What Time Do You Have?
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What Time Do You Have?

Before cell phones, almost everyone wore wrist watches. When someone forgot theirs, they would ask, "What time do you have?". The last I knew, one day is equal to twenty-four hours, while seven days equals a week. The way people talk, you would think one could buy time because they don't have enough time. Have you ever heard the songs "Time in a Bottle" and "Eight Days a Week"? How about "Cat's in the Cradle"? But then we could save time by making time. Yet we waste time and spend time. Has the number of hours to a day and days to a week changed?

We seem to have a problem with how we handle our time. Clients and gym members have told me often, they don't have the time to do everything they should do. People I encounter who don't exercise say they don' have time. The problem isn't not having enough time, it's making wise use of our time.

So, what time do you have? The answer is really plenty. I address this issue in an earlier post, "Spiritual Disciplines: Simplicity".  We need to simplify our lives to do the important things. The writer of Ecclesiastes 3, King Solomon, tells us that there are valuable things for our time. Reading through the passage, 3 things connected to time stand out: our relationship with God, our relationship with people, and our work. I noticed another thing, self-discipline. We must discipline ourselves to do what is appropriate at the proper time. God does indeed bless us for doing what is right when the time is right. He rewards our good works and we can celebrate as it is a gift of God (Ecc. 3:13). As Christians, we have an eternal view of our time; whereas, the non-Christian does not have that same hope. If we set our priorities straight, we will be blessed abundantly more than we can imagine!

How we set priorities on our times tells a lot about what is important to us. Matthew 6:19-21 tells us, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also". We need to figure out what is most important to us about how we spend our time. Quite often, God gets the short end of our time. Instead, He should be our first priority. The next is You, taking care of your basic needs so you can be there for other people. Then your hubby or wife needs your time and attention. Did you notice that work, children, and ministry don't get one of the top three slots? Children at home fill the fourth slot. Take a look at people whose priorities aren't set in this order. You will likely notice a life full of problems. Then the rest is up to you. How you choose to spend your time says a lot about what is important to you.

Here are some tips on making time with God, family, and yourself work in your schedule:

  1. Cut that out!  Eliminate or reduce the things that wear you out, but are not important.Those things might be tasks you can delegate to others.
  2. Turn it off!  Cut out television, social media, and other time wasters you use to procrastinate. Set a timer if necessary.
  3. Plan it! Talk with your family about how you can open up more time in your schedule to do the really important things.
  4. Just say no! Learn to say no to the "church recruiters". You know them, they practically bowl you over asking if you will do this and that at the church. Be sure it really is something that doesn't fit your call, gifts, or talents.If your calendar has every day filled with something at church, ask yourself, friends, and family to help you pick and choose carefully how you should serve God. Give them permission to be honest.
  5. Proceed with caution! Take on extra tasks at work carefully. If there is someone else who can do it as well or better than you, let them. Never let your family suffer because you let work take you from having time with your spouse and kids. Listen to the songs I listed above. They will get you to think about relationships and time.
  6. Run the other way! Avoid people who drain you of energy. If you want to run the other way when they are around, chances are they are those people. Find gracious ways of exiting conversations with them. Introduce them to other people so they have a broader network.
  7. Schedule it! Set appointments in your scheduler, smartphone, calendar, etc. Assign a name for each priority and make them a priority. You can easily say that you already have an appointment during that time and offer another day and time that is convenient to both parties.Use the alarm and notification features on your smartphone or tablet to help you remember these appointments.

How we set our priorities and spend our time should never be wasted on those things that don't really matter. Your spiritual life, your health, and your family life will be much richer when you give them your time and attention.

May God bless you!

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