What would you give for an extra day in your week? How about an extra month in your year?
Imagine it! A secret space where you could hide away and complete all of those risk assessments you should have done but never got around to, plan a years worth of small group sessions, get the letters for your residentials together, and maybe even a sneaky holiday! Sounds good, right? Of course it does. Because you, like me, feel under pressure.
There are seemingly not enough hours in the day to get everything done. And just when you thought it couldn't get any busier… Pastoral Crisis! (Which are like buses, right?)
Now you’re meeting your young people, talking with parents, it knocks you back even further. You haven’t seen your friends for two weeks, your personal time with Jesus is out the window, you skipped your day off again.
Your only option is to show up to youth on Friday and ‘wing it’ because you ran out of time to get that session planned, and you leave with that dull ache of knowing it could have been better… if only you had more time.
Time. There’s never enough of it. Right?
‘His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.’ 2 Peter 1:3
You see, God has given you everything you need to be who he is calling you to be… and that includes time. It may not feel like it, but God’s life-giving assignment for you is possible to fulfil in the seven days of the week and 52 weeks of the year that he created!
So if you feel overwhelmed and out-of-control, here are three steps you can take to help you get on top of your time…
DEFINE YOUR MISSION
Who is God calling you to be? What is God calling you to do? Answering those questions is the first step in taking back control of your time because your values and mission become the filter through which you make decisions about how you spend it.
I would encourage you to take thoughtful time in prayer and reflection to define both a personal and ministry mission statement. In doing so you will shed light on the things you are giving your time to that fall outside of the things God is asking you to do.
Define your mission. Because where your priorities are, there your time will be.
ORGANISE BY MISSION, NOT OPPORTUNITY
Once you have defined your mission, the next step is to organise your time around it. Because mission, not opportunity, should define your schedule.
At LIMITLESS we have defined our mission is to ‘reach young people, equip youth leaders and inspire dynamic youth ministry through the local church.’
I have this mission statement on the wall of my office, under which I have written myself an important reminder: ‘Don’t ask, “How can this be done more effectively?”, ask, “Does this need to be done at all?”.
In other words, I’m trying my best to filter our opportunities according to their relevance and value to our mission.
Remember, just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should. One of the main reasons we lose control of our time is because we are quick to say ‘yes’ to opportunities because they are visible, not because they are valuable. By defining your mission you create a system through which you can accurately define the value of an opportunity, and thus many of your decisions are already made for you!
So if you want to take back control of your time - and come alive through living out God’s perfect purposes for your life! - organise by mission, not opportunity.
HAVE THE COURAGE TO SAY ‘NO’!
You cannot do everything, and you certainly cannot do everything well. In order to stay mission-centric you’ll have to say ‘no’ to many good opportunities that fall outside of the mission and values you have defined for your life and ministry.
If you’re anything like me you’ll find this is easier said than done! But until you learn to say ‘no’ to opportunities that fall outside of God’s remit for your life you will always feel overwhelmed and out-of-control. You have to start saying ‘no’ to good things so you’ll be able to say ‘yes’ to the best things.
Think for a moment of Jesus. Never has there been a man with a more important God-given assignment. His task was very literally a matter of life or death - for all mankind! Yet in spite of this Jesus never seemed overwhelmed or out-of-control, and he successfully used the short time he had been given to fulfil that assignment.
How? Because Jesus had clearly defined his mission (Luke 4:16-21; 19:10), organised his time by that mission (Luke 4:43), and was willing to say ‘no’ to opportunities that fell outside of that mission (Matthew 15:21-24).
God has given you everything you need to be who he is calling you to be. Define it. Live by it. Love it!
Question: What steps do you take to help you get on top of your time? Leave a comment below.