Name one thing that’s readily available, yet oh so hard to find. It’s something that never runs out, yet always seems to be in short supply. When you do have it, it seems to be gone in the blink of an eye. Oh, and did I mention that it’s free?
Do you have it yet? Have I given you enough time to figure it out?
The answer, of course, is time!
If you’re laughing, let me ask you a question, and I want you to be completely honest with yourself in answering it.
Do you really have enough time to do all the things that you want to do in life?
REALLY? If your answer is yes, considered yourself blessed, and know that you are among those who are “the exception to the rule.” I consider time management to be one of my assets, yet there are days, and even weeks, when I just don’t have enough time to do all the things that are on my “things to do” list. Come to think of it, my intention was to get this post out four days ago, well before New Year’s Day, and all of the resolutions that come with it. Yet here I sit, on New Year’s Eve (days after my self-imposed deadline) trying to wrap my thoughts up in one neat little bundle to pass along to you.
What happened? It just seems that, as usual, and for a variety of reasons, life got in my way! Well, life, and the reality that the list of things that I want to do is just too long.
I was having lunch with my friend Walt the other day, and during our conversation he was lamenting that he never seemed to have enough time to do all the things that he wanted to do. “No matter how hard I try to arrange things, I just always run out of time. It’s really frustrating, and I don’t know what to do about it.”
I had a suggestion for Walt before he even finished his statement, and it’s one that I’m going to make to you right now. And as I’m writing this, I realize that it’s one that I’m making to myself as well.
What I what to share with you is something that I stumbled upon when I first had my spiritual awakening some four plus years ago. I was re-evaluating my walk in life and my walk with the Lord, and I was desperately seeking ways to bring some semblance of order to the upheaval that was going on in my mind. I actually mentioned this exercise in one of the very first Seed of Hope posts in 2008, titled You Want to Know What?, and something tells me that it’s worth mentioning again.
You need to be alone when you try this, in a quiet environment where there are no distractions. If absolute silence is a distraction for you, as it is for some, you can put on your favorite music to fill in the background. (Preferably, soft music played at a low level.) Grab a pen and paper, then go have a seat in your favorite chair (if you have one) in your favorite room (again, if you have one). Just get comfortable.
Next, do whatever it is that best clears your mind of its “junk”. Pray. Meditate. Listen to the music. Ask the Lord for help. Ask Him to take you to “that quiet place” in your mind where you can sort things out, where you can get some clarity. Be patient. It’ll come. Take as long as you need.
When you’re there, I want you to reflect on every aspect of your life; all of it. Think about the way it is. Think about the way it could be. Think about what you have. Think about what you want. Think about what’s in your mind. Think about what’s on your heart. Think about who, or what, is important to you. Think about what you want to do.
Now, with pen in hand, I want you to write on that piece of paper the top five things from the list of all that you’ve thought about. This is about the top five priorities in your life; the five things that are most important to you. There are no rights or wrongs on this list. There are no mandatory inclusions. It’s just about what’s on your heart.
There’s just one thing that you have to remember…
There can only be five. Well, it can certainly be less than five, but definitely no more than that. Why not?
Well, I believe that many of us aspire to do so many things, and in doing so we wind up spreading ourselves too thin. So thin, that quite often that which we hold dearest and are of the most importance in our lives often get neglected, if not forgotten completely. Sadly, the end result is frustration, disillusionment, shattered dreams, failed relationships, and broken hearts.
So go ahead, pick your top five. For you, some of them may be mandatory, such as careers, finances, and family. Consequently, you’re probably only gonna have room for a couple of truly optional ones, so choose wisely when compiling your list.
Even as I write this, I’m a bit saddened by the realization that some of the things that I want to do are gonna have to take a back seat to my top five for a while. Be that as it may, this is something that I not only have to do, but want to do. Look, I’m not going to forget the other things. My commitment, first and foremost, is to my top five. If there’s time for the others, they’ll get what’s left.
I’m reminded of what Church of The Highlands Pastor Chris Hodges shared in a Sunday message just a few weeks ago. “We don’t try to do a lot of different things, but what we do, we do real well.”
Following Pastor Chris’ lead, for the next several months I’m going to limit the number of things that I really want to do this year, but I’m gonna go all-out to do those things real well.
If you make the decision to try this, I’ll remind you once again that there’s no right or wrong choices. Your list consists of whatever is on your mind and in your heart. There is, however, one suggestion that I’d like to make for you; one thing that you should include on your list.
Please, please include at least one thing that brings you joy, that fills your heart with gladness, that puts a smile on your heart, and that, if nothing else, makes you happy. We get so overwhelmed by our challenges in life that quite often we forget that we can enjoy the journey.
I believe that if you’re willing to give this a shot you’ll find that you’re a lot happier with your life and with yourself. And you’ll find that you have more time than you thought.
1. To love and serve the Lord with all that is in me every day.
2. My wife Jackie and our family.
Come on, you didn’t really think that I was gonna give you all of my list, did you? That wouldn’t be any fun. Besides, the rest is between me and God.
In closing, I want to take a moment to thank you allowing me to share my journey with you. It has truly been an incredible year for me, filled with ups and downs, but most important of all, it has been filled with God’s presence.
May your New Year be filled with God’s Blessings and His Abundance!