I chuckle a little bit when I think about my first cell phone. I was in my early 20’s when I decided to buy it. I planned to use it in case of emergencies or to check in with my parents. I didn’t have much use for it because it didn’t have internet access, social apps or even a camera.
So, I laugh when I think back on that time because it’s crazy to think that having access to so much information via this little tiny device that fits perfectly into my purse or pocket is so distracting now. Back then, the thought never crossed my mind that a cell phone could be so distracting. There were, however, other distractions: dating, making friends, planning my future and dealing with my crippling anxiety to name a few.
I look back now and grieve over the time I lost. My days were spent worrying, striving for success and trying to achieve whatever I believed to be social status among my friends.
I wasted valuable time.
It would be easy to say that I wasn’t mindful of how I spent my time back then because I was not a believer. Back then, I had no clear sense of direction or even a good idea of who I wanted to be.
But the truth is that I still get distracted even though all that has changed.The only thing that has changed is my long list of distractions. I no longer stress about dating because I’m married. I no longer worry about planning my future because I’m too busy planning my kids’ futures or our next family vacation. My priorities have shifted, but my response to distractions hasn’t. I’m still wasting valuable time.
In the recent months, I’ve thought more and more about how I spend my time. I’ve had this sense of urgency to stop wasting my time on things that really don’t matter and to really focus on what is more important. This sense of urgency has made me reevaluate my life in ways that I’ve never considered before.
Does the way I schedule my day reflect my beliefs and priorities? Am I running from one thing to another without a single thought to sit and spend some time with God? What is the motivation behind each item on my to-do list?
I realize that my day-to-day activities often fall out of line with what my beliefs are. I may not begin my day with the intent of getting distracting, but very slowly I fall prey to the pressures of this world-the false perception that I have to conform to it and the self imposed pressure to “get things done”. Other times, my distractions will sneak up on me and I realize that I’ve spent way too much time watching TV or catching up on social media in an effort to avoid whatever unresolved issues I may have.
Then I remember Ephesians 2:10:
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
He has a plan and the way I use my time has a direct impact on whether or not I carry it out. He wants us to work together to do these good things He has planned for me to do, but He has also given me the free will to choose His plan and His way over everything else.
I’m convinced that these good works are especially designed with my life and personality in mind. He hasn’t planned for me to do anything other than what I can do, in this phase of my life and with what I know right now. All that is missing from this equation is my willingness to follow His plan.
To follow Him, I must make time with Him a priority. He can’t tell me what I need to know unless I am focused on listening to Him. My mind can’t be renewed if I do not spend time in His Word. Our relationship will fall apart if my daily goals are built around what this world deems as important.
I resolve to do better this year, then I realize that change can only come through awareness-checking in with myself to determine if I’m headed in the right direction. This means that if life is really busy and it seems impossible to take that time, then I must come to Him with a humble and faith-filled prayer and ask Him for that time.
And there will be days when I may need to ask Him to give me the desire to push things aside and focus on Him when I don’t feel like it. I also have to be willing to lay things down or give things up if He tells me to.
This will be difficult, but through His grace not impossible to do.
For the last several days as I’ve tried to move in this new direction and He has graced with me a new perspective. I have noticed that as I’ve made time for Him that He has stretched the rest of my limited time to be just long enough for me to do what matters.
For the last few weeks, I’ve had time to pray, exercise, sit and talk with my husband and bake a birthday cake for my son. These things might not be really important in the grand scheme of things, but I believe they are to Him. And by spending time with Him I’ve reaffirmed once more that He belongs at the center of my days.
In return, He has blessed me with a small glimpse into His perspective and what it means to be focused on the right things.