Christian time management is a skill that is best learned early. The effective use of time is crucial for productivity. There is much that is written on the subject, but most of it is subtly different from a Biblical perspective of time.
Christian time management is best understood from the vantage point of the eternal. Our human tendency is to consider time as linear, progressing from one event to the next.
We have control over some events, while others control us. So the time management gurus tell us that we must come up with a plan of action that limits the latter and purposefully controls the former.
While there is a huge measure of truth to that concept, it puts the burden on us to micro-manage our days, or be doomed to ineffectiveness.
So out comes the planner and we reign over our days. Imperiously assigning importance to some tasks, we consider others unworthy of our time. Time becomes the treasure that we dispense according to our discretion.
Effective Christian time management is different.
Certainly you’ve heard of time being equated to money. Our language is peppered terminology that reflects our servitude to time. We talk of 'wasting', 'spending', 'investing' and 'saving' time.
If time is equated to money, then Jesus’ comment that we cannot serve both God and Mammon (money), or in this case Time, is equally valid. So how do we avoid the pitfall of serving Time, instead of God? If we extend the analogy, how do we spend, waste, invest or save time?
Jeremiah gives a clue to a more appropriate understanding of Time:
‘I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own,
It is not for man to direct His steps’. Jer 10:23
Christian time management must begin with the deep awareness that there is One who has earned kingship over our time. The sovereignty of Jesus over our time gives us both liberty and responsibility.
His sovereignty does not absolve us of the responsibility of wisely handling time. We are not puppets on a string. Like all instruction in the Bible, boundary lines for using time wisely are drawn clearly.
Here is what has helped me - it may also help you;
• Appreciate with gratitude your indebtedness to the Lord for the gift of time. It is the first step to spending it wisely.
• Value your artistic calling, even it its most fledgling state; it is of infinite value to the One who gifted it to you.
• Remind yourself constantly that you are on a mission. Only the most prudent spending of the time allotted to you will accomplish it.
• Develop a sense of urgency. Time is short and can never be relived - pray Ps 90: ‘Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.’
Our comprehension of Christian time management may never be complete until we understand that we have an enemy, whose cheapest trick is to tempt with distractions.
Life must be lived, and in living it there is the drudgery of chores. Some are unavoidable, however a large majority of them are only perceived to be so.
If you place enough of a premium on fulfilling your calling as a Christian artist, you can afford to delegate, avoid, or simply cast aside plenty of pointless activities that clutter your life and steal time.
I discovered that there were plenty of chores that were obligatory, repetitive or insignificant from an eternal point of view. I merely delegated, ignored, or lowered my expectations, and that of others around me, to a more realistic level.
Somewhere I remember being cautioned about being wary of allowing others to rent space in my head, or my life!
Much of what we do as dutiful Christians, is because someone else felt we ought to do it. Evaluate carefully where you are called to serve and how. Watch out for obligations that are imposed by well intentioned others.
Christian time management for the artist can be pared down to two essentials;
• Spending time with the Lord to seek His direction
• Spending as much time as possible in the pursuit of creating art
So when you are told that you would make a great Sunday school teacher, or that there is a terrific Bible study that would benefit you, evaluate it in the light of your artistic calling.
Not every spiritual activity will further your mission. Ask yourself if this will take valuable time away from creating.
Sometimes the Lord does want you to take up such activities, to further build you up in faith. If seeking His direction is an inviolate part of your day, then you are unlikely to miss His will on activities that don’t directly further your artistic calling.
Live generously, but only at His direction. Live prudently by reining in your own tendency to be spread thin in a culture that activity driven.
A laser sharp focus on a clear mission does not come without the price of discipline. Satan will serve you plenty of ‘second bests’.
Discerning God's best should not be confusing, if you have a clear call to art as your mission.
Read about a pertinent symbol to encourage you in your goal setting.
Goal Setting for the Christian Artist
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