Think about how you spend your “extra time.” What do you do? Who do you do it with? Can you live without it?
It seems like in today’s world that we have become a me-focused, justifying, entitlement society.
Have you ever thought any of these thoughts?
- “I’m the mom.”
- “I do so much around here.”
- “I deserve it.”
- “I’m the dad.”
- “I work hard.”
- “I deserve it.”
I know I have thought these thoughts, but when you really break it down, I am actually saying:
- “It is all about me.”
- “Here are my reasons and justifications on why I am more important.”
- “I am entitled to this and you will not stop me.”
Okay, so we have all fallen into this way of thinking a time or two, but how do we get out? As I was thinking about this these five questions came to mind. You can ask yourself each of these to make sure you are spending your time on something valuable and not wasteful. Before you read through the questions, think about when you have thought the above thoughts. What were you trying to do or felt like you had the right to do? Keep that in mind as you answer these questions.
1.) Have you prayed about it? Have you spent the time to ask God if this is the way He would like you to spend your time? After you pray about it, do you have peace that gives you the go light or do you feel like you need to give more reasons on why it is important? Justification is a sign that maybe you aren’t supposed to be doing it.
2.) How does this activity leave you feeling the next day? Do you feel refreshed and ready to tackle another day, or are you tired and drained? Do you feel filled up, or totally emptied? Did the event leave you with lasting joy, or just fleeting happiness?
3.) How did this activity prepare you to interact with others? Are you refreshed, renewed, ready to serve and love others after you have been away, or are you crabby and annoyed that they now want something from you? When you are around others do they feel wanted and accepted by you, or put on the back burner, rejected, unwanted and a burden because they interfere with your extracurricular activities?
4.) How does this activity consume your thought life? Are you dying to go to it, or can you wait patiently until the next opportunity presents itself? Do you plan your life around this activity, or do you fit it when it works for you and those around you?
5.) Does it have a positive or negative effect on eternity? Every moment of the day does not have to be eternity focused, but if we participate in an activity on a fairly regular basis (1-2 times a month or more) it should line up with our goals and our purpose here on earth. Does the activity encourage you or others to be more Christ-like? Does it allow you to refocus and keep your priorities in line? Are you investing in relationships, or putting a dent in them?
So many things vie for our time and attention. We need to purposefully fill our time with good things, things that will build us and others up, not cause things to remain as they are or fall apart. Make sure you are setting yourself up for success. Prioritize your day. Make sure you start your day with God – pray and spend time in His Word. Even if it is just for five minutes, it will be five minutes worth spending. Allow time to eat and sleep. Then commit time to investing in your family and friends. Be purposeful with building those relationships – it will come in handy someday! Then give your job the time and effort that it deserves. Make sure you are working at it like Jesus is your boss. After you have devoted your time to these efforts look at what you have left. Make a list of ways you would like to spend it. Then take each item through the above five questions and see what is remaining at the end. You may feel like you are missing out on some fun things, but doing God’s will is always the best choice. It will give you the deepest satisfaction and joy that will replace any activity!
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