Sudden grief, frustration, disappointment, and regret all collided last week. My already full plate suddenly overflowed with emergencies or what seemed like emergencies. Flying by the seat of my pants running from this fire to the next did not create my most grace-filled reactions. So, we continue our HOLIDAY Wellness Plan Acronym this week with O for Overflowing.
From our habits discussion last week we’ve all identified holiday habits to change and healthy habits to adopt before the season and snow fly in. An overwhelming response from our holiday wellness survey was ‘better time management’, especially during the holidays. Many of us struggle to maintain our exercise, eating and stress management habits over the holidays then look back with regret not savoring the true meaning of the holidays with loved ones. I believe if we managed our time better, we’d be able to have a few extra moments to exercise, eat healthier and be less stressed.
Losing someone I dearly loved last week reminded me how fragile and finite our earthly moments are. This encouraged me to evaluate if I’m using my God-given time well. The unfortunate answer was “not always”. If I truly want to make all my moments memorable, I need to manage my time well. The question is how?
How do we manage essentials AND extras for the holidays? Part of the problem is we underestimate our time. Keeping track of time spent on routine habits is eye opening. Laundry alone takes hours! Realizing how much time we actually spend on meaningful and non-meaningful things in life is a good exercise to find margin in our time management. As discussed a few weeks ago, finding margin all begins with a plan.
The first step is to seek God’s plan for our lives. We are all captains of our own clocks. Years ago, my husband reminded me no one will manage my time except me and ultimately, God. I remind myself of this all. the. time. But life happens. The irony of writing this time management post at the last minute this week was not lost on me. I struggle here too.
We feel like we need to do it all or better than everyone else-especially at the holidays. Our expectations exceed our own abilities and available time. But, we still want a wonderland of celebration. And somewhere in the midst of the wonderland, we miss the wonder. The true meaning and small moments of the holidays get relegated to the back seat, instead of the captain’s chair. Let’s shift to seeking God first.
He is the only One we are responsible to with our time. Yes, we are responsible for others-our children especially and to others-family, friends, our jobs etc. But we are not responsible for doing everything others want of us. We only need to answer to God. Understanding this makes it easier to let go of some habits that we may not need to recycle this holiday season.
Remembering our moments are about choices, we need to choose wisely. Here are a couple things I’ve learned about time management:
- Flying by the seat of your pants only works for so long before you fall, so plan ahead! Planning ahead requires organization. Even if organized, things can still go awry, but then at least there’s a plan to fall back on. Check out some organizational tips from my MemoryMinders blog this week for organizing help. How can you plan and organize now for the holidays to take the pressure off later?
- Even Wonder Woman had the Super Friends, so enlist help! I realize that reference dates me, but it’s true. I am not the only one who can do laundry, dishes, pack a lunch or buy holiday gifts. There are people who can help, we just need to seek assistance. Getting help does not constitute failure, it’s allowing others to use their gifts to God’s glory. Then there are other things, only we can do: exercise, eat healthy, manage our stress and have relationships. Do what you alone can do and allow others to assist and/or delegate if possible for some of the other things of life. It will free up otherwise occupied moments. What holiday item is for you alone to manage and for what can you enlist help?
- Listen to the King! King Solomon asked for and was granted wisdom from God. Here is one of King Solomon’s observations “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 Not everything is meant for every season. Just because we did it before or see everyone else doing something doesn’t mean it’s meant for us in this season. Remember, our first job is to seek God’s will for our lives, so in this season, in this time, what does God have uniquely for you? I love how Solomon sums up his observations about life in Ecclesiastes 12:13b “Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.”
Every season has its overflowing moments. But by seeking, fearing and obeying God in our lives and applying some time management techniques, we can hopefully find some room for margin on our holiday plate this year.
Linking up with Crystal Storms at #HeartEncouragement, Suzie Eller at #liveFree, Dawn Klinge at #GraceandTruth, Susan Mead at #DanceWithJesus, Kelly Balarie at #RaRaLinkup, Holley Gerth at #CoffeeForYourHeart and Holly Barrett at #TestimonyTuesday