“Your schedule is causing you to become someone. Is it causing you to become a workaholic dad, a chronically exhausted mom, a distracted employee . . . ?
Or is it causing you to become a devoted follower of Christ, a responsible financial steward, a formidable prayer warrior, a faithful friend?
Your schedule is causing you to become someone. The question is, what do you think of who you’ve become?” (Bill Hybels)
What does my schedule say about me? If I were to project 5, 10, 15 years into the future, do I like what I will become? Do people around me know that I am a devoted follower of Christ simply by observing what I fill my days with, or do they see my life cluttered with non-essentials that will not matter once I pass from this life into eternity?
If you, like me, have lived any amount of time at a pedal-to-the-metal pace, you know that it may be time to re-evaluate. Time to look at our schedule, hour by hour, and minute by minute, prioritizing and cutting out, prayerfully moving and shifting things. That can be an extremely difficult thing to do. I believe the only way we can effectively accomplish this, is to realign ourselves with Scripture. I’m not sure when this happened, but over time, in our culture, we have bought into the lie that life is about success, prosperity, a certain job and lifestyle, scholarships for our kids, clothes, food, running from activity to activity, and the pressure of fitting into other people’s molds. And before we know it, we lie flat on our faces, panting, sweating, and exhausted.
However, the Bible clearly lays out our need for simple, whole-hearted, single-minded focus on what’s truly important. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talks at length about our human tendency to strive, worry, and labour for things that are corruptible and prone to decay. He also states, quite bluntly, that people who don’t believe in God (pagans) live their lives in this manner, and that we, as believers, should be radically different. Then He gives us the solution in Matthew 6:33-34: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
What does that practically look like? We need to write down everything we do throughout a day, how much time we spend on each task, and then take our mess to Jesus and ask Him to help us untangle our lives. We need to determine what is truly important and essential, and what energizes us rather than depletes our energy. Is there any time throughout my day when I spend some meaningful time with my Heavenly Father? Do I take the time to listen to Him and give Him space to work in me? Maybe my life is so busy that I don’t have the time or energy to devote more than scraps to Him. If that’s the case, it is time to cut ruthlessly! We will never become the people we want to be if we spend our time on things that produce the opposite fruit. Here is a question to ask:
“What would my schedule look like if God were in charge of it?”
Would He tell me to look for a less toxic job, to downsize, to say “No”, to pull my children out of a couple of extracurricular activities? Would He tell me to spend more time with my spouse and kids, to slow down and commune with Him? To take a deep breath and then embrace the things He places before me, not the things I think I should be involved in?
The twelfth month of the year is upon us – may we use this opportunity to finish the year well, to spend much time in prayer and contemplation, to change things around, to cut out whatever it is that would hinder us from becoming more like Jesus, and then go forward into the new year as faithful stewards of each day God gives us.