Shifting Your Priorities

“I have no idea where you find the time to write with everything else you do- God is multiplying your time!!”

A friend mentioned this to me lately after reading one of my posts. It got me to thinking, where DO I find the time to write about God? I understand the concept of “God multiplying our time”, but I don’t think that He is altering the physics of the universe and stretching the units of time to make them longer than they’re supposed to be. The conclusion I came to is that while God may be working things in the background to free up more of the time I already have, the main reason I’m finding time to write about Him, is because I’m simply shifting my priorities.

God gives us all we need to do His will, including time. In this regard, I believe He’s already given each one of us more than enough time in each day to do something that either strengthens our relationship with Him and/or blesses others, which are the two greatest commands He gives us to follow (love God, love others). (Matt. 22:37-40)

“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebr 13:20-21

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…” Eph 4:11-12

Equip. I’m just going to share my thoughts on the “time” aspect today, although the way He equips us to do ministry in terms of resources, talents, gifts of the Spirit, etc. might be more interesting to some. Sorry!

So what are some practical ways that I’ve been able to re-prioritize my time so that I can do things like deep prayer, reading the Word, reflecting on the Word, and sharing the Gospel with others?

Trim the fat.
I love fat. Not on myself, but in my food. One time when I was still in college, we went to a steak restaurant for someone’s birthday, and I collected all of the fat from my friends’ prime ribs and ate it from a pile on my plate. I know I know, that’s totally gross (don’t judge me!). I definitely don’t do anything like that anymore, because I’m too old now and my heart will probably give out on me if I do.

Anyway, fat is like the extraneous part of red meat that, although is SO flippin’ tasty, it doesn’t really do anything good for you and you can definitely do without it in your meal. In fact, it’s healthier when you cut it out.

The same goes for the “fat” in your life. I trimmed a lot of this unhealthy fat out of my life in the last two weeks. I used to spend a lot of time reading stuff like sports blogs, scrolling through Facebook, and clicking on silly links to pointless videos or entertainment articles that would literally waste minutes of my life at a time. I mean, seriously, who needs to watch 5 minutes straight of a dog looking like it’s feeding itself with human hands?

By trimming out that fat, I’ve found myself with extra time to do things like writing these posts, or praying, or reading the Bible throughout my day. That’s not to say that I’ve completely given up on checking on my sports teams (How ’bout them Cowboys?!) or other activities, but it’s now a healthy balance, minimizing my fat intake and saving me from spiritual cardiac arrest.

Make it work.
I used to make the excuse of being too tired. Too tired to wake up early and dedicate some personal time with God. Too tired mentally to read Scripture. Too tired to do anything for anyone else outside of my family. It’s just too hard and I’m too tired (moan)!

Well guess what, sometimes I just have to suck it up and make it work. If getting into the Word or praying or ministering to others is GENUINELY something I want to do, then I’ll make time to do it.

So I’ve been waking up a little past 5:00 AM these days to give myself the extra time to do it, regardless of what time I go to sleep the night before. Am I still tired when I wake up? Absolutely.

Sometimes I drag myself out of bed in a huge, stumbling daze, and end up doing really weird stuff while making coffee, because I’m so out of it. I’ve done stuff like poured the creamer directly into the actual coffee pot instead of my mug. I’ve put both the hot coffee mug and coffee pot away in the refrigerator, instead of the creamer. I’ve poured the coffee directly onto the counter instead of into my cup, not stopping until I felt the fire on my skin telling me something was not quite right. And I guess it doesn’t help that I’m doing all of this in the dark because I don’t want to turn the lights on and wake anyone up (I’m sooo adventurous like that). But regardless, I make it work because it’s important to me.

Pray about it.

If you really want something from someone, sometimes you just gotta straight up ask them for it. I was reminded of that in talking to one of my friends yesterday.

Ask God to give you clear discernment and wisdom as to where you can shift parts of your day so that you can dedicate some time to Him or loving on others.

Ask Him to show you which parts of your meaty delicious life are fat that you can trim out.

Ask Him to supernaturally clear up your schedule in the areas of life that aren’t critical to God’s plan for you, and where that time can be used in more spiritually productive ways.

Because if you ask according to His will, you shall receive (Matt. 7:7–8). Not to get into the theology of those verses, but Jesus is saying that God will provide those things that are good and beneficial in HIS sight, not ours, if we ask Him for it. So yes, I fully believe He will help you do all of these things with your time if you pray about it and ask Him for help in this area.

These are just a few practical things that I currently do. I hope they’re helpful to those who are struggling with time commitment. It’s not a magic formula at all, it’s simply having the desire, the will, and the focus to do it; and then trusting that because it’s something that God sees as pleasing and honoring to Him, He will make it work for you.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that what you do has to look like what I do. God forbid you drink from a coffee cup full of grinds instead of liquid. And I’m also not saying that it’s easy. It definitely requires work, just like building strength in the gym requires work. You may not have to wake up at 5:00 AM, and you may not have to cut out all forms of mindless entertainment. Only you and God can figure out where you personally have opportunities to shift your priorities, and prioritize HIM instead. But trust me, the opportunity is there.

And real quick, for those of us who say, “Well, no not really, it’s NOT there, because I work 14 hours a day and I don’t even have time for mindless entertainment in the first place, let alone time to spend with my family when I’m not working…” Then I challenge you to say that statement out loud 10 times to yourself. After you’re done, I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to pinpoint the root issue in your statement.

It’s another discussion for another day (just too much to talk about!!), but a clear roadblock to everything I just wrote about, are the IDOLS in our lives that we dedicate all of our time to. That might be your job, your kids’ activities, your school work, your entertainment outlets, or even your church ministry (yes your personal relationship with Jesus is more important than just serving at church).

Again, only you and God know where change is required in your life to prioritize Him above all else. But the first step is you wanting to do it, not because you have to, but because you love God.

If you truly have the desire, pray about it, and then do something about it. It’s all about shifting your priorities.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

“So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.” 2 Corinthians 5:9

[From October 30, 2019]

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