“There’s not enough time to do all of this!” or “24 hours is NOT enough!” Do these phrases sound familiar? Perhaps they are even part of your daily vocabulary; at least, I know that they certainly have been for me.
I started thinking like this (and saying those phrase often) during my freshman year of college. While I tended to be fairly independent in my teenage years with various responsibilities, this was my first year away from home and “out of the house.” Almost instantly, I felt the immediate pressure that there wasn’t enough time to do the things that I “needed” to do. The following was constantly running through my mind:
grow in your relationship with Jesus, do well in your classes, spend time with Nathan (he was my boyfriend at the time, my now husband), take care of yourself by eating properly, sleeping, and working out, stay connected with other believers and the local church, work hard to pay for school, don’t forget to clean your dorm room and do laundry, invest in friendships, family time
….and everything else inbetween
While of course all of those things above are good things, I found myself struggling to do it all and often felt on the verge of tears if I was neglecting a certain area (which was always). Constantly overwhelmed, I remember thinking ahead that when I graduated, things would certainly change and become easier. In many ways, it did – but soon that extra time was filled up with new and different things and I found myself in the same dilemma as before – “There’s not enough time.”
Early into Nathan and I’s marriage, we talked about this frustration and we kept thinking, “This can’t be right. God never intended us to constantly feel behind and feel like we’re never enough – defeated even. So, what is this supposed to look like?”
And then the Lord brought us to the book of Genesis where He created the heavens and the earth as our version of time began: 24 hours. He reminded us that He is the Author and Creator of time and that His ways are perfect. [click to tweet ->]
As we began to think on this, we started to examine our thought process:
Furthermore, if we found ourselves overwhelmed – it wasn’t a result of the lack of time. While poor time management often played a role, we mainly felt overwhelmed due to the unrealistic expectations we put on our of ourselves for that current week or season of life. In other words, instead of asking the Lord what He would have us do – we took things into our own hands and placed certain responsibilities on ourselves that God never intended for us to take on.
So what does this practically look like in response to this new mindset?
- First, I strongly believe that if you have put your faith in Jesus, everything flows out of our relationship with Him and our connection with the local Church. We can be certain that first and foremost, we are called to grow in relationship with Jesus and with other believers. Moreover, spending time with Jesus individually each day and then corporately throughout the week. In John chapter 15, we find that there is nothing of value that can take place outside of “remaining in [Him] vs 4″ and that we are not to get out of the habit of meeting together with other believers (Hebrews 10:25).” These are not just great things – these are the best things. This is how we can keep our attention on Who is most important, and He knows we will thrive as a result of it. And because this is the calling of every Christ-follower, we can be confident that He has provided a way/the time for it to happen.
- Next, recognize what season you are in. Are you a new mom? Did you just start a new job that requires more time upfront? Are you a student? Are there more meetings and appointments this week than last week? Did a circumstance change and so now also, there is a shift on what should be towards the top of the list? Allow recognizing and accepting the season you are in release you from the things that currently aren’t meant to take up most of your time.
- From there, you can ask the Lord to give you wisdom on how and where to pursue and invest your time in everything else. This might look different from day to day and that’s okay. Instead of relying on habit, or what everybody else does, rely on what Jesus has called you to do, and do it wholeheartedly.
- There will always be an area that doesn’t get as much attention – an area you are going to have to say no to. And that’s okay. We can’t do everything all in one day. And sometimes, “no” simply means “not now, but soon.”
- It’s about progress, not perfection. We won’t always get it right. I thank God for His new mercies every morning, and how He has such a way of redirecting our focus on what He’s called us to when we ask Him.
While this certainly isn’t a fix-all solution, I do believe that our actions and choices stem from within. With that said, I can’t tell you how much freedom I have personally experienced since adapting this new mindset.
I used to go to bed frantically thinking over all that I didn’t get done that day. Now I am resting much easier, knowing that I invested my time in what He wanted me to do because I asked Him first. Instead of saying yes to everything that jumps out at me, and then regretting it later when the time came, He has given me the confidence to say no to things ahead of time that aren’t needed in my day and schedule without feeling guilty. Instead of trying to figure it all out on my own, asking Jesus what He wants me to do and inviting Him into each day has brought me so much peace. And instead of worrying about what area is being neglected, I’ve chosen to trust God that there is a time and a season for everything.
Do you ever feel like the 24 hours in the day are not enough? What ways have helped you prioritize what is most important?
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