Time Management

Neon Clock by WATERBOYsh.  Shared under a Creative Commons License.

So, I just finished reading a book. You may have heard of it. It’s just a little world-wide phenom and New York Times bestseller called Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Yeah…that one.

I’ll spare sharing a full book review (You’re welcome). Though I wouldn’t classify this book as a “kicked-me-in-the-gut-and-changed-my-life” kind of book, I will say that Chan had some very important insights. One of the things that really popped out at me as I was reading is not an original thought. In fact, it’s actually very elementary: give God your time.

One of the things Chan is most known for is his emphasis on sacrificial giving. Whenever someone says those two words–“sacrificial giving”–I bet 89% of the population automatically envisions their wallet being emptied. But it’s not just a money thing. If you’re a Christian, you know this; I’m sure you’ve heard something like this before:

“Most of us are so busy that the thought of adding one more thing to our weekly schedule is stressful. Instead of adding another thing to our lives, perhaps God wants us to give Him all of our time and let Him direct it as He sees fit” (p. 120)

Eureka!

Calendar by DafneCholet.  Shared under a Creative Commons License.

I’ve been giving God my time. I volunteer to help with events and activities at church. I help distribute food for the hungry. I write letters to kids in third world countries. I volunteer at my children’s schools. But, I’ve never really asked God if this was the best use of my time. I mean, why wouldn’t it? Teaching, helping, loving…these are all things we are commanded to do, right?

The simple fact is, I have been doing what I think God would want me to do without really consulting Him.

Here’s a hum-dinger of a question: What if God wanted you to do less? *jaw drops* Most Americans would consider that completely counterproductive. We think that by doing more, we are increasing our impact on the world, but that’s not necessarily true. If we did less, we’d be able to spend more energy focusing on a few, and that has the potential to impact the world way more than a person who is overextended in her obligations. Numbers don’t matter; changed lives is what counts most. What if we spent more time focusing on a wayward child, a sick neighbor, a friend who’s having a hard time or maybe something as simple as taking better care of your home so that there more peace in your family?

Yesterday I opened up a blank 2011 calendar and asked God to fill the pages Himself; to guide me in my decision-making and show me how I should best use my time.

Maybe God is asking you to do less, maybe He’s asking you to do more….the real question is: have you asked Him at all?

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16 Responses to Time Management

  1. Great post! I actually have this book, but I’ve never read it. I should go dust if off and read. Thanks!
    -FringeGirl

  2. Jessica says:

    I overwhelm easily (which equals me stressed out, impatient, and not a pleasant parent). And that’s why I choose to have a less-is-more approach to traditional extra curricular activities for my children. It seems like every other Christian family I know is involved in Upwards sports. Soccer, basketball, etc. But it takes up a lot of their time. It sucks up their Saturday mornings. It stretches them thinner. Some people can handle this gracefully. I cannot. I would actually damage my relationship with my kids in trying to juggle it. So I choose to say no to some stuff like that, to preserve that connection with them. Because keeping a loving, whole, relationship with my kids is a top priority for me. So I just look for activities we can do together, on our own time, instead of someone else’s. Seriously. Who wants to get up early on a Saturday? Lol.

    (Sorry for turning this into a parenting angle) 🙂

    • Megan says:

      I know what you mean: part of me thrives on stress and part of me NEEDS calm/peace/quiet (a.k.a. I overwhelm easily). I’ve always been a “live your calendar to its fullest” kind of gal, but lately I’ve started heading the opposite direction. It’s been a surprising and eye-opening experience.

  3. JD says:

    Megan, I so needed to hear this this week, today… There’s a lot going on in our family this year, with adoption, a mission trip to Africa, 10 Compassion kids, family/church/work, etc, and I think the only way it won’t become overwhelming is to put Him first and let Him prioritize our time management for us.

    I have read the book, I have applied SO much of what Francis Chan has taught, but this is one issue that I need to be more intentionally conscious of. I need reminders. I’m not sure if I’m doing too much or too little, what I do know is that I have been questioning this in the last few weeks, asking Him to help me with priorities and balance, to show me what He asks of me, and I need to increase my prayers in this area.

  4. Great post! I have this book on my “to read” list — after I finish The Bible. 🙂 I love the part about asking God to fill the calendar. Good stuff!!

    • Megan says:

      I feel a little “behind the times” since I’m just now reading Crazy Love (most people read it last year), but I’m just glad I finally got around to it. I didn’t think I’d manage anything else with all my Bible reading! Hang in there!! 🙂

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  6. Paula Wisdom says:

    Meggie, this can be a very difficult way to live in the good ole USA. Living in the moment-slowing it all down- being intentional… The run- ragged people might accuse you of being lazy or boring or stuck-up. Sometimes, you have to do battle with that pesky little voice in your head that tells you that being productive is only achieved with activity. Fast is really good for e-mail, but chaos-less peace is good, too.

  7. Laura says:

    I’ve heard it said, you have to say no to really good things in order to say yes to the best. And that not every need is a calling. Ugh… so hard to do sometimes. Thanks for the reminder to ask God. 🙂

  8. jtousey says:

    Hi Megan! (I think this is my first comment.)
    I love Francis Chan so much, mostly because he makes me realize some very obvious truths. This one you’re talking about is so important! And I am like you in that I will fill my life with really good, God-filled things without ever consulting him on it. I really think that one reason we moved to Maryland last year was so God could clear my calendar and we could start fresh. So I have been really deliberate in taking this time to focus more on his will for my life and my schedule, focusing more on my husband, our children and our home. It’s been a really great year; all we’ve done as far as ministry/missions goes is Compassion and getting plugged in at our new church. I am praying now for his guidance for where and when to get involved in our community, but I am trying this new and revolutionary thing for me where I WAIT for him before I jump into something.

    And as for feeling “behind the times” with reading the book, I have found that I tend to read books like this just when I need to hear them. I felt like I was late to the Crazy Love party, too, but I read it at the perfect time for me to really hear what Chan was saying without getting all wadded up over it.

    Thanks for this post!

    • Megan says:

      Yes, that’s kind of what happened to me as well. We moved to Texas just when I was finishing up grad school in May after several years of general scheduled craziness. When we got here, I didn’t find a job and I was kind of bummed (actually, I had guilt about not using my degree), but it’s turned out to be a real blessing. It has allowed me to slowly transition into my new community and discover where I should spend my time. It’s still a work-in-progress, but isn’t it always?

  9. Ooh Crazy Love is on the “The List” for 2011. Now that I read your “not-review” 🙂 I’m even more excited. The idea of doing less for God has been a huge struggle over the past few years. I don’t like limiting myself to just a few things and I love diving in to new projects. I’m like a wild fruit tree. I so badly want to bear fruit so I grow hundreds of branches, but they’re all thin and weak and bear only thin, weak fruit. God is pruning me back so my branches are strong and bear strong fruit, full of His life.

    Great stuff!

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