Time and Priorities

Wishing this man had a cute skirt on instead. It’d be more fitting…

 

On Tuesday, Ann Voskamp posted How to Find Time and Space for the Life You Want (Part 2). It’s lovely and totally worth reading. I feel like its concept is so simple and absolutely relevant to the story I’ve been walking through for the past few years.

I came to the Rule of St. Benedict because I was mesmerized by Kathleen Norris’ simple statement in her book, The Cloister Walk. She said this, “The Benedictines have always believed there is enough time in each day for work and study and rest and play.” I simply wanted to know if that was possible, if there could ever be enough TIME in each day. The story of my book Found is the story of my life since setting out to understand how “enough time” could ever be possible, especially when it comes to prayer.

And, now it’s time for True Confessions:

Tuesday morning I was up at 5:30. I worked from 5:30 to 6:30 on a deadline for my book. At 6:30 I got dressed (not showering for the third day in a row…because, who has time?), then I fed my kids breakfast, tamed a two-year-old’s tantrum, changed a diaper, packed two lunches, one computer + charger, begged children to put their shoes on, and jumped into the car at 7:40 instead of 7:30, which meant we were ten minutes late to Kindergarten. Then I dropped my littlest one off with a friend and came back home to write. I worked from 9:15 to 12:45, then boiled some eggs and scarfed them down in time to pick up the youngest and then head back to the elementary school to pick up the oldest.

When we got home, I put Brooksie down for his nap and read to August, fed him a snack, and helped him with his homework, which took For. Ev. Er. to finish. In fact, he got too frustrated to finish it. It was hard. I’ve been learning to let our afternoons be consistent and slow, because my oldest longs for routine and space to take his time. So when Brooksie woke up, I didn’t push anything. We did puzzles together until I announced it was TV time and worked on dinner. Chris was out last night so I made an easy dinner, let the boys take a bath, and did dishes until bedtime. After the boys’ bedtime routine, I worked until Chris came home at 10. We drank a cup of tea together and then I worked again in my bed until 11:30.

I give you this schedule not to complain. This is an extra busy season of my life and it doesn’t always look this way. But I just want to say that even though I wrote a book about how there’s enough time in each day for prayer and for the things that matter to us, it doesn’t always seem true, right? We are the only ones who can decide to make enough time in each day for “work and study and rest and play.” And somedays it happens and somedays it doesn’t.

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So I’m asking you for this: How we can help each other make space? On good days, prayer is my 5:30 am priority and on challenging days, I find myself at 10 am realizing I haven’t even said a word to Jesus yet. I really believe that God has grace for my prayerlessness. I do. And for yours too.

I just long to figure out a way to make the things I love and long for–prayer, exercise, reading–priorities in my life.

What about you? What are you longing to make time for in your life? Are you prioritizing self-care in your daily life? Maybe if we talk it out, we can make our own space for it, right?

 

Much Love,

m

 

Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee on Flickr

Comments

  1. Tim says:

    Great insights and questions, Micha.

    When our kids were young I think we wondered the same thing. How are we going to get everything done? My way of coping with time demands was to give up things I might desire doing if they took too much time away from other things I desired doing.

    The other thing we did as a couple, and still do now that the kids are grown, is early bed times. For us, not the kids. That allows us to get up and say prayers together before working out and then getting ready for work. (When the kids were really little we’d pray, then one of us would go to the gym while the other stayed behind, then return and switch off.)

    I don’t know of a perfect schedule or routine. It’s a matter of de-cluttering, both physically and spiritually, I think.

    Cheers,

    Tim

    • michaboyett says:

      Love that idea, Tim. Taking turns! Sometimes it feels like we’d have to get up at 4am to accomplish all we’d like to accomplish! But it also comes down to making priorities and saying yes and no to the right things for each season. Grateful for your wisdom. (And the link!)

      • Tim says:

        It’s funny you mention 4am. That’s when we get up. For reals. Our preferred bedtime, on the other hand, is earlier than most toddlers I know.

  2. SarahDunningPark says:

    I hear you, Micha. Boy, do I hear you… What if (and I haven’t tried this myself, but thinking of it now, I think I should!) you wrote up a list of super SHORT prayers (one-liners!), prayers that are pertinent to your life, but also concise and memorable. And then post them somewhere, or multiple places, where you’ll see them — bathroom mirror, fridge door, front door (on the inside)… so that as you go about your busy day, you can glance at it, see the prayer, and pray it, right then and there! I mean, I think we long for lengthy stretches of quiet, contemplative prayer, of just listening, etc… and that’s not very realistic for this chapter of constant needs, right?? Although maybe (and this is the hope), if we pepper the day with these short communications, we’ll be more easily and readily able to slide into the times of contemplation, when the space presents itself.

    • michaboyett says:

      Love these thoughts, S. I love the idea of surrounding my house with good words. One of my favorite people, a woman married to my pastor in Austin, covered their home with strips of butcher paper filled with poems and prayers. And I really really want to do that. Maybe that’s part of the difficulty of moving to a new home: how long it takes to feel settled enough to actually get on top of things like that. I know you know exactly what I mean. Hope you’re getting fully settled, friend.

  3. We are the only ones who can decide to make enough time in each day for “work and study and rest and play.”

    I am going to remember this.

    • michaboyett says:

      Thanks Carly. It’s so simple and so profound, right? And so freaking hard! Glad to see you here…

  4. Recently I’ve been trying to focus on keeping alive my desire to spend time with God–even in seasons where it’s not happening. In the past, I’ve focused more on my guilt, my badness, with the result that shame keeps me from coming back to practices when I’m out of the busy season.
    Now, I’m trying to pause for a moment when I am deciding I don’t have time, and praying, “Help me have time tomorrow, Lord. Help me long for this time with You.” I think this is especially important since my kids are still little and their waking/sleeping times are often unpredictable. My time is simply not my own right now.
    I’m finding this gentleness toward myself is creating more desire for God than my old self-loathing.

    • michaboyett says:

      I love that, Heather. You’re right. That’s the only thing that works for me as well. And when I choose to come at it from that place of gentleness, I see God a lot more correctly too. Thanks for your thoughts.