Before this semester started, I was pretty nervous. Not exactly nervous about my classes, but about how I would be able to juggle the full-time load along with my family life, job, projects, and responsibilities. And really, compared to the lives of some people, I wouldn’t even come close to “busy.” It’s a relative term. But it all seemed busy enough to me and I was kinda scared. I really didn’t want to be in that constant stress mode, feeling scattered and disorganized all the time.
Fast forward several weeks and after getting a feel for my class load, I can say very thankfully that it’s not nearly as bad as I’d anticipated, especially since all of my classes are online. But you know what else has helped me? Making a list and sticking to it. Devising a schedule which lays out my day and which will help me to be consistently disciplined. There are some excellent tools available to help me do this, which I’ll be covering in a future post.
I read this morning that sometimes the very hardest things to do are those which are small and seemingly unimportant. Having discipline to do the not-so-fun things that we want to avoid for as long as possible is tough. But the little things we do in life – the way we use each 15 minute block of time – add up. I’ll freely admit that I don’t always make the best choices about managing my time. I can get distracted and the time seems to fly away from me. Yet….
“Being faithful in the smallest things is the way to gain, maintain, and demonstrate the strength needed to accomplish something great.”
-from Do Hard Things
Faithfulness means being steadfast, consistent, always there, depended upon. In application of this concept: wherever you are, be all there. We can’t be in two places at once and rushing something never accomplished much anyway. Here is a list of practical ways I’ve thought up to implement this challenge of “being all there.” I wrote it out for myself, really. These are things I am trying to work on and I thought I would share them with you as well.
When trying to tackle a hard math concept or turn in a writing assignment on time, give it your full concentration and don’t mosey over to Facebook or your blog feed for a “brain break.” It’s easy to get lost in the internet and spend waaay too much time online, even if you’re reading some great articles.
When having coffee with a friend or family member, fully engage in the conversation and enjoy it! One-on-one time with those closest to us is a huge gift. Don’t be distracted by all you have to do afterwards.
When you’re in church worshipping the Lord, do it with all your heart and don’t let your mind wander over the past week or the week ahead.
When cleaning the house, at work, volunteering, or ministering in some way – whatever it is – go the extra mile and give it your best effort. The people around you will appreciate you for it and you’ll accomplish more than you thought was possible.
When having dinner with your family, playing a family game, or watching a family movie, put the phone away and don’t be distracted by text messages or your twitter feed. Most can wait. Family time cannot, is limited, and is a priceless time investment.
When you exercise, go all out and enjoy it. Exercise should not be something you dread. If you don’t like to run or bike, try walking, lifting, or doing a workout video instead!
When you spend time with the Lord in secret, quiet your heart before Him and ask Him to help you remove all distractions in your mind so that you can focus and leave with a cup filled to overflowing.
All of these things – devotions, relationships, school, work, play – are huge blessings! I never want to lose sight of the fact that all is grace in my life in the first place. I want to be a better steward of what I’ve been given and be purposeful about doing all to the glory of God. We are all given the priceless gift of time, our most valuable resource. It can’t be bought or hoarded away. Every moment is fleeting, never to return.
24 hours. Every day. How will we choose to use our time this very day?