War of Time

No, I haven’t forgotten about this blog. Several people have asked me if I abandoned this blog, or if I was going to still post. I’m almost on break from school, (in fact, I should be writing my term paper for my Breads and Baking class, but I’m here writing this long overdue blog post). I decided that while I’m on break, I would try to write several blog posts ahead. I want to be able to share more with you about how God has been working in my life, and how I deal with some difficulties that I encounter, especially those that relate to my life as a single. I started this blog with the goal of edifying other single Christian girls, because I believe that we all face similar struggles.

One of my biggest  struggles in my Christian journey is to have quality time in my daily devotions and balance it with my several other activities of life. Those who know me personally, know that I’m very active. I’m not a home-body, I like to be out and about, taking advantage of life and busying myself with things. I’ve always liked to keep busy, and I don’t like to have lots of free time. I have noticed, however, that I have filled my time so much, that I lack time for the things that really matter. Time, something that is so rare nowadays, but for those things that we consider priorities we always have time.

At the moment, my goal has been to finish my bachelor’s in Culinary Arts this year. With a hectic schedule: giving around 8 weekly English classes, receiving weekly orders for cakes and baked goods, and still studying 6 classes at university, it has been especially difficult to grow my relationship with Christ. So often, I end up spending only a short amount of time reading a passage in my Bible, without really getting much nourishment. As a result, the quality of my time with God falls and my commitment to Him fails. I end up neglecting what should be my biggest life priority. Without my relationship with Christ, none of what I have or am, would be. If the urgency to finish my degree, makes me lose focus on what is eternal, then I need to adjust my focus to that which matters: my relationship with Christ, my relationship with those around me, my relationship with my church family, and how I can serve Christ and my brothers and sisters more.

As singles, we are really in the sweetest phase of our lives. We can do “whatever we want.” But always remember what Solomon warns in Ecclesiastes 11:9, Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.”

So many times, we listen to what the patterns of this world tell us singles to seek after: “Travel more”; “Seek your dreams”; “Advance your career.” All are worthy life dreams and goals. And I myself have suggested some interesting adventures for this phase of our lives. Yet, I never want to forget, even while I am working hard to gain money to travel, or advancing in my career, or studying, that I must seek what really matters in life. If we don’t create the habit of first dedicating time to God, once we are married and have the responsibilities of a household, a husband and children, it will be even tougher to dedicate time for this.

I’ve thought quite a bit recently, about Luther’s example of prayer life and devotions. He had many obligations and lead a busy lifestyle, but on those days that he had more commitments, he would spend more time at the feet of the Master.

I have so much to do today that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer. – Martin Luther

It is so hard to do this. I like to be productive and active, so on those days that I have more to do, I like to get up earlier so that I will be able to do everything in the day.  But, so many times I end up not being able to get done all that I need to do, or not doing it well because of a sinful attitude or for not simply asking the Lord’s blessing and strength to finish the daily obligations. I end up feeling discouraged. If I stopped and spent more time in the Word, coming to my Savior, telling him all that I have to do that day, asking for his grace, strength and wisdom for my commitments, and trusting that I will be able to do all that he permits and wants me to do that day, I would have a much more productive day. It will be productive just because I did what really matters and then I can rest in Him, knowing that He will help me accomplish the things necessary for that day. It is a constant battle, something that I, by no means, have down. If I can’t finish everything today, He is still in control. My responsibility, after I have given over everything to him, is to do my best and rest in him.

To stop a little and think about what our priorities are or what they should be, can be hard at times. So, here’s some questions that I’ve had to ask myself recently.

  1. What would I say is most important to me? What do I value above all else? Is it family? Friends? Entertainment? My work? Exercise? We will always have time for the things that we value and believe are important. However, so often, we deceive ourselves, saying we value something, but the way we spend our time says otherwise.
  2. Lately, what have I been spending most of my time on? My suggestion, is that you actually track your time for a couple days. Do things throughout the day, and after a couple tasks, go back and think and see how much time you actually spent on each activity. Be specific and detailed, include even the essential things like eating and sleeping. The answer will usually show what you value. Lots of times it will show a heart’s idol, or a sin that goes deeper than just merely time management. Is the answer to this question the same as number one?
  3. What does God say should be the most important activity and priority of my days? We make plans for our lives, and yet so often, we forget to ask the Lord what His plan for us is, or if he approves of our plans (James 4:13-17). In 1 Corinthians 10:31, we are admonished to do everything for God’s glory, even how or what we eat or drink. If we are not asking for God to bless our day and its activities, it’s difficult to do all for his Glory
  4. Have I really been putting God first in my life and in all that I do? If not, what is the reasons for this? Are there unconfessed sins “hanging over my head”? Or have I just not valued the importance of this relationship? Apart from God, we can accomplish nothing. (John 15:5) So often, throughout my day, I have sinful desires and attitudes, and on those days that I don’t spend time in the Word, that I don’t ask for the Lord’s help, I tend to get caught up even more in my sinful desires. I have no good in me, and if I do not let the Spirit grow its fruit in me, all that will come out is my sinful nature, my old self (Galatians 5:16).
  5. What are my goals of life? If I haven’t defined my goals already, what should my goals be? Have I prayed about these goals? Do I think God has given me blessing on these goals?
  6. Make a list of my goals, what I need to be doing to achieve those goals, what are priorities and what can be done later? Create short-term goals to achieve the long-term goals. Our priorities need to follow our relationship with God. Once we’ve spent time with God, and we manage our time wisely, the main priorities will be on their way to being checked-off the to-do list. The things that are less important might be left for another day.priorities

One of my favorite songs at the moment, describes this constant battle that I have had with time and priorities. (It’s a song in Portuguese titled: “Lord of the Time” by Paulo Cesar Baruk)

“I search time for so many things,
I have so many plans for such little time
And amidst all that requires my time
I already lack the time to talk with God.
I afford time for my work
And without noticing I lose track of time.
There’s only time to close the door
to all that really matters in reality.

I don’t have time to rest,
to see friends and talk.
I’m already not able to sit at the table
and feed my soul with what it truly needs.
And when I want to live Time
In an instant it disappears like a vapor;

And before everything is lost
Before I realize too late that:

I gained my world,
by losing my soul;
I tried everything,
I lived with no calm;
Searched so far,
When so near,
I would have had everything in the right way.
Come be the Lord of my world,
Come be the Lord of my life,
All the time, God.

What is it worth to a man
to any man,
to gain the whole world,
but to be himself, entirely lost?”

 

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