It has to be the most used excuse for why we cannot do something. I don’t have the time. Our world is increasingly busy and increasingly proud of it. We’ve made an idol out of our busyness. We wear our unavailability as a badge of honor. We pretend to loathe it while we put our hope in its worth.
And at the end of the day, we most often feel as though we ran out of time too early. There were things we didn’t get to do. People we haven’t connected with in way too long. Priorities that have been swept under the rug. We need to find more time.
More time to do the things we love. More time for what really matters. Constantly, we are searching for additions to our time, breaks in the storm system of our schedule that might allow some daylight to peek through.
Out of Time
Here is the naked truth. There is no more time. You have what you have. In fact, we all have the same amount of time. I know, I know. I don’t understand the pressures your under or the expectations you are facing. It’s true. But you don’t understand mine either.
The fact of the matter is that we all have twenty-four hours in a day. We all have seven days in a week. There is nothing more and nothing less for any of us.
So, let’s forget about the idea of getting more time. It’s not gonna happen. What we need instead, is to take ownership of the choices we make with the time we have.
Here is a truth you may be avoiding: we make time for what matters to us. If someone walks into my office and said ‘Jesus is back; there’s a parade for Him on 5thAvenue,’ I’d clear my schedule. If a friend had Hamilton tickets or my wife insisted on a date, the time would be there.
We find more time by making different choices.
Our choices reveal our values. We fill our time with what we believe will bring us affirmation and value. Your time is not full. Your time is full of the things you want it to be full of.
Ownership and Awareness
What we call ‘must do’ on our agendas are really choices we have made. They are the things we have decided matter most.
The problem is that we increasingly discover that the choices we make are not the best ones. I don’t actually value money most so why am I working eighty hours a week? Do I love the work? Am I missing time with my family?
There is something in us that hints at a higher value, a deeper longing. Community. Family. Most deeper values are intangible. And the fear-of-failure defense mechanism kicks in, warning us against the vulnerability of making choices based on such deep values.
Our bad choices, just like our good ones, develop habits. And filling out a calendar is a habit. In order to discover if we are living patterns that are outside our values, we need to take the time to be self-reflective.
And, if our choices are not matching up to our values, we need to make a change. You are not a slave to your schedule. Time is not a shackle imposed on you. It is an opportunity. How you spend it is up to you.