’t have to write a to-do list every day or keep physical track of your time. It's often helpful to do so, but isn't a requirement. Being intentional about how you use your time – both active time and rest time – will, however, help you be more fruitful instead of just busier.

3 - Living in the moment we have, with a grateful attitude for every single breath and gift from God, will increase your time exponentially. When we race from one thing to the next and are always looking forward, we miss the blessings of the moment, feel rushed, and actually lose time. Working on being fully present in the moment we’re in helps us not only feel like we have more time, but will dramatically decrease stress and increase joy.

Are you fully here right now? Or are you wondering if the house is being destroyed while you’re away or the list of things you have to do tomorrow, or next week, or even next month? Pause and take a moment to engage fully in this moment. What are you grateful for? What gifts has God given you today? Savor them. Be grateful for them. Ask God to help you recognize them.

Then ask Him to help make you aware of your time.

ii. Take a moment, engage in this second fully, and list 10 things you’re grateful for at this moment.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Learning from the Little Things

The sound of a small person thumping and rolling down the stairs is a terrible one.

A few minutes ago I help my precious 2-year-old and thanked God for her cries. She was bumped around a bit, but really okay.

But it made me wonder: How many moms are holding a precious child in their arms who can no longer cry? Whether having succumbed to disease, cut short by starvation, or brutally killed because of persecution or other evil, how many mothers will weep over a baby today?

I am so grateful for every moment with my children, even the frustrating ones.

And I also wonder: What can I do to make a difference to those other mothers around the world? What little thing would I have to give up to donate a few meals? What time in prayer could I sacrifice for safety? In what ways can I help promote the spread of the gospel of Christ Jesus, the only true source of hope and peace?

Thank you, God, for protecting my child from serious harm and using such a small thing to draw me closer to Your will.



 

themommyanswer Copyright © 2009 Paper Girl is Designed by Ipietoon Sponsored by Online Business Journal