I have been pondering this week the common dilemma of not enough time. This seems to be a ubiquitous problem, shared by working parents and stay-at-home parents and non-parents alike, spanning age ranges from childhood to late adulthood. Other monikers for this invasive plague include “I’m too busy” or “there aren’t enough hours in the day,” as though somehow the state of our personal calendars ought to determine the celestial rhythms of the sun and moon. We talk as though more time is what we need in order to accomplish more or find more rest. Have you ever heard someone proclaim “I don’t have time to sleep!” Many of us have come to almost brag about our state of constant frenzy, but the truth of the matter is our over-scheduled and overextended selves are suffering from constantly cramming in more.
My own challenge in this area has become apparent as I navigate my transition from staying home full time with my kids to venturing back into the working world. It can be tricky to regularly account for time spent, reorganize priorities, and adapt practical habits to new ways of thinking. My husband recently called me to the mat for not taking a more proactive stance with my time management. Though it was uncomfortable to acknowledge, he was right that my days were aimless and disordered. On top of that, I have often assumed the role of victim, lamenting my lack of efficiency as though my time has been stolen from me. I have not committed to taking ownership of the time set before me.
The truth is my time is never stolen from me. It cannot be. I am the only one with the power to spend it, and the way those hours and minutes are spent are a direct reflection of what matters to me. The same way our money spending habits reveal the priorities of our hearts, the way we spend our time does the same. Jesus counseled to “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:20-21) How we spend our time may, in fact, reveal more about our priorities than how we spend our money because our time is a finite resource. We only have so much of it and once it’s gone it’s gone. Given that, perhaps we ought to approach time from a new perspective.
I have come to view time in a new way. Rather than bemoan its scarcity, I am considering how I can best use what I have. Instead of complaining I have too much to do, I am thinking about how I can use this limited resource to help me focus on what matters most. The reality is I have as much time in my day as the President of the United States, the bestselling author, the star athlete, and my remarkable neighbor who juggles raising kids and maintaining a home and running marathons and volunteering in the community. I don’t need to do all the things they do, but it’s time I assess my own race and run it on purpose.
Honestly, I have enjoyed using my kids as an alarm clock for the past many years. But my habit of indulgent mornings is not conducive to the current stage I’m in of transition and growth. It was a beautiful thing while it lasted, but I need to recognize that a new season calls for new habits of time. The reality is, my challenge is not “not enough time” but “so many distractions.” I know the distractions aren’t abating any time soon, so I’ve decided to take the wheel and drive my own time. We all have time to spend. Let’s spend it with intention.