I must admit, since my thing is being real with you ladies, this is a real struggle for me. I tend to be very selfish with my time. I don’t really realize it so much until I feel convicted to do something with my time that I didn’t plan on, that puts a wrinkle in my plans or routine, or something I don’t feel like doing.
The other day someone challenged us with some questions. One of them was, “Do you treat the time you have been trusted with like God is watching?” It was originally about money and I casually kept reading past that one…then he changed it to time, and I was like, “Oh crap.”
Small decisions. Sometimes when we think about ministry, we think about these huge things like leaving our jobs to work for a church or non-profit. Or we think about throwing in the towel on domestic life and living in Africa for a year. But I recently heard an example of blessing others in the name of Jesus in the small decisions we make every day. To me, that was much more relatable. If God calls us to love others, then how are we actually doing that differently than this world? It’s a question I think about often—because despite the fact that I’m saved by Jesus’ work on the cross, and through sanctification I’m a little more like Him and less like my ugly self, at the end of the day, sometimes I don’t feel very different than someone who doesn’t know Jesus. When I ask myself how am I loving others, my first thought is – MY TIME.
Just show up. Isn’t it true that when you are going through something hard, even with the people that you love, all you really want is for people to show up? You don’t want a gift (although those are nice…Daniel), you don’t want someone to read off some Scripture to you or give you a pep talk, what you really want or need rather is someone to just show up and care.
When Daniel and I walked through what we love to refer to as our “year from hell,” the things I remember most aren’t some word or phrase, a plant sent to us or what not (although that was very sweet too – even though, newsflash, I have the blackest thumb ever). What I remember most are the times when people just came alongside us, when they showed up at the hospital with coffee for me when I was staying with Daniel. I remember the people that brought us dinner and just came and sat with me while I cried. And even through the triumphs of life, not just the tragedy, I remember the people who came over to see and hold Kennedy. I remember the people who wanted to clean my house for me and sit down with us and actually MAKE US DINNER so we could rest. And when I look back on all of that, I remember most the people that took the time out of their busy lives and showed us they loved us with their time.
Be open to opportunities to bless people with your time. And even as I type this, it pains me because it’s such a hard thing for me. I’m a creature of habit and flourish in routine. I love my comfort zones and have always been a very independent person. But over the years, and even now, I realize more than ever that my greatest commodity is time, and I need to die to myself each day and be open to who God wants me to share some of it with. This may mean putting down my laptop for an hour to play Play-Doh (Oh how I hate Play-Doh) with my daughter, or putting down my phone for a bit to listen to Daniel talk about his day (even though I still don’t fully understand his job so it sort of sounds like Arabic to me). It may mean getting my selfish mind off of myself and MY routine, and asking God who I can bless that week, who NEEDS someone to show up and care. It really comes down to being intentional each day. Be intentional about being an instrument God could use to bless or comfort someone else even in the normal routines of your life. Intentionality is everything, and I promise if we would ask God to make us aware of those opportunities around us, not only would He use us, we would find more joy in being used by Him too!
So, as much as I love how God uses these blogs to encourage other people, this one more than ever is also for me. I need to continually ask myself, “How am I using the time God entrusted me with this week to love other people?”