How does anyone “spring clean” time? Lately we’ve heard the phrases “for such a time as this” and “a time for every purpose under heaven” slung about in even secular conversations. Time is invisible, yet demands our attention. It’s measurable and exhaustive, yet cannot be replayed. Depending upon our age , the use of it speeds up or slows down. It is the one thing in life that we all have equally: 24 hours in a day. You can be on time, ahead of time, questioning time, afraid of time, and out of time. So how can we spring clean it? Like money, we can start with “where do I spend it?”
Looking at how we spend time is easy for some people who work the same hours daily, have regular routines, have personal secretaries or live by a calendar. The challenge is looking at the empty spaces in our calendars, the unexpected days off from regular routine and what fruit comes from those days. As I examined my use of time, I found some deceptive patterns of thinking that were contrary to good use of time: “I need down time”, “I deserve a break”, “I need time to process.”, “I deserve relaxation after a hard day’s work.”, “I’ll have something to eat or drink as a reward for my work.” As much as some of these may be legitimate statements, the fruit or lack of it can be tell-tale. The term “couch-potato” didn’t come from someone’s good use of time. Once the TV is put aside, time becomes more productive.
Living without a calendar is like living without a written budget or financial plan. A calendar or calendar journal with activities for the day written in will help one to see where time is spent and where it is wasted. I remember a school teacher had us sit with our hands folded on the desk and watch the second hand on the clock go around for one full minute. She then pronounced, “that one minute is now gone forever”. We sat in dumb grief. In reality, all time belongs to God. We cannot extend it before birth or in our old age. God has ordained the moment of birth and he knows the moment of death.
Another deception about time is that we all need the same number of hours sleep. I am not a scientist, but I can tell that even after sleeping many hours, one can still wake up exhausted. Rest is a gift from God that often comes in sleep, but is not guaranteed with sleep. In Biblical times there was no electricity to keep everything bright after dark. People used the sun and moon for their internal clocks. Jesus lived that way.
Biblically, God is the One who established time for us when he set the sun, moon and stars in place. Because He called the evening and the morning, the first day, then the evening and the morning the second day, encourages a look at the day as beginning with the evening. Get ready for the morning before going to sleep may give good sleep. This, in turn, allows a prepared start for the day. Simple things like setting up the coffeepot or breakfast table, determining clothing, preparing lunches and setting devotional materials out make the day start well.
How do we spring clean time? We start with planning. Then repent and ask God for ways to redeem time.