It’s Important to be Intentional and Choose Your Situations Wisely

It’s Amazing…He Looks Just Like You

Pastor Lee shared a story this week about a missionary couple that had small children. When the couple left for a short overseas mission trip, they left the children with family. While in this foreign country war broke out and the couple was unable to get home…for eight years. When they came home the oldest son, now a young man, met them at the train station. After the mother hugged her son, she stepped back, looked at him and said, “He looks just like you.”

We’ve all experienced the resemblance of families. This is something much more than just DNA. This includes the habits, actions, expressions, mannerisms, etc. of those we spend the most time with.

You will become what you surround yourself with.

You will become what you read, what you listen to, what you watch. You will speak the language, wear the clothes, develop the habits and live the lifestyle of those you hang out with. If you associate with chickens, you will scratch the ground squabbling over crumbs. If you associate with eagles you will learn to soar to great heights. (2nd Decision I will seek wisdom, from The Travelers Gift by Andy Andrews)

This is why it’s critically important to make your choices wisely.

 A missionary in Africa tells a story about woman that faithfully came to church. Each time she came her dog came with her. She would set at the end of the same row each week and the dog sat beside her in the isle. Then at the end of service the dog followed her to the altar where she knelt and prayed.

This women’s husband was mean and abusive to her. Then in one of his abusive episodes he killed her. Because they lived in a small village there was no repercussions for his actions. He and the dog just continued like nothing had changed.

One day the husband noticed that the dog was leaving and gone for a couple of hours at the same time each week. After a while he became curious and followed the dog.

The dog was going to the church service and setting at the same place it always had and then going to the altar. The people of the church knew what the man had done and even so, they still welcomed him in Christian love.

The man was so moved that he repented of his sins and accepted Jesus into his life.

When we hear the Good News about God saving us and believe in the message of Christ, God puts His special mark on us. This mark being the Holy Spirit. Then we can enjoy the complete freedom that comes from belonging to Him. (Ephesians 1:3-14)

God can do amazing things if we will trust Him and obey His instructions. Just like in the song, Trust and Obey, there’s no other way. This is how we can be happy and enjoy the favor that He gives.

The more time we spend with Jesus, the more we will be like Him.

What Makes One Thing More Important Than Another?

How to Decide What’s Urgent, Important or Not

Since the start of the new year, I’ve been working to find clarity in my prioritizing. I wrote about the value of time and how to decide where to spend it. I wrote about the importance of putting the big rocks in first and determining what makes one rock more important than another.

This is the hard part.

Rocks are hard…get it? 😊

Steven Covey’s time management quadrant in the previous post makes the idea of sorting things into the 4 areas clear. Different things need a different level of attention given to them.

  • Quadrant 1 is fire-fighting (urgent & important). This is easily recognized and where most of us spend way too much time. This is the get down to the core action of, if the house is on fire and the phones ringing…do we answer the phone or get the kids out of the house? The problem is we should have spent more on important rather than urgent and maybe we could have prevented the fire.
  • Quadrant 2 is quality time (important & not urgent). This is the area where we should focus. It’s where we get the most return on our investment of time and energy. It’s also the hardest because there’s no immediate rush like there is when fighting fires.
  • Quadrant 3 is distractions (urgent & not important). We can fill this quadrant with an endless list of small and trivial tasks convincing ourselves that they are important, because they probably are. The things in this quadrant require less time and energy than the ‘really’ important tasks. The question is, are you doing them because they’re important…or because it feels good to check thing off the list?
  • Quadrant 4 is time-wasters (not important & not urgent). The things in this quadrant are the things of least importance. These things serve no direct purpose in accomplishing the important things in your life. You want to avoid wasting time on these things.

We have a limited amount of time…spend it wisely.

As I read through the different quadrants in this example, I was perplexed with some of the things listed.

It seemed to me that some of the things in quadrant 4 were important things and not necessarily time wasters, i.e. entertainment (TV) and stress relief. In quadrant 2 was recreational activities. For me watching TV is recreational. And isn’t “relieving of stress” pretty important? The more I studied it the clearer it became…

It’s up to us what goes in our quadrants!

It comes down to being crystal clear on who we are and what our specific purpose is. This is the problem. Most of us haven’t or don’t want to spend the time and energy to figure it out. We just float through life without a clear direction of where we’re going or how we’re going to get there.

In the Ayn Rand book Fountainhead architect Howard Roark is super clear on who he is and what he’s willing to do or not. Because of his lack of conformity to the status quo, he struggles to make a living. He is almost broke but is given an opportunity to design and build a bank building that would be very profitable for him.

As he meets with the bank board, they ask him to make a few changes that would require that he conform. He turns the job down and goes to work doing manual labor in a quarry.

I want Howard Roark’s clarity.

