Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Better Time

   I wanted to share something that I believe God has been impressing upon my heart a LOT lately, and that is time management. Not just how I manage my time, but how I am using it to bring glory and honor to the one who created it. For me, it is not hard to fill every second of the day with things to do and places to go. In fact, over the past few months this, "stay at home mom," found herself so busy with, "important things," that she had almost no time for her little boy or husband. I had very little time for  planning and preparing healthy meals for my family or even for personal devotions. By Christmas I felt out of breath and worn out. It was time to do an evaluation and start asking God what He wanted from my life and more specifically my daily hours.
   My first priority is my relationship with God and that relationship was feeling strained and weak due to a lack of Bible study and prayer. I knew that I would need to wake up very early to have a quiet time of Bible study before my mommy duties began. I am, by nature, a night owl, and my son is a very early riser, so committing to wake up at 5:30 to beat him out of bed sounded crazy and torturous!  I just don't like mornings. After days and weeks of missing out on a quiet time because I slept through the only peaceful moments of my day, I was feeling frazzled and cranky to say the least. After much prodding from the Holy Spirit and several discouraging days I was finally willing to change my sleepy headed ways. This alteration in my schedule has breathed new life into my days! Spending a sufficient amount of time in God's word reminded me that when I felt frustrated or discouraged that my struggle was not with people or circumstances but that I was walking through a spiritual battle and I needed to be prepared. Ephesians 6:11-12 says, "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." How could I expect to make it through a battle if I wasn't prepared? I've learned this lesson the hard way and I'm not going to be unprepared any more. Hold me to it! This girl is going to be putting on her spiritual armor every morning, tired or not. I also recently joined a women's Bible study that has provided me with the encouragement and accountability that I needed. I also really love the daily homework that it provides. The study group is called Bible Study Fellowship or B.S.F. and I highly recommend it! It is very Biblically sound and the material really challenges you to examine the Scriptures and apply them to your life. B.S.F  has been around for more than 50 years and has Bible study groups around the world. To find a study near you or to learn more about B.S.F. click here
   The second priority in my life is my family. After my, "time evaluation," I could really see that  the person that was hurting the most from my busyness was my two-and-a-half year old son. I'm a stay at home mom, so the problem wasn't that I was gone too much, but that as I whirled around the house and dashed to and from errands, my little guy was just being dragged along. The original reason that I decided to be a stay at home mommy was so that I would be the primary person in my child's life and that I could spend all the time necessary to teach and love my little one, guiding him to one day love and obey the same God that I serve. However, after snapping at my son for the tenth time in one day because he was whining or making a mess, major conviction set in. Rather than he being my priority, the poor little guy had been pushed to the back burner, and was reaping the undeserved wrath of a worn out mom with too much to do. All of my little goals had crowded out the most important job I have--raising my son. After feeling like the worst mom ever and praying that God would show me where I went wrong, I really believe that He showed me that my problem could be corrected if I weeded out a few unnecessary projects and actually made a schedule for the time that I have with my son. I know, the word schedule sounds a little formal or rigid, but really all I did was sit down and think through my day and how I could best use it to teach and love on my little one. For example, Monday, 7:00 AM: Snuggle time. 8:00 AM: Review ABC flash cards. 8:30 AM: Work on color page.... etc. I also decided that Friday is his day. Unless I have an unavoidable appointment, I will be spending the day working on crafts, coloring pictures, playing outside or just hanging out with my miniature man. Because I scheduled intentional time with him, I didn't have to feel bad when I gave him 30 minutes to play alone in his room, while I got necessary work done.  Now, I had specific  times to be with my son and focus on him, and specific times to work. Changing how I spend my time has been exactly what I needed. If anything, it has helped me to be slow down, be purposeful in how I interact with my son and focus on priorities.
Showing off one of his Friday crafts.
     Honestly, when I was feeling down and frustrated I really felt like such a bad mom, wife and daughter of Christ. However, just when I needed it most, God lovingly directed me to these verses in Proverbs 3:11-12.  
"My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline 
or be weary of his reproof,  
for the LORD reproves him whom he loves
as a father the son in whom he delights." 

 Since I really believe that God meant for me to apply this verse to my life, I think it's safe to place my name in this verse and say,
"Joy, do not despise that Lord's discipline 
or be weary of his reproof, 
for the Lord reproves she whom he loves, 
as a father the daughter in whom he delights."

    Praise God for His patience with me! This girl still has a lot to learn, but I'm so glad that when I learn hard lessons like these, that I can trust that they come from my Heavenly Father who loves me more than anyone and really just wants the very best for my life. 
    Tell me, has God taught you anything regarding honoring Him with your time? Do you have some time management tips? I'd love to hear! May God bless your day as you follow Him!
 "So teach us to number our days
   that we may get a heart of wisdom." 
Psalm 90:12

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