Time becomes the impending enemy. Can we harness time for spiritual and physical health?
Merriam-Webster defines time as a “measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exists.” Perhaps our struggle isn’t with time but with choice.
According to John C. Maxwell in his book Today Matters, “Each choice is a crossroad, one that will either confirm or compromise [your] commitments” (p.166).
Throughout the years, I tried to balance family, ministry and work demands. I used At-A-Glance calendars and day planners until the digital world replaced them with Palm Pilots, Blackberries, and SmartPhones. Despite my efforts, time was still a wild stallion freely running and leaving me behind.
But when God made time, He said it was good—no flaws. My choices, however, became an auto-response to daily demands. My focus was to get through the day. I failed to realize the fallacy of a balanced life. Instead, God often used my crazy life to bring me into balance with Him. My energy was spent overseeing life instead of overseeing my heart. God asked me who, what, when, where and why questions that led to self-examination.
Who – Who was the service for? Was I living for Him or for self-reward?
What – What was my goal? Was my busyness part of my life’s direction?
When – When did I begin to feel overwhelmed? Did circumstances or habits change?
Where – Where was my faith? Was I trying to run the show?
Why – Why was it necessary to personally do each task? Could others help?
As we seek God, we make better choices. We no longer live defensively but offensively and we begin to gain ground. But spiritual insights still needed practical execution.
Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution; this gives you a 1,000 percent return on energy!
– Brian Tracy
I love to share this quote. Imagine six minutes of planning can save us 60 minutes in a day. What would we do with an extra hour? Perhaps we could go for a walk, cook a healthy meal or rest. As God leads us, we can plan an intentional day and leave the rest in His capable hands.
One tool I’ve learned to use was not digital, it was simple pen and paper. I take a blank sheet of paper and make a list of everything that needs attention. I keep writing (without organizing my list) until I have unloaded everything out of my brain. By dumping everything on paper I no longer have to mentally manage tasks. Then I take this handwritten list to God and ask Him to tweak, delete or add.
Once you’ve prayed and revised your list, create a document (whatever works for you) and sort your list. Group by likeness: phone calls, errands, chores, etc. Then prioritize your list. A simple highlighter can mark what needs to be done that day or week.
Lists are time-consuming at first, but execution is easier because we’re focused. A list helps deliver the energy needed for each task. It reminds us to work on important tasks when we’re most alert and less demanding tasks during short intervals or when we’re tired. Your productivity conforms to the ebb and flow of your personal rhythm.
A list can help improve our stewardship of energy–not time. Our energy consumes time, but God is the true steward of time. Stress decreases because faith increases. Health goals become less challenging and when unexpected events take place, you find margin in your life because more has been completed.
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts
– Winston Churchill
O_April © Crestock
Loehr, J. E., & Schwartz, T. (2003). The power of full engagement: Managing energy, not
time, is the key to high performance and personal renewal. New York: Free Press.
Maxwell, J. C. (2004). Today matters. New York: Warner.
Peterson, Eugene H. The Message : The Bible in Contemporary Language.
Colorado Springs, Colo.: NavPress, 2002.