By Amy Wiebe
I have an amazing husband whom I love very much. He truly loves our family well, and I am grateful for him. But he’s also human. One of my less-than-favorite things is when he tells me he didn’t have time to do something I asked him to do. I often ask, “Did you really not have time? Or did you just not remember to do it when you had time?” (I am a pleasure to live with.)
Our western culture has resulted in some ridiculously packed schedules. Our kids are in activities. We’re volunteering, serving our churches, trying to care for our families, and working jobs. Many of us would say we are completely overwhelmed by everything on our calendars. I even heard a pastor recently say, “We need to be in the Word, but I know we’re busy.” How sad that our busyness is considered an excuse not to spend time with our Creator!
My husband, also a pastor, has said to his listeners, “If I looked through your checkbook or your credit card statement, they would tell me about your priorities.” I’d say the same about our calendars; they reflect our priorities. Or do they? We all have the same twenty-four hours in a day, but have we made time for what’s most important to us?
Our kids are in fewer activities than some. We do this on purpose so we have margin for our neighbors and those in the communities we’re serving. We also have more time to just play and hang out with our kids. We still make plans, but we keep our calendar clear enough that if someone we’re serving requests time with us, it’s unusual for us not to make it work within a few days. It’s also common for us to encounter neighbors outside and have the margin to stop and talk with them for a bit before heading back inside. For the record, I make no judgment whatsoever on kids’ activities. Maybe for you, it’s cutting out something else to create margin. This is just what works for us.
When it comes to struggling with spiritual disciplines such as prayer, Bible study, and silence, is it that we really don’t have time for them? Or do we reach for the TV remote at the end of our days instead of our journal or Bible? Do we choose to sleep in longer in the morning instead of seeking our Father for those in need? I’m speaking to myself on this one; it can be hard to choose time with our Savior over what we view as “relaxing.” But the rewards are great if we choose our creator over created things.
I’ve heard many sermons state the premise that our money is God’s. If we view it all as his, it’s not hard to give it back to him and spend more wisely. Our time is no different. Our time is God’s. It is a gift given to us by him. Our calendars, and the margins built into them, should reflect our true priorities.
I encourage us all to examine our calendars. Have we said yes to activities that aren’t in line with our priorities? Do we create places of margin for our neighbors and the marginalized in our communities? Are we building relationships so our neighbors and the marginalized know they can call on us because we’ll have time for them?
When we think we don’t have time, the question is this: But should we?
Amy Wiebe is a Jesus follower, wife, mom of three, church planter, finance director, and lover of sarcasm and deep conversation with friends. She also loves camping, rafting, skiing, sewing, and having people over. Amy blogs with her husband at fringechurch.com.
Photograph © Han Chau, used with permission