Day 1: Making Time Count
Imagine a day like this.
You awake in the morning. You lie there a moment and thank God for a good night’s rest and for the opportunities of a new day. Then you stop and think, what day is it? Monday? Yes, it’s Monday. You pray that you will honor God in all you do today, and you roll out of bed and head for the shower, trying to recall your to-do list for the day. At work you have meetings at 9:00 and 2:00. You have a birthday lunch that’s been planned for more than a week. You’ll have to stay focused to make any progress on your assignments today. Then the kids have a soccer game after school, and you have a civic organization meeting tonight. It looks like dinner on the run. Catch-up with your spouse will be on the run with a cell phone again. You’ve just got to plan a date for the two of you soon.
You get home about 9:30, check on the kids, and say good night. You look through the mail; decide you are too tired to read the newspaper; and check your e-mail, voice mail, and text messages one last time for the day while you grab a snack to make up for the dinner you skipped. You fall asleep watching the evening news, get up, and collapse into bed.
Before you fall asleep, you thank God for the day. Then you remember everything you didn’t get done today and what you need to do tomorrow. You recall that you had intended to take out the garbage tonight since tomorrow is pickup day. You fall asleep reminding yourself that taking out the garbage is your first priority in the morning.
No one wants garbage to be the day’s first priority. How did life get to be this crazy and hectic? You long to slow down, to live with greater meaning and intentionality. You want the simple life.
Day 1 From Busy to Purposeful
Like most people today, you are busy, there’s no question about that. But the more you think about it, the more you wonder where your life is going. Where is all the busyness taking you? On your most recent significant birthday ending in a zero, you began to add up the hours and the days and paused to consider whether you were spending them the way you would if you had a choice.
Do you have a choice? Many people are considering their choices in how they are living their hours and their days. And they are choosing to simplify their lives. Instead of letting other people, events, and obligations determine their priorities, they are reevaluating their lives, making some hard decisions, and setting a new course, a new direction in life. So many are taking these steps that you could say there’s a simple revolution going on.
If you feel that your life is out of control, that you are not spending your limited time and money on the things that are most important to you, that circumstances you have allowed to take over your life are hurting your relationships with people and with God, then perhaps you too want to become a revolutionary.
\/\/hat has been the worst part of your day?
Stressed-out is not how God intends for us to live. Read what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount about worrying:
This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the sky: they don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying? And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don’t labor or spin thread. Yet l tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! If that’s how God clothes the grass of the held, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you-you of little faith? So don’t worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matt. 6:25-34).
What are the greatest sources of worry and stress in your life at present?
How do Jesus’ words about worrying apply to your situation?
God said to Jeremiah, “l know the plans I have for you . . . plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jer. 29: 11).
Are you so busy that you might be missing out on God’s plans for you both now and in the future?
Examine four significant areas of your life:
Two of these areas deal with your limited resources-time and money. And two deal with relationships with other people-spouse, children other family members, friends, coworkers-and with God.
Are you satisfied with the way you spend your time and your money?
Are you satisfied with your relationships with your family-spouse, children, other family members, friends, coworkers-and with God?
Would you make some changes if someone outlined a process to help you make the changes you desire?
You may find that you are right where you want to be and where you believe God wants you to be in these four areas of your life. You may discover that you want to make small changes in your life in one or two areas. Or you may find that at least one area of your life needs a bigger shift.
When you make adjustments in one area, you affect the others. For example, if you decide to save more money for retirement, you’ll have to cut back on something else. If you decide to cut back on entertainment, it may mean your kids won’t have the newest electronic game system, and you might have to delay the purchase of the digital camera you wanted for your next vacation. And your vacation might also be delayed or shortened! I-low will that affect your relationships with family members?
You may decide to spend more time in daily devotionals. You’d like to do that first thing in the morning. Can you do that and help get the kids off to school? Can you do that and continue to carpool? This simple shift to work on your relationship with God will impact your time and your relationships with others.
Can you think of a change that would make your life better, simpler, or more purposeful? How? Write down your thoughts.
As you examine your time, relationships, money, and God, you’ll follow a four-step process:
Taking these actions can help you move from chaos to control, from meaningless busyness to purpose and fulfillment. ls it simple? Yes. Easy? No. You’ll find that following the four-step process in each area of your life (time, relationships, money, and God) is doable. It will make a huge difference in your life. But it won’t always he easy. Saying yes to redirecting your life so that you can maximize your priorities means saying no to some time-stealing, money-guzzling activities and relationships
Choosing the simple life means eliminating some things in life that you may enjoy in order to elevate those things that are most important.