Rescuing Your Time

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"Time is a squirrely thing. It only goes where you tell it to go. It has no mind of its own. It won’t naturally gravitate to things that matter or work you really care about. It always looks for the easy way out." - Jon Acuff

Time. What an elusive thing. Try as we might, most of us feel like we just don't have enough of it.

But is that really the case? Or do we merely spend our time on things we would rather not spend it on? And, if that's the case, why are we wasting this precious gift on things that aren't worthy of our time?

I think we feel obligated to do some things, like go to work, for good reasons. We know we need to earn our paychecks to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. But we also sometimes feel obligated to do things that we maybe shouldn't. Maybe we feel like we have to pursue a certain career path to appease others or strive for a bigger, better home or a family of our own by a certain age. But we have the power to choose a different path for ourselves. There are some things we have to do as responsible adults, but there are also a great many things we have the privilege of getting to choose for ourselves.

What would happen if, aside from the things we can't change like going to work and getting sleep, we prioritized doing things we want to do?

I'm not saying we should shirk all responsibilities-- deep down, we still want to do some of those things. I want to wash the dishes to avoid having to scrub dried food off later. I want to do a load of laundry so I can have clean clothes. But I don't want to spend all night doing those things. So I get what needs to be done (pots and pans, one load of laundry), and I move on to doing what it is that I really want to do (hanging up art work, reading a book, spending time with friends). I don't get caught up doing the little things and miss out on the big things. I decide how I'm going to spend my time, even if it's different from those around me.

I'm suggesting we do what's absolutely necessary and then relax and allow ourselves to have some fun doing what we love with the people we love. Let go of the obligations and standards imposed on us by the world around us, and exercise our right to choose to focus on what we value most in our current season.

Certainly, there is a time for everything. Some activities go with specific seasons, like planting seeds or harvesting them. The same is true with our lives, although the length of seasons may differ.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

-Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Maybe you're in a season of intentional self-care after a time of neglect. Maybe you're in a season of abundance in which you have the privilege of blessing others. Maybe you're in a season in which you are bursting with creative energy, looking for an outlet. Those things change over time, and that's okay. In order to feel like we're making good use of our time, we must know where our time is most needed right now, and take steps to act accordingly.

What do you really care about? What needs to happen for you to be able to devote more time to those important things? Are there things you need to say no to? Are there things you need to let go of in order to focus on others? What do you need to get out of the way, set aside, or delegate so you can focus on what matters most?

Will you join me in figuring out where to pour our time and energy? I sincerely hope you can figure it out and make the most of the time you have right here, right now. Because this is the only today you're going to get, and nobody can leave a mark on it quite like you can.



Further reading:

3 Signs Your Life Is Too Busy by Eden Jones, Relevant Magazine