Schedules and plans and routines - oh my - three words that are not essential parts of my vocabulary! What about you? I know many people plan, have set routines and schedules, but I never seem to be able to pull it off...at least not for any length of time. They say it takes 21 days for a habit to form. If I can just stick with a "plan" or a "system" for 21 days, then maybe it will stick! The problem is, I don't know how to make myself stick with the program.
I had a supervisor at a job once who helped me see, somewhat, what my trouble with time is: for me, time is fluid, not concrete. I don't see time in little blocks that can be stacked or lined up and rearranged at will, but rather as a large, constantly moving mass that is just all over everywhere at any given moment. Multi-tasking is not my strong suit, really. For example, as I type this right now I am burning a pancake. Why? Because I was checking some blogs while my sourdough pancakes were cooking and came across this great post at Graceful Abandon about 21-Day Meal Planning. Which inspired me to blog about time, planning, and schedules. And the next thing I know, I turn around and notice the burners under my skillets are still on...and I had a foggy notion about cooking something...OH NO!! MY PANCAKES!! Seriously...I may need some medication...
Fluid is dynamic. It is powerful. It can carve through granite over time...when it is channeled properly. It takes on the shape of any container it's put in, so it's also flexible and easily manipulated. It can also quickly engulf a low-lying area and destroy and drown everything within when it is out of control. What a perfect analogy for time in my life. When I think of all of the good, productive things I could have done with time wasted or just not channeled properly, I want to cry. I'm turning 40 this year...and can never get one mismanaged second of those 40 years back for a "do over."
I have to chuckle a little...when I came up with the name for this blog, I was set on living my life on purpose with the principles I hold dear. And yet, a year might have gone by...I can't remember for sure when I started this blog...and I still struggle with the same issues when it comes to time and the management thereof. My purpose each day is vaguely to get up, get through the day, go to bed and start all over...hopefully doing something important that will have a positive impact in the light of eternity. I don't really think I'm doing what I set out to do. So, the chuckle turns to remorse...and a renewed sense of determination to finally tame time.
Just as with the changes I've made in how I cook and what we eat were made with a little here and a little there, along with plenty of grace for the times we end up eating something less than ideal, I also have to try and implement changes in this area in baby steps too. I can't wake up tomorrow and be instantly scheduley and routiney, no matter how much I may desire that. But what change to start with first?
First, I need to remember to not solely rely upon my own understanding...
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.
My devotional times need to include checking in with God about His plans for my day...fortunately, His plans for me are good, and I will find them when I seek Him with my whole heart...
For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart.
Ultimately, my priorities need to be in line with God's heart and will for my life each day. No amount of time management, scheduling, planning or routines will matter at all if I am not living fully and purposefully for God. And as my priorities line up with God's, my days will become more purposeful, more meaningful, and more satisfying. I have to remember that life is more than checking off items on a to-do list...but that to-do list, that routine, plan or schedule - if implemented properly - will allow me to live more purposefully and have more time to devote to the things that matter most...
Serving my God
Loving my family
Blessing my friends
Reaching the lost
and savoring really, really good coffee...