This year has already proven to be a stretching time for me personally. Let me explain, I tend to complain to Josh about how I am not the well rounded person I would like to be. There is never enough time in the day to get everything done, have time for myself and look put together while doing it! (Anyone hear me?) I would tell Josh, I can be really good at one or two things at a time, but to keep it all moving in the same direction, well that is another story. In light of this, Josh got me a few books to read to help me along in my journey. The first one (actually the only one I have read in its entirety up to this point) is Shopping for Time; How to Do It All and Not be Overwhelmed, by Carolyn Mahaney, et al.
This book, along with other things, have helped me to restructure my life, and reshape the intentionality with which I live. I must admit that after scanning the title of the chapters, I was not enthusiastic. Chapter 2 is… The First Tip: Rise Early (joining the 5 am club). My initial reaction was to throw the book away, but I knew that I had to give the book a chance and I am so glad that I did.
This book has more to do with priorities, then with actually getting everything done that WE want to get done. If you take a moment to look at how you live an average day or week, do you feel at peace?
The reality is, however, we don’t ofen manage the time God has granted us on this earth with the same intentionality or skill that we bring to shopping. Think for a minute:
- Do you plan ahead to maximize your fruitfulness each day, or do you simply let life happen?
- Do you make choices based on Scripture or on what feels good at the moment?
- Do you strategize to use your talents to bless your family and church, or do you employ them primarily for your own personal fulfillment?
- Do you evaluate every opportunity in light of biblical priorities, or do you do whatever it takes to get ahead?
- Do you consider whom God would have you serve, or do you try to please everyone all the time?
While we constantly- almost unconsciously- plan, evaluate, strategize, and make wise choices when shopping, we often neglect to do so with the most important matters of our lives. (All quotes from Shopping for Time are in italics)
How do you feel after reading that list? I know that immediately I was convicted of the fact that the most important things in my life, often got pushed to the back burner because of (insert any number of excuses here).
I realized that I was allowing my secondary callings to cloud my judgement and priorities in how I lived out my life. The first chapter of Misional Mom (another book Josh got for me) talks about this… “Each and every person who is a follower of Jesus shares the same calling, which at the core is not something to do but a Person to know: our calling as children of God is to know Him, first and foremost. It’s not about you. It’s about the One who calls you. Our primary calling is to be with God, to immerse ourselves in His immeasurable love and grace. Everything else flows out of this connection, which is our absolute number one priority.” Many times we take our secondary callings, those roles we have in life; mother, sister, student, co-worker, wife, and replace them with our primary calling. “As we pursue God’s mission in our lives- bearing witness to what Christ has done for us, making disciples here and around the world- we are able to see how He can use our secondary callings as channels through which His primary mission will be accomplished.” We need to use our secondary callings as platforms to connect with people to accomplish our primary calling, not to replace our primary call.
This all got me thinking, how am I to accomplish my primary calling if I am not “immersing myself in His love and grace?” Josh regularly talks about how our priorities are expressed in our lives through how we spend our time, money and talents. I would say, of course my first priority is God… but in hindsight, the thing that was most important always ended up being squeezed into moments or just sprinkled on top in a very inconstant manner. In order for me to be on mission in my life, and use my time the most effectively, I needed to be consistently spending time reading my Bible and praying. In what other way are we guaranteed to hear from God?
Although, I have not joined the 5 am club, I am trying to regularly join the 6am club. In this way I am prioritizing my time, to first spend time with God, and then be able to make a plan for the day, in this way I am serving my family and creating more balance in my life. I have become more productive, and am allowing God the space and time to continue to make my heart more like His. Unfortunately or fortunately my excuses of too much to do and too little sleep no longer work. What is your excuse?
I am taking a group of women through this book and my goal is to post the homework/discussion topics here so that you can take the journey as well.