“I went by the field of the lazy man, and by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding; And there it was, all overgrown with thorns; its surface was covered with nettles; its stone wall was broken down. When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction; A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest; so shall you poverty come like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.” Proverbs 24:30-34
I have a spiritual director. I think anyone who wants to make sure they are staying on track with their relationship to God should consider a spiritual director. Especially as we wrestle with the events of life and how they impact us and our faith. More importantly, at least for me is the simple fact that a spiritual director holds sacred space and asks neutral questions that help us get to the sacred space within us all.
Lately, it seems, God has been directing me as it pertains to how I spend my time. I am wrestling with my schedule, something I have long done as I try to fit everything onto my calendar. When I met last with my spiritual director, he made a comment that continues to pop up in my mind as I consider all the ramifications his comment has on my calendar… actually…the ramifications it has on my life. The comment came as I was talking about how I struggle to fit everything in each day…Beth, he said, you have all the time you need to get everything done.
And here’s the thing: He is right. I do have all the time I need in order to get everything I need and want to get done accomplished. The trick is to use my time wisely ALL the time and to discern what those things are that I don’t want to do, don’t need to do, are not my task to do, but I do them anyway…I have a lot of activities in my life that I have no business doing. I would imagine you do too. Once we realize we are doing tasks that really others should be doing…when we look at all the time these activities are taking away from the activities I want and need to do, what we realize is that we actually do have all the time we need to get everything done. Or at least we will when we stop doing what others can do or the things we don’t even need to do in the first place. (Like organizing my dinner plates according to color when I put them away…yeah I might have a tendency toward some OCD)
For me, implementing what I need to do will take some time and discipline. It will also mean that I will get so much more done. I will not feel as tired. My “to do” list will have nothing on it…well, maybe it won’t be as long. I will have a sense of accomplishment that I am doing exactly what I should be doing and not feel guilty or stressed because I am always behind.
And right now…as I think about my calendar and all the activities I do, I realize that my spiritual director is right: I do have exactly all the time I need to get everything done. And guess what? So do you.
John Wesley said the following when he preached on Ephesian 5:16: “See that ye walk circumspectly,” says the Apostle in the preceding verse, “not as fools, but as wise men, redeeming the time;” saving all the time you can for the best purposes; buying up every fleeting moment out of the hands of sin and Satan, out of the hands of sloth, ease, pleasure, worldly business; the more diligently, because the present “are evil days,” days of the grossest ignorance, immorality, and profaneness.”
“Saving all the time we can for the best purposes.” Something tells me that surfing the net or binge-watching TV or scrolling through Facebook won’t make the list of productive things to do. As the above verses from Proverbs indicates, our “vineyards” will be well tending and productive when we don’t waste time in activities that add zero meaning to life. (unfortunately doing dishes adds meaning in that we continue to have clean plates to eat from) What I know is this: when I am busy doing the things I am meant to do, when I am not wasting my time but instead moving from task to task, not only do I get more done, I also find I have little time to think negatively, little time to feel down, little time to allow the world to creep into my life and I stay closer to God my creator.
So, the question for us becomes, what is the best use of our time? Every second of every day is given to us only once. How do we use each second to its best purposes? I am working on my own answers to those questions. I hope you will find your answers as well as finding ways to spend every second of every day to its best purpose. Whatever that purpose is for you and your family.