Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Different Kind of Currency

In the past few weeks, several people have asked me to help with various projects.  Individually, each request has been relatively small, requiring just several hours of my time, but collectively the requests became overwhelming -- especially considering that my regular responsibilities of parenting and work are still ongoing.  I caved.  I had to say no to some tasks and some people even though I wanted to say yes.

Saying no isn't always easy.

Technically, I could have fit everything into my schedule.  I could have finagled child care, cut out time from my own pursuits, mulitasked while playing with my children instead of focusing on them, or deprived myself of even more sleep to get it all done.

There would have been a cost associated with this.  I would have placed myself in a pressure cooker, looking for someone to turn the release valve, ready to blow.  Joel would have regarded me warily as I paced the house, clenching my jaw and muttering abstract threats: If one more person asks me to do one more thing.  All of my ugly could have poured out on some unsuspecting soul, likely a small child who had the audacity to ask for a refill of milk in her sippy cup. 

Not good.

The worst part about it?  No one on the outside would have been the cause of my tension.  It would have been my responsibility, my own doing to myself.  I would have failed to guard my time, and by virtue of this, I would have offset my own well-being.

Of course, the demands on our time aren't always left to our own choosing.  Sometimes our phase of life means that we're in "crunch-time" all the time.  As a dear friend once said, sometimes life feels like you've been riding Space Mountain for two straight weeks, and it's simply time to get off and get a funnel cake already.

Time is a funny kind of currency.  We're given 24 hours each and every day.  Unlike money, we can't save time for later use.  We have to spend it all.  How we choose to spend it is up to us.  We can squander it, lavish it on ourselves, or donate it to others.  I want to be a wise spender of my time, and on some days, this might actually mean saying no to good things.

Psalm 90: 12 says, "Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom."  I'd like to take this one step farther and pray this each morning:  Lord, teach me to number my hours.  Help me to plan every facet of this day so I do only what You would have me do, not get bogged down in unnecessary,  distracting pursuits. 

If I have to spend it all each day, I might as well spend it well.

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