"The Gift of Unexpected Time?" - How Will You Use it?
In this time of challenge and change it seems that most of us have an unexpected "gift" - free time. Time once spent with appointments, errands, and busy-ness is suddenly absent from our daily calendars. Some of that we've lost we mourn. Some we are strangely grateful for.
With this "gift of unexpected" time, what shall we do? We will fill it, but with what? Will we finally do that which we said we wanted to do but did not have time for? Will our excuses finally be put aside, or will we find other excuses to replace them? Will we be proud of how we spent this time once the crisis passes, or will we bemoan time wasted surfing the web, scrolling through facebook, playing at life, etc.? A little entertainment and distraction is good, but should it take over and dominate this time - this time of great challenge and need? Will we merely "digitally medicate" ourselves till life again becomes "normal" (assuming we even know what that looks like)?
I am convinced there is a silver lining in the midst of this strange time. God has a way of using tough times and challenges to refocus us, and to bring good out of every circumstance (Romans 8:28).
So, here is my suggestion for how to make this time work to your advantage:
1. Ponder - Think honestly and deeply about how you have been spending your time - before the crisis and to this point within it. How do you feel about it? How would others feel about it?
2. Pray - What would God say to you in this time? Can you hear his still small voice? What is He calling you to do? To lay aside?
3. Prioritize - Once we understand what is truly important in our life - the love of God and others - how will this drive our priorities? What must be done? What are those 1st things? What needs to go, not just now, but even after?
4. Plan - Whether you use a calendar or to do list, or whatever, make a plan to ensure those 1st things get the best of your time, energy and resources.
5. Put into Action - a plan devised but not implemented will matter little when this is all over. Habits are created in as short as 14 days. Guess what, we now have that time! Let's put words into action.
God, I pray you will help us to use this give of unexpected time to put our lives back into order and alignment with Your gospel and Christ's eternal kingdom. May we not squander this opportunity, as unwelcome as it may seem, but resolve to draw nearer to You and become more like Jesus, our only Savior.
~ Pastor Ben