Our Time Inventory
I’ve forgotten what it feels like to be on time. I am always late. I don’t try to be, I work at timeliness, but time seems to be my enemy. In fact, writing this article about time….. you guessed it, it’s late!
Before I had kids, I was always on time. My sister lived 6 hours from me and would always laugh that I always arrived the exact minute I said I would. After I had my first child, I was exactly five minutes later than I planned. Now that I have 4 kids, I give a range of time, as exactness is not something I can achieve.
It’s easy to blame my kids, but it’s not them. It’s not even me, necessarily. I don’t waste time. In honesty, I’m a constantly wound clock. I’m always going. If I slow down, I become unproductive. That began to seem backwards to me. SURPRISE! It is backwards!
I began to look at what was taking my time. Well, (think of this being spoken by the micro machine man speed talking) I am a mother of 4 kids, we had 2 high school international students living with us, my husband was the Athletic Director of a small school where all of our kids went and seemed to play in every sporting event that occurred, if they weren’t playing he and I were there working the games, I taught full time, did my master’s degree online, tried to stay up with friends and family, I feed said children, interact with them and help with school work (this one almost did me in!), make a marriage work, write and edit for a blog, and attempt to take care of myself.
Whew! I’m tired writing it, but I imagine that your list is similar in length or even longer considering emotional weights, family and marital status, etc. The realization I came to is that my plate is piled and overflowing, and what I want to have time for I don’t really have time for. Reading with my children, listening to their stories with my full attention, immersing myself in the Word the way I want to, playing Barbies with my little girl, putting puzzles together, cooking with my children, none of those are on the above list. They show up once in awhile, but they aren’t there consistently.
Do you know or remember the old song, “Turn, Turn, Turn (To Everything There is a Season)?” It talks about for every season there is a time. Many of these words, although not a Christian song, came from Ecclesiastes 3.
Verse 1 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” While the writer was not writing about people who overfill their plate with life events, it is a strong reminder that there is a season for all parts of my life. Some of those seasons come and go outside of my control. For example, the diaper stage came with the birth of my children, but went a few years ago when my daughter was 3. That season of raising children was drastically different from the one we are in now where every child is in school, many play sports, one is starting high school and is beginning his first relationship outside of friendships.
As I reflected, I’ve begun to ask myself what seasons are important and what brings distractions into the seasons I want to be a part of? Most of us (dare I say all of us) can’t just eliminate working, but can we change the intensity in which do things or the amount of time we devote outside of our work hours.
I can’t give you a list to go through, because each of us is at different seasons. What I can give you is the encouragement to take inventory of your life. What is your list that takes your time? In this season you are in, are your said priorities getting your time, or are other things squeezing out your time that you would like to spend on your priorities? Take inventory, find what doesn’t belong or shouldnt get as much of your time, then do something about it. For some people, just being conscious of where their time is being spent will be enough to reallocate it without eliminating activities. Think of your time like a budget, plan to spend it on your priorities and allocate the rest where you want it. Enjoy the season you are in, as it will pass without adequate notice.
God, you are amazing! Thank you for how you love us, take care of us in each season, and never run out of time for us. Please speak to each person reading this. Help them to see where their time is best spent. Help them to be brave enough to say no to what will crowd the time of their priorities. More than anything, teach each of us to live with intention in each season we are in. Thank you for loving us.