Today as Naomi and I were getting ready for the day I shared with her how I had seen two of my book ideas (one that I’m currently writing, another I hope to write next year) very recently already in print. One of my book concepts is the lead article and cover spotlight for the current issue of a major Christian magazine. The other is a book that was released this month with almost the exact title as the book I’m working on right now.
Kind of discouraging. Somebody “beat me to the punch,” so to speak.
Then Naomi made a brilliant remark, a statement that made us both howl in laughter. She told me, “You’re on the leading edge – if only you could catch up!” Thank you, Lord. You would not allow me to wallow in discouragement. You countered with comic relief!
David asked God to teach him to number his days. Paul exhorted us to continually be “redeeming the time.” One translation puts it, “Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days” (Ephesians 5:16, NLT).
May I offer four practical suggestions? Please don’t think I’m the wise “life coach” on time management. I struggle with this too. Only half-joking I’ve prayed, “Lord if you love me as much as you loved Joshua, make the sun stand still for me too!”
So how can we make our days more productive. Here are four practical steps. (Remember, I’m “preaching” first to me.)
1. Start the night before. Determine the optimum time for you to wake up. Mentally go back eight hours and commit to get into bed, whether you’re sleepy or not, at that time. For instance, if you feel the Lord would be pleased for you to rise at 6:00 AM, go to bed the night before at 10:00 PM and set your alarm for 6:00.
2. Practice HWLW. Dawson Trotman, founder of The Navigators, didn’t count sheep. Instead he meditated on God’s Word as he moved into slumber. He called this habit “His Word the Last Word.” Let God’s Word be the last word as you go to sleep tonight, and every night.
3. Give God the firstfruits of your day. Make time with Jesus Priority Number One. Before you engage in anything else, commune with the Lord through worship, the devotional reading of Scripture, prayer, and listening in your spirit for God’s marching orders for the day. This literally sanctifies the remaining hours. And, as only He can, the Lord somehow “gives back” the time we have sown first to Him.
4. Limit your entertainment consumption. Our generation is watching way too much TV, accessing too many movies, and playing way, way too many games. By the way, how long have you been on Facebook today?
Regrettably this generation is losing the capacity to interact well with other people because they’ve been sucked into the vortex of Viral World. The next time you see 3 or 4 teenagers sit at a booth together, observe. Are they talking to each other? Or are they each focused on their own portable screen? Or crazier still, are they talking to each other via their electronic devices instead of addressing the breathing human seated next to them?
I believe there are friends reading this with “leading edge” ideas and visions. Like a prize racehorse, break from the back of the pack, catch up, and lead! I’m writing this Thursday blog on Wednesday night. Hope this helps. Gotta go. Time for bed.