"Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:16 KJV
The above verse is short, but challenging. (If you want to research this verse in detail, check out Biblios). The first part of the verse tells me I need to consciously choose to make good use of my time, every day. The second part of the verse reminds me there are many things which can distract me from making the best use of my time, and many of the distractions will lead me away from God and His purpose for my life.
I am a Christ follower, mother of five young children, wife of a loving husband, a church member, a school board trustee, a piano teacher, a community member, a writer, an InScribe member and executive member, and the list goes on. Each of these commitments brings certain expectations and responsibilities. I have been wrestling with choices lately. How do I know which activities and responsibilities I should take on? Or which ones to get rid of? Other people often have a different perspective. When they criticize me for my choices, how do I respond? I only have limited time and energy. If I say "yes" to everything I enjoy and am interested in, I will go crazy or at very least do a poor job. How do I pick priorities and schedule my days?
When I was in Bible College, a teacher showed me one way of sorting through choices - POGAS
PURPOSE: What is the overarching purpose of my life? The big picture that helps keep the little things in focus? The Westminster Catechism gives one possible example:
"Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?OBJECTIVES: When I look back on my life, what do I want to be able to say I accomplished? These are the different facets that work together to help achieve my life purpose. Examples could be: Relationship with God, Family responsibilities, and Impact on my community.
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever."
GOALS: Under each objective, I should set goals. What do I want to accomplish this month or this year? Some goals will be short term. Some will be longer term. Others may be life long. For example, I am working on reading through the Bible again. I have also just started a new course with Long Ridge Writers' Group, learning how to write a novel. I find it helpful to write my goals out, because it gives me something I can check back on. Even if I need to adjust my goal, it keeps me motivated and consciously working towards something I have decided I want to do.
and SCHEDULE: How can I break my goals up into bite-sized pieces? Every day I have time that I need to use wisely. By using my goals to set my schedule, priorities and choices become easier to make. For instance, in order to read through the Bible in a year, following a daily schedule is helpful. I also need to figure out what time of day works best to do my daily reading and meditation. For me, that means getting up early and having my devotions first thing in the morning. In order to complete my writing course, I have deadlines for assignments. However, it is also helpful to carve out a specific time of day to spend on my writing. With all the responsibilities I have, this is a challenge. However, I have discovered I focus best after I put my younger kids to bed and have an hour or two to devote to writing. If I find I consistently have more to do than fits on my schedule, I need to go back to the proverbial drawing board.
How about you? What have you found helpful when sorting out your priorities and choices? How are you redeeming your time?
|Ruth L. Snyder|
Check out Ruth's blogs: www.trusteesnyder.blogspot.com (Education information) www.ruthlsnyder.com (Ruth's writing and family life) and www.earlyyearssuccess.com (Information for caregivers of children ages 0-5)
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