Just this morning my little guy asked if we could fast-forward through Friday! He knows that today is my work day and that there are fun things planned tomorrow. Why not just skip on ahead?!
Have you ever wanted to skip through days or weeks of life? Maybe life is full of monotony or difficult things right now. Or maybe good things are just ahead and you’re ready to enjoy them now! Have you ever wanted time to slow down? Maybe a project was pushing your limits and you needed just one extra day or even hour.
While we can’t actually create or delete hours or days of our lives, we do have oversight of our time. God has made us stewards of even our schedules.
What’s Most Important to You?
This quote showcases the importance of identifying what is most important. Some answers will be unique to you – unique to your personality, season of life and the dreams you’re pursuing. But there are a few things that are universally important. Here are three to consider.
- Time to draw close to God. Every one of us needs time to engage our hearts with God and grow in intimacy with Him.
- Time to be present with family, friends or community. We all have people that are important to us and that God has placed around us. Taking time to see them, enjoy them, listen to them and engage with them is important.
- Time to listen and plan for what’s ahead. Notice the two aspects of this. Listening and planning. It’s easy to plan away, but making time to listen for God’s voice and direction is critical to the process.
Giving Priority to What’s Most Important
Once you know what’s important to you, you must make time for those things in your schedule. We all have the same hours in a day and days in a week. It’s easy to allow schedules to fill up and max out. Believe me, I know! But if our schedules don’t have room for what is most important to us, there’s a problem.
The things most important to you must become your priority.
That means it has the right to be first, the right to displace other less important things, the right to have your attention. If it is really most important, then schedule a time to make it happen.
Creating Rhythms for What’s Most Important
Once your schedule has time set aside for what is most important, guard it zealously! Do whatever it takes to ensure that it begins to recur with regularity. Let it develop into a rhythm of life for you. A rhythm that you can enter into with expectancy and joy.
Soon you’ll find that these rhythms give you space to breathe, space to enter into and enjoy what you love about the life God has given you. These rhythms can give you something to look forward to during difficult days. They can give you time to slow down and remember what is truly important in life.
Rhythms can also help you make decisions. If another commitment is going to encroach on the time you set aside, then your answer to that commitment needs to be no! If what you have set aside time for truly is most important, it has the right to take precedence, to be the priority. This means lesser things then take their rightful place in your life and your schedule.
Rhythms, though, are also flexible. If you find something else that you want to say yes to, then shift your most important things around. Find a different time to do it. Find a different way to incorporate the new activity into your schedule. Your schedule will always be changing. The key is to first identify what is most important for this month, year, or season of life and then make time for those things first.
Practical Ways to DO What’s Most Important
Sometimes it can take some work to figure out what to do during the time you have set aside. How do you make that time different? How do you really enter into it? How do you engage your heart? It might take some trial and error. Different things will work for different people. Here are some ideas related to the 3 ideas discussed earlier that you can experiment with.
Time to draw close to God. (Don’t think of this as a traditional “quiet time” but think of other ways you can be present to God that will help you grow in intimacy with Him.)
- Choose one day to go for a walk alone. (weekly or monthly) Listen to music as you walk. Pour out your heart to God. Meditate on a verse. Listen for what He wants to say to you. Simply enjoy His company as you walk.
- Wake up an hour early one day a week OR slip away for an hour one evening a week. Spend time doing something that draws you closer to God that you don’t usually have time to do. Read a book of the Bible. Journal. Meditate on Scripture. Pray for the hearts of those closest to you. You might discover this is your favorite day of the week!
- Schedule a day (or at least 3-4 hours) a month to get away with God. Spend time with God by yourself away from all distractions. Listen to His voice. Worship Him. Again, take this time to enjoy ways to interact with God that you don’t have time for from day to day.
Time to be present with family, friends or community.
- Plan a family (or friends) fun night. (weekly or monthly) Have a simple, non-labor intensive, meal and pull out games that everyone will enjoy. Take time to laugh together and enjoy each other’s company. Keep distractions away and simply be present. We did this last week for my birthday night and it was fabulous!
- Invite friends over each month to share a meal. If you love hosting, this one’s for you! Catch up with friends you don’t see much. Laugh with close friends. Meet someone new. Anticipate the fun and find ways so it’s not a huge production every time. Skip months that are super busy and crazy. Even if you did this 9 out of the 12 months, that’s still a 75% success rate!
- Choose a time each week you say no to everything that is necessary and embrace what gives you life. (try a morning, afternoon or even an entire day!) Don’t run errands, finish projects, clean the house or work. Instead, be present with those you love. Play with your kids. Read a book out loud. Go outside together. Bake cookies. Watch a movie. What you do isn’t important. Enjoying the presence of those you love is.
Time to listen and plan for what’s ahead.
- Take a couple of hours to plan for the month ahead. Have a list of your most important things. Set aside time in the upcoming month to do them all. Add in other necessary activities and commitments you are aware of. Ask God if there’s anything intentional He wants you to do in the upcoming month. Having these things down on a calendar will create a great grid to use whenever other opportunities come along. It will show you what time is really available and make it easier to say no to lesser things.
- Take an hour to plan for the week ahead. This planning will be more detailed than the monthly planning. This is your opportunity to move things around if needed or add new things that have come up. It’s also another time to ask God what else He wants in the week. Is there a need to encourage someone or spend some quality time with someone? Is it going to be such a busy week that you need plan a way to slip away with Him, even for 30 minutes? Focus on planning the most important things and then allow everything else to fit in around them.
- Schedule time for something big. It’s often easy, and tempting, to plan in small bursts along the way. But there are times that sitting down with one agenda and one topic for an extended amount of time is beneficial. Maybe you need to do some financial planning. Maybe you need to lay out a strategy for an upcoming project. Maybe you need to dream and plan about ideas God has placed on your heart. Get away and spend time with God doing just that. Take a few minutes at the beginning to ask God to lead and to attune your heart to His. Invite Him to lead you. And then see where He takes you during your time!
As you begin to think about what’s most important to you and prioritize it in your schedule, here are a series of questions to guide you through the process.
- What’s most important to you right now?
- Which one or two do you want to make time for this week or month? (Don’t try to do everything at once!)
- Where are you going to put it in your schedule? (what day, how much time)
- Will you need to say no to anything else to make this the priority?
- What are looking forward to about this time you have set aside?
What is truly most important has the right to take precedence in your life and in your schedule. While you can’t create time, you do have oversight of your time and you can determine what you give your attention and priority to. Ask God to show you what should take precedence. He is ready to help!