There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.
Since December is the season of giving, my blogs this month surround the theme of “Gifts Galore.” Each week we have a new gift to open and use. Last week’s gift was a CALENDAR which represents the gift of TODAY. Because each day is a gift to open and treasure.
This week’s gift goes hand-in-hand with last week’s because it is a CLOCK, and a clock represents the gift of TIME. This quote by Rick Warren, Author of A Purpose-Driven Life, explains this wonderful gift of time:
Time is your most precious gift because you only have a set amount of it. You can make more money, but you can’t make more time. When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back. Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.”
So, considering the time of year, we can certainly feel overwhelmed because we just do not seem to have enough time to get everything done that needs to be done. Are you throwing up your hands or pulling out your hair yet? If so, you are definitely not alone.
I have a question that I had to ask myself: Do you want your loved ones to have good memories of you stressed out this December, or do you want them to remember the moments of pure unscheduled fun? I am choosing the latter. Schedules, systems, organization and preparation are a must until they inhibit the joy of ENJOYING the ride. And I want to ENJOY the season, not endure it.
We set ourselves up for stress and frustrations often times because we have forgotten to view this precious gift of TIME as that—a gift. Instead we fill these fleeting seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, a lifetime with STUFF that does nothing more than bring sleepless nights and unfulfilled dreams. A major culprit to this problem of never having enough time is that:
What we expect of ourselves isn’t always what others want.
And, more importantly what God has in store for us. Why am I talking about this? Because I’m GUILTY of EXPECTING too much from myself—and then I find out that what I think I HAVE to do is only what I’ve trained others to expect from me.
Together, maybe we can come up with some ways to better view TIME AS A GIFT instead of something we are always running out of. Below are just a few things that I’m committing to in the midst this time-crunch issue; I’d love to hear your ideas as well—so please share in the comment section how you view the gift of TIME as just that.
ASK WHAT THEY WANT! Ask the question: ‘What’s most important to you?” Over on The Center for ELITE Women Communicators site, I shared a video blog a couple of weeks ago called: “Nine Words Your Audience Is Waiting To Hear You Say.” Quite frankly, those nine words can be used in your personal life as well, and they are perfect for this time of year. When we know what others want from us, we can then provide the solution. Often times what they want is less painful than we may think. Before we ask what others want or what we want, it’s really best to take it to God and say—what do YOU want?
LOWER EXPECTATIONS of yourself! I don’t mean loosing your principles or lightening up on quality—instead be reasonable with yourself and give yourself permission to say—NO to what YOU expect of yourself. When you let go of your expectations, that allows all those around you to breath a little easier and ease their own expectations of you. It’s never too late to start a new tradition that alleviates stress in your own life; thus allowing more freedom to choose. And, remember God’s expectations of us is actually rather simple (from The Message):
“Keep company with me…” ~ Psalm 37:4
“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God!” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6
I love that: RUN TO GOD! In all the running of these last few days before Christmas, let’s not forget to RUN TO HIM!
CUT IT OUT! Even as I write this, there is a visual in my head from the 80’s show, Full House, where Joey and Uncle Jesse are goofing around and Joey uses his hand signal of cutting something out. For this blog, it’s actually called prioritizing. Are there things that you are trying to squeeze in because it was a goal or maybe one of those expectations you placed on yourself, but honestly, it’s not that important right now so you can eliminate it from that too long to do list? I’m one of those people who loves to be involved, busy, helpful, and I used to have a hard time saying NO to things. I no longer do, because I’ve studied the importance of prioritizing and have a much better understanding of my limits. What can you cut out of your schedule that will free up time for the most important things? Look at your list, your calendar, your schedule and decide to CUT IT OUT! I just did this a couple of days ago, and guess what; I feel a whole lot better today! What I chose to cut out wasn’t anything super special, but it sure freed up the energy and space it was taking up in my mind and on my calendar.
PREPARE AHEAD of time! The picture in this blog is a little sign I found in a small shop a couple of months ago. I bought it for a few individuals in my family—whose names shall not be mentioned for the sake of peace. These individuals wait until the last minute for everything, and then get frustrated because they are always late or submitting projects at the last minute. Their procrastination is their biggest drawback to accomplishing more and being on time. When we are facing mountains of responsibilities and deadlines, the best thing we can do is PREPARE ahead of time and PACE ourselves.
TAKE A TIME OUT! Sometimes all we need to do is catch our breath and regroup. When we step away from the madness, the goals, deadlines and responsibilities, we do something really huge–we gain PERSPECTIVE. Sometimes, putting on new glasses and taking a deep breath is all we need to regroup and get back in the game. My favorite thing to do and something we’ve been able to do because of the beautiful weather is to take a prayer walk. Yes—I go take a walk in nature and talk and listen to my heavenly Father. He refreshes me and even better REMINDS me what’s MOST important—and it’s the gift He gave through his Son.
I know this blog is long, but my hope is that you TOOK A TIME OUT to read it. My bigger hope is that you are REFRESHED and have a few ideas to help you get through the final days of Christmas preparations. Remember—this season is about HIM! Not us! .
Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving.
May we be like Mary, sitting at our Savior’s feet just listening and savoring who He is.
Celebrate the season by giving yourself the gift of TIME and savor the Savior.