Taking the time, time after time

This summer has been a bit of a whirlwind for me and my family. As soon as school let out in June I took my son to soccer camp for a week. When we returned, I had two days to prepare to preach my last sermons at the church I was serving before we packed up all of our belongings and moved to Wilmington, NC. Almost immediately we had family in town all the while trying to adjust to a new environment. From there it was youth camps, another soccer camp, registering our children for their new schools, enrolling our youngest in a new gymnastics program, celebrating a sweet sixteen birthday and then going to get her license, and then serving as the speaker at a week-long high school camp. Somewhere in the midst of all of that my wife and I carved out regular time for each other so that we wouldn't be tempted to wake up one day and ask each other, "Who are you?"

Time itself is such a funny thing - we can't actually create any more than we are given in a 24-hour day but we do have the opportunity to manage the time that we do have. If we don't manage our time, then it will be more than willing to manage us! As busy as our schedules can tend to be, there will always be those quiet(er) moments in the midst of our chaos where God seeks to grab our attention in an effort to refocus us and refresh our souls.

These are moments we cannot afford to miss.

As we watch our children grow up way too fast and struggle to believe that what seemed like yesterday was actually a few years ago, my wife and I often ask ourselves, "Where did all the time go?" If our lives were wrapped up in events and achievements then I am sure that a deep-seeded depression would have set in by now. But life is more that what we can personally accomplish or what kind of a name we can make for ourselves. Life is a beautiful journey filled with people and places that impact our every step.

That being the case, what are you doing with the time that you have? Allow me to suggest a few ideas that I believe will help you manage your time in such a way as to be fulfilling and fruitful:
  • Spend time with God everyday. Read the Bible. Sit in the stillness of the sunrise or sunset and contemplate His majesty. Use the time that you are driving in your car to lift up prayers and praises to Him. Don't neglect attending a church on Sunday to connect with God and His people.
  • Find a special place and go there often. Each morning I strive to enjoy my coffee and time with God or a good book on my screened porch. It's quiet, peaceful, and it also allows me to spend quality time with my wife and to gather my thoughts for the day.
  • Don't neglect spending time with people. Chat with your neighbors, go to dinner with friends, visit your grandparents and ask them about their childhood, or enjoy game night with your family. Avoid the temptation to let people pass by because that is when opportunities to grow and invest in others will pass you by as well.
  • Find something that you love and do it often. Since I moved to the coast and discovered stand up paddle boarding, I want to be on the water as much as I can. Even though this is not a daily thing, the times that I do go out fill my cup to the brim. We all have things that we are most passionate about. Those areas certainly deserve our time.
  • Enjoy a good book. Books open up a whole new world to the imagination, that is if you are willing to invest in the time to read them. Put down your phone, turn off the TV, and get lost in a good book.
  • Invite others to join you on errands or small tasks. Whenever I need to run to the store I usually take one of my kids along with me. Sure, I may bribe them with the promise of gum, but I have never regretted those extra moments away with them.
That's a pretty simple list, isn't it? And for the most part, engaging in those things shouldn't cause you to have to radically rearrange your schedule. In fact, once you organize your time for those activities and people that make you most come alive, you will find that including them more and more in your daily life becomes not only natural but essential. So stop making excuses and take the time because it's right there in front of you. 

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