A riddle: Some spend it wisely, while others fritter it away. No one can save it. Everyone, both those who have spent it wisely and those who have spent it foolishly receives a fresh supply the next day. What is it?
Over the last few months, every now and then a recurring question has come to my mind: “How am I spending my time?”
I’m not talking about my main “job”, that of being a mom – I’m thinking about the other bits of time that I have. Am I using the twenty-four hours that I (and we all) have been given, in the best possible way?
God’s Word says, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).
Am I making the best use of my time?
How should I spend/invest it? That is besides my main “day job” of being a mother (all right, “day-and-night” job for mothers of young children, but let me encourage you – it eventually becomes mostly a “day job”).
I find it so easy to simply slip in to frittering away time – picking up a book lying around – we like books in our family and there are usually some lying around that I can reach over, pick up, and open randomly (I’ve most likely read it already) and read. For. A. While.
Or looking up something on the Internet and then clicking on this link and that simply because the title catches my eye. And the time passes.
I have been writing a children’s novel for some time now (many, many years) and when I look back over the years and the time wasted here and there, why, I believe I could have finished that novel by now!
But no use crying over wasted time! It is useful, however, to take stock of what is, or has been, and seek to make wiser investments of my time.
How do I make the best use of my time?
Seeking God is always the best place to start (prepare for a little “ouchy” reality – but “ouchy” isn’t bad if it leads to good change!).
And here are some general ideas to consider regarding investing time other than our main job/ministry that God has given us:
Invest in relationships: I want to spend time with God (if you don’t know what that means, feel free to ask), with my spouse, with my children. I want my other relationships to be helpful and encouraging – if someone isn’t benefiting from the relationship, why spend precious time on it?
Use even casual encounters (cashier at the grocery check-out, child’s soccer coach or ballet teacher) to be a blessing, to bring God’s kingdom here on earth.
Refreshment: we need to rest, recharge or replenish our bodies, minds, and spirits. What does that?
Physical rest is important (am I burning the candle at both ends?) as well as exercise.
For mind and spirit, I think creative pastimes are beneficial, whether it’s art, music, writing, gardening, building, decorating, and so many, many more areas.
Entertainment – here is an area that most of us could probably use a moment to step back and think about: Movies, YouTube videos, video games, or those online games that I don’t know what they’re called, but I receive notices in my FaceBook newsfeed that my FB friends have reached this or that level in them. “Making the best use of time?” Hmm? Is it refreshing my mind and spirit or dulling them?
While I don’t play online or video games, I do enjoy watching a movie or an entertaining, or touching, or funny YouTube video, but how much of my watching is “making the best use of my time”?
Perhaps I should use the same standard as with my relationships: if it isn’t actually beneficial to someone (in this case, me), I should invest my time in something else.
As I mentioned, this question of how I have been spending my time has been one that has been recurring to me over months. Writing this blog has helped me sort things out. I see that I have invested my time wisely over the years, pouring into my children, but I have also wasted time, not always making the best use of it.
With God’s help, I intend to be more aware, more intentional, and to make better investments of my free time. How about you?