“We run into trouble when we try to do all that others expect us to do, what we expect of ourselves and then try to squeeze in what God wants us to do.” (My wise Grandpa)
We all struggle to manage our time wisely at some point. We sometimes feel that there is not enough of it, that we cannot do all that “needs” to be done, and on top of it, we feel weary – weary physically perhaps but also in heart.
Something (perhaps many things) must be dropped. Here is a short list of things that might be “costing” us time. Perhaps we could all learn to cut these from our lives.
Not Putting God first
Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
If my priorities aren’t in order, the rest begins to fall apart. Putting God first helps me put the rest of my life where it needs to be.
Much of my time lost is due to laziness. Please don’t misunderstand me – rest is not wrong or bad (in fact it’s good – remember even God rested!) but rather we don’t always work when we should be working.
Proverbs 13:4 The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.
Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men
Joshua 24:15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Sometimes, we don’t fill our times with God’s things because we are still waffling. We haven’t really chosen (or haven’t’ really committed) to give our whole lives to him!
Dwelling on the past
Philippians 3:12-16 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
Our minds are the quiet, “secret” places where we can sometimes dwell too much on the past – on perhaps the “good ol’ days,” or our mistakes and sins, the question of “what if?” or past hurts. But when instead we face heavenward, the earthly past will begin to fade.
Lack of self-discipline
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
We must learn the hard task of exercising our weak muscle – in this case practicing self-control, self-discipline. I listened once to an older woman give advice to a younger one about her feeling overwhelmed by housework. She told her to choose one thing that day to do. And the next day, to choose one thing. And to go from there. It’s good advice for housework but also for our spiritual lives. Choose one good spiritual habit to practice today. And tomorrow. And the day after – and you will find your muscles growing stronger.
Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
So much of what we worry about does not come true. It is quite literally wasted time – let alone going against God’s explicit commands. We must instead begin to pray fervently rather than using our mental and emotional energy in worry and anxiety. When we give thanks to God and turn our requests to Him, we will find the strength and peace we seek.
2 Corinthians 10:12 Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.
1 Peter 2:1 So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.
Comparison is the thief of joy. Instead it feeds bitterness, resentment, and an ungrateful heart. We count others’ blessings and yearn to have what they seem to have, not recognizing the bounty of God’s blessings in our own life. We must name that envy, shine God’s bright light on our attitudes and ask for His help.
And beloved, he stands ready to help us with open arms – to put away the things that cost us time and heart and to help us to become more like Him.