I do think there is a place for conformity. It’s not always wise to cut one’s nose off to spite one’s face. However if we have Mr. Roark’s clarity, we can then determine what makes things urgent, important or not in our lives.

You get to decide, but if you want clarity…you have to decide.

Time is the Most Valuable Commodity

Be Sure to Spend it Wisely

The topic of spending time is nothing new. It’s a topic that is written about a lot. My search online for “spending time” uncovered 289 million results. Just so you know, I didn’t read them all. 😊

As I’ve been working on setting my goals for this year, I’ve been thinking a lot about what and where I should put my focused intensity. I struggle with this. What things should be in what order.

Earlier this week I heard a Business Made Simple Daily from Donald Miller entitled How to Know What is Worth Your Time. Notice it doesn’t say “what your time is worth”, but “what is worth your time”. Donald uses the example that his truck tags had been expired for several months, but he chose to spend his time on other things he determined to be a higher priority.

This conversation about time reminded me of how in his Hero on a Mission course for goal setting and life planning starts out with writing your obituary. This form of starting with the end in mind makes the point that for each and every one of us…life is over at some point. As we race through the routines of our daily lives, we just don’t think about time from a finite aspect.

We tend to approach life as if we have all the time we want. This isn’t the case!

So, if we accept that time is limited, what do we do? Determining “what is worth my time” is a good place to start.

This is the hard part for me…there are so many great things that I want to do.

One of the problems with time is that we we’ve been given it. You’ve done nothing to earn the time you have. It isn’t like money. You can’t go earn more time. You can’t put time in the bank and save it for later. Time is being spent constantly and we take it for granted!

Once time is gone you can never get it back. Don’t waste what little you have!

Each of us spend time differently. The important thing is to determine where it is that you are going to spend yours.

Back to goal setting and how time relates.

As I have been listing out all the things I want to accomplish this year, I realized many of them were on the list last year and the year before that…and the year before that. I see a pattern here.

Maybe I’m trying to do too much?

The more I worked through the list the more lost in the fog I got. How can I figure out what is worth my time?

I decided that if I was going to do this, I needed to take the limited time thing seriously. To do this I determined that a good place to start would be to figure out how much time the things on the list would take and compare that to the amount of time available to spend.

Those of you that know me, know how I’m going to this…a spreadsheet, of course.

I’m now going to go get to work on my time budgeting spreadsheet. I’ll let you know how that goes in a future post.

Spend Time Wisely, There’s A Limited Amount

It’s One Thing That You Can’t Make Any More Of

 

Why is it that we struggle so much with this TIME thing? It seems that everybody, at least everybody that I talk with, is constantly wanting more TIME. To use a line from actress Ethel Barrymore, “That’s all there is – there isn’t any more.

I have been writing periodically about my core values and this is another.

In varying amounts and at varying degrees, depending on our abilities, desires and needs, we can make more money, make more friends, find more work, design new things, discover new ideas. Not that those things are easy, but they can be done. No so with TIME. You’ve got what you’ve got.

In last week’s post I wrote about the window project taking longer than I wanted. I said it was a topic for later. Well it’s later. Spending TIME is such a frequent problem that it has made its way in to several of my posts.

 

Why is it that, so many struggle so much with this?

 

Here are 5 things that I see as reasons –

  1. Trying to do too many things – There are so many great, wonderful and important things out there to do and I want to do them all. The problem is, there just isn’t enough TIME to.
  2. Lack of focus – There are more distractions now than ever before. With internet, social media, smart phones, etc. we are inundated with interruptions. According to Dr. Wetmore the average person gets interrupted once every 8 minutes. Depending on the length of each one that could use up 3-4 hours a day. That many interruptions sure make it hard to focus.
  3. Not saying “no” – When we are asked to do something, even though we know we don’t have time, most of the time we say yes. I think there are a few of reasons for this. First, most of us really want to help. Second, saying yes makes us feel needed, valuable and important. Third, we don’t want to let others down. No matter how good the reason is, if we don’t have TIME to do it, we should say no.
  4. Trying to do it by myself – Just like TIME, delegation is another one of the common struggles that I see happening and participate in regularly. To be the best steward of my TIME I have got to do better at this.
  5. Procrastination – Often times when things ahead of us are big and scary we fill up our TIME with something small and cuddly. This doesn’t mean the little things aren’t important, but often they are time sponges, sucking up valuable TIME.

One thing to understand is that SPENDING TIME WISELY will be different for each of us. The key here is to think about it. Review how you spend your TIME and decide how and where you want to spend yours. God has given each of us this TIME. We need to see how He wants us to spend it. He has given us the right amount for everything, Ecclesiastes 3.

 

How do you spend your time wisely?

 

Never Be Satisfied With Mediocrity

Little Things Are What Big Things Are Made Of

Who Should I Blame For Being Too Busy