Life keeps getting busier and busier, and it seems like the pace is speeding out of control. I’m often asked, “How do you keep up and do all that there is to do?” One of the keys for my life—and one I believe everyone should have—is to discern the times and choose according to the season.
Ecclesiastes says, “To everything there is a season.”
For almost nine years, I was able to work in our church’s youth ministry helping my own teens grow in Christ while helping other teens and investing in God’s Kingdom. Not only was I able to spend time with my children and help others grow in the process, but I grew, too. And, it became an experience that would help define some of the next stages in my life.
Was it sometimes hard or demanding of my time? Yes, you can be sure. But it was absolutely worth it. I see the fruit of my investment in my adult children, in other youth, and in my own spiritual growth.
Conversely, many years before, I had resigned from coaching a girl’s basketball team because my children were small and the time commitment would detract from our growing, young family. The return was simply not worth the time away from our young children.
It’s all about choosing the right priorities in the season you’re in. It’s not that you can’t have it all—you just can’t have it all at exactly the same time!
What are you doing with this season and with the time you have? Each season has definite and important requirements that lay a foundation for the success of the next one. For instance, invest in your children while they’re young instead of pursuing a full-time vocation or ministry, but do take some time to use your gifts along the way. You won’t miss the small window of opportunity with them, and it will make the following seasons of life better because they were built on a more solid foundation.
So how can you best invest your time and energy? Here are some ideas on how to help you do so wisely:
1. Don’t overcommit.
Yes, it’s possible in an attempt to please God and others that you overcommit or get taken advantage of in relationships, and even sometimes in Christian service. I’ve been there myself.
It’s very important that you learn how to hear God’s direction when you’re making long-term commitments, especially when a large amount of time or finances will be required.
Jesus was a great example at differentiating between the demands that were placed on Him. It was the people’s faith that connected them to the answers He had for them, not His own. The disciples also turned down a request for finances, but met the need in a different way—God’s way. They said, “Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have I give.”
2. Evaluate relationships.
I’ve learned that there are people who are consistently “takers” and those who instead look to “give” in relationships. We all have times of need, so as we have freely received we should also give to others. But healthy relationships have a balance of both.
Even mission work and serving the poor needs to be balanced by seeking God for the best method to help. We must determine God’s answer to meet the need. If we consistently take false responsibility to fix a problem, we may be keeping others who need to step up from doing so. It can also be unhealthy if your identity or motivation is found in your works.
You can even do too much to meet your children’s demands, without expecting them in-turn to contribute at their levels and abilities. Consistently working 60 hours each week at your job, or constantly cleaning up after your 13-year-old may make you feel needed, but it will bankrupt you spiritually, physically, and emotionally, and will hurt others’ abilities to grow and take personal responsibility. Everyone needs accountability so they can become their very best. Real love holds others accountable.
Watch for Part Two of this post next week!
For more inspiration and encouragement on finding balance and investing in the lives of others, get Drenda’s book She Gets IT! Click on this blog’s offer to order your copy!