Therefore see that you walk carefully (living life with honor, purpose, and courage; shunning those who tolerate and enable evil), not as the unwise, but as wise (sensible, intelligent, discerning people), making the very most of your time (on earth, recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence), because the days are (filled with) evil. Ephesians 5:15-17 (AMP)
It was another evening of uncontrollable stress and endless work toward unrealistic deadlines. But I took great pride in how I could multitask and get an unimaginable amount of work done in 24 hours … and spend nearly 24 hours straight plugging away at it.
I came home to darkness (it was past bedtime) and a plate of leftovers cooked by my husband 5 hours prior. As I walked in, the beautiful wall clock at the entrance to our home–a gift from my husband’s company given to us about the same time we got married–crashed to the floor. Fortunately, the clock only had a small, unnoticeable dent and still works to this day … but it did destroy three pieces of my favorite pottery and glass vases that resided below it. Sadly, I swept up the broken pieces in tears, ate my reheated dinner and went to bed way too late.
To this day, we do not know how or why the clock crashed at that very moment, other than to communicate a message for me. A warning. I didn’t slam the door as I walked in. I didn’t touch the clock or brush against it. When that clock fell, it was a perfect metaphor for how I had been living my life. I was spending my precious time … a gift from God … on foolish things that were destroying the precious “pottery” and gifts in my life. I had more to do, but I wasn’t doing the most important things because I spent all my time on a career and being successful … or at least my idea of success at that time.
Why do we hesitate to invest time in what matters most? I’m talking about true priorities, true callings (Why do so many of us not focus on discovering and knowing them?). We often hear the sayings life is short and live life to the fullest, but how do we actually DO that rather than say it like so many empty sayings we often speak but don’t truly do?
That’s how I’ve been about writing and sharing my heart for so many years. I’m in no way saying I’m full of knowledge and wisdom in my own power. I know that God has filled me with a longing to speak to others, especially women, on subjects and issues that are constantly top-of-mind. Yet, I’ve been doing some, but not all that I’m called to do. My full-time career is now with a ministry where writing is one of my main responsibilities, and I’m also now a worship director at my church. I’ve spent my entire life working on most of my callings, but procrastinating on this one, and it has been weighing on my heart for some time now.
And perhaps you feel this way. You are excelling at your career, you’re doing what it takes as a parent, spouse or family member, but there is at least one thing missing. That thing you love to do, the one you know God has called you to do, but you just don’t know how to find the time.
Well, honey, if you want to hear from someone that’s struggled with time, you found the right girl. I was once a workaholic that almost completely gave up the people, responsibilities and passions that made me who I am. I was surrounded by like-minded people that didn’t understand how to help me or even help themselves at the time … and I watched some of them wait until it was too late and lost the most important things in their life: most often their marriages, families or even their health and well-being.
I could go into the insecurities and spiritual weaknesses that lead us to that lifestyle, and I will later, because that is often the root of our shortcomings. But right now, I want to focus on time and how God provides us with His time for complete joy and to fulfill his callings.
The key verses above, found in Ephesians, perfectly describes the way we are to spend our time and make “the very most” of it through wise discernment. And this discernment comes from spending time with God, through prayer and studying His word through Bible scripture. Even if it’s just getting up 15, 30 or 45 minutes earlier to spend time reading a devotional, a study Bible and starting the day with prayer, it’s a great start to prepare you for the day with more peace and focus.
And that time with God leads to wiser decisions. And wiser decisions lead to living life to the fullest. 1 John 2:17 says The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. Our focus on God’s will and work is everlasting.
I’m not saying our careers are not a priority … they absolutely are. Our career is part of our calling and a very integral part of our lives, and therefore we’re to look to God for direction in our work, whether it be in an office, studio, warehouse, out and about or in our homes. Find balance through Him, establish relationships strengthened by Him, and let’s find our best use of time through Him.
It may just be the approach that helps you avoid a night of sweeping up broken pieces in the dark.
‘For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’ Jeremiah 29:11
A man’s mind plans his way (as he journeys through life), but Lord directs his steps and establishes them. Proverbs 16:19
So teach us to number our days, that we may cultivate and bring to You a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12