Today was my day to sit down and write about “Abundant Time”.
Tuesday is my day off from my current job, so I have carefully set aside Tuesdays as my day to give back, slow down, catch up, fill up, inspire others, gain inspiration, connect with God, etc. You know- Save the World stuff.
Then my husband walked into my office.
It took him less than one minute to add five hours of work onto my day. And the worst thing is, the things he told me I needed to do…well, they really do need to be done. Now. They are not inspirational, extraordinary, life-changing, or worthy of gratitude or applause. They just need doing.
How many of us have felt this inner conflict- between “musts” and “shoulds”? Between lofty and mundane? I felt this at my worst when my children were babies, when my inner calling to Go Out and Do Good in the World was blockaded by mountains of dirty diapers, but the conflict has not gone away. Rather, it’s just gotten more complicated.
Being the Type A person that I am, I had a solution: RUSH. Get through the “musts” fast, so I can make room for the “shoulds”. And I am pretty good at this. I can multitask like a mother (double-entendre intended) so if I can combine all of the “must” tasks up front, I can get through them quickly, and then get to the tasks that are worthy and appreciated by God, right?
If I quickly clean up while the kids watch one 30-minute show, then I’ll read to them and enjoy them. If I cook all the meals for the week on Monday night, then every other night will be “family night” and relaxed quality time. After I finish the laundry, I’ll do my Bible study. If I can get all of my errands done by 1pm, then I can surely make that 1:15 volunteer commitment.
This brilliant mentality came crashing down on me the day I was pulled over for a speeding ticket….on the way to volunteering at a homeless shelter.
Are you kidding me, God? Didn’t you know where I was going? Didn’t you see all the things I just did? How on EARTH am I supposed to do all of the things I must and should do?
Well, I finally began to get my answer.
There are two Bible passages that came to my attention recently that address this exact issue: Luke 15:11-32, and Luke 10:38-42. Take a moment to read both passages.
The first may seem to have nothing to do with time management- it’s the story of the Prodigal Son. But look at verse 20: “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son…”
This is the only time in the Bible when God is described as being in a rush- toward us.
All of our rushing should be toward each other, toward relationships, toward God. We need to be doing it constantly, and in tandem with everything we do. You know that multi-tasking we so love? This is the best way to use it. In everything we do, no matter how mundane and necessary, we can be doing it in a way that brings us closer to someone else. While we’re doing it.
God has given us Abundant Time- enough time to do everything we’re supposed to be doing on this earth, and the priority job he has given us is to connect with each other and with Him. He knows we have things we must do- even Jesus had a full-time carpentry job for most of his life- so He will show us ways to spend every moment and every task in a way that brings us closer to someone, including Him.
And sometimes, a chance to connect to someone will come along that’s important enough for us to stop altogether, no matter how pressing our “must” list appears to be. This is where the story of Mary and Martha comes in. We hate this story, don’t we?
Jesus cared more about sharing time with Mary and Martha than eating a great meal or admiring a perfect house. He knew there would always be time to cook and clean, but right now was the only time they’d have with him on earth. Even the tasks as vitally important as feeding your guests needed to be put aside in order to slow down and connect.
So what are we rushing off to do, now? I’m sure they’re all good and important and even necessary. But there’s enough time for it all, and can be done in a way that brings peace and intimacy instead of isolation, stress, and speeding tickets.
As you reflect on the scripture, answer the following questions:
- What tasks are we rushing through alone that we could be more effectively, though possibly a little more slowly, doing with others?
- When have you felt guilty because a “must” got in the way of a “should”? How could you combine those two things in a way that will give you peace and joy?
- What moments in your life should prompt you to put everything aside in order to connect, love, and rush to connect with someone?