Thursday, September 17, 2009

Shopping for Time - Part 2

Shopping for time: How to do it all and not be overwhelmed, by Carolyn Mahaney, Nicole Whitacre, Kristin Chesemore and Janelle Bradshaw

Part 2 of 2

Having looked last week at 2 of the 5 tips in Shopping for Time:

1. The 5 am Club
2. Sit Still

I now want to think more about the next 3 tips:

3. Sit and plan. Here the idea is the plan a retreat - time away, a few hours or even overnight on your own and use it as a chance to prioritise and assess all the aspects of our lives. The sample list they had included:

- grow in godliness
- love my family
- serve in the church
- fellowship with Christians
- evangelise non-Christians
- attend to my work
- care for my physical health

Then evaluate each area honestly - what is going well and what needs to change, and how you can grow in that key area of your life. They went through each of these in a bit of detail, for example:

- Grow in Godliness - ask ourselves "how can I make my devotions more fruitful?", and "What is one area where I believe God is calling me to grow in godliness?"
- Love my family - list all our family members and then ask "What is one family relationship I want to give more attention to in this season?" and then "How can I intentionally show my love to this person?"

They go on to helpfully point out that you cannot do everything at once, so you need to ask yourself at the end "What one or two priorities do I want to focus on for the next three to six months, and what steps will I take to grow in each area?"

I found this chapter incredibly helpful. Just to be encouraged to think in a more structured way about all the aspects of my life and how to balance them and prioritise them, rather than chasing my tail in response to various things. I would love to put aside a few hours to do this. And the more I think about, now (Sept/Oct) is the time to do it, for this is the time of year when we (and many other people) start planning the next year - school timetables, holidays, ministry commitments, etc. Having put some time aside into thinking through all those things makes us much better equipped to think through our response (be it yes or no) when asked to consider taking on something new.

4. Consider people - here they encourage us to look at our relationships.
we are often more passive and receptive that we are intentional and purposeful in our relationships. We may allow people to drift in and out of our lives. We don't usually pause to consider why we pursue a certain friendship or neglect another. Emotions and feeling often dictate the way we go about relationships...We must prayerfully evaluate our relational priorities in the light of God's priorities...Do our relationships - the time we spend with our family and the friends we pursue - bring glory to God? (p69)
This chapter is not focusing on family relationships because our husbands and children, and even extended family take priority. This is talking about friendships. They suggest that there should be certain types of friends amongst our friends:

- friends who sharpen (as iron sharpens iron, Prov 27:17)
- friends who mentor (older women that we can learn from)
- friend who need friends
- friends who need salvation

I had never thought to do this before, not in a planned way anyway! However, there is real value in thinking about this more. However, I also don't want to overanalyze all my friendships! Some friends are just encouraging Christian woman who I enjoy spending time with. Not every relationship in life has to be entirely purposeful.

5. Plan to depend. The fifth tip contains a lot of practical advice about how to get through the day to day realities of a busy life. However, they emphasise that we must depend on God for all things, "because if truth be told we can't help ourselves" (p89). In all things, we must remember Proverbs 3:6 - in all your ways acknowledge him..."

They end the chapter with these words:
In the end, our highest goal each day is not flawless execution of our plans or increased productivity. It's our relationship with God, walking in dependence upon him through the day. We should not be more consumed with the completion of our to-do list than pleasing and glorifying the Saviour. Whether we're sitting down to map out our day, simplifying our to-do list or... we must, above all, plan to depend. (p90)

As you can probably tell, I liked this book - it made me think a bit more about how I structure things and where my priorities lie. It gives good advice and suggestions all while being grounded in the truth of God's grace and salvation and our sinfulness.

Worth a read.

If you go to the girltalk link here, you can download the book for free this month with Kindle (follow their links).


Tom said...

Something I found quite helpful was to live without a car for a year. It sounds like it would make things much worse, I know! But it forces you to organize your life in a way so that you are not so busy. You can't "Just duck down to the shops to get..." and you have to be organized enough to know when the train leaves and you have to be prepared to take the time to walk somewhere if you really want to get there. It sounds inconvenient, and it is, but life is more than convenience, and you do get used to it fairly quickly.

Ruth said...

Thanks for the review Wendy, very helpful. :-)

Sally said...

very helpful, thanks xx