I think we’ve all wished we could wave a magic wand and create more time at some point in our lives. You probably opened this blog post with slight disbelief that it is possible to create more time, but you are desperate so “why not just see?”
Wouldn’t it be nice if these phrases weren’t a part of our vocabulary anymore?
“Sorry, I don’t have time.”
“If there were only more hours in the day.”
“Where has the time gone?”
Question, “How are you?” Answer “Busy!”
You’ve probably spoke them many times but I’ve traveled to a part of the world where these words may have never been uttered. I knew I’d learn a lot when I left for a humanitarian trip to Kenya Africa but I wasn’t expecting the most profound lesson to be on how to create more time.
The women I met in Africa were among the strongest and hardest working I’ve ever seen.
As apart of the African culture it is the woman’s responsibility to do any and every thing that involves providing food for the family. I guess you could say that is the same in our culture. Mothers generally do the grocery shopping and get dinner on the table. But, it was slightly different there.
To get food on the table (I actually never saw a table) it takes a bit more. From sun up to sun down and then some, almost every moment of a women’s day is spent on tasks surrounding feeding her family. She needs water to drink and to prepare food so before the sun rises she’s on her way to the watering pond to get water.
She will have to walk 1-10 miles one way to get her water and carry it back on her head. If she has a baby it is wrapped and carried on her front. In order to make the small meal of corn mush “Ugali” she needs to build a fire. There isn’t much wood around so she must walk a good distance to collect wood, chopping it with a few strikes of her machete.
Of course she needs corn to make the Ugali so the gardening falls into her responsibilities as well. At the end of the day she has one more trip to get water.
Most families only eat 1 to 2 meals a day of the same thing… everyday, Ugali.
It may not seem like much to have to provide, even so, every moment of every woman’s day must be spent to ensure the survival of her family, she has no other choice. She must use all her time to make sure her family has food to eat.
Before I went to Africa I would easily say, “I don’t have enough time!” When I got home I realized, truly, “I have all the time in the world!” If I want water, I turn a faucet. If I want food, I open my fridge. If I need fire, I turn a knob.
Not only do I have time but I have a CHOICE in how to use it. Another luxury the women of Africa did not have if they wanted to survive. As I analyzed how I chose to use my time, I had a humbling realization. How is it possible with all this “time” I often don’t even “have the time” to get dinner on the table?
I was filling my life with busyness and wearing it like a badge of honor. I had been given the gift of time and I had never seen it as a gift. I just made sure it was filled up and I was way to busy to stop to see if what I was doing was even producing the results I wanted.
If each day you were handed a precious box filled with time and you had to choose wisely what to do with it as if each moment had the potential to magnify and bless your life exponentially… what would you do with it? In reality time IS a gift, it is not ours to take. We’ve been given this blessed life and if we believe, “God will you help you become something greater than you ever thought possible,” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf) we would spend our time becoming the person He wants us to be.
Every moment spent doing the needless is a moment of growth we’ve lost. Every week that passes by filled with everyday busyness that leads to no goal or purpose is a week lost. Don’t lose another moment!
Now I’m not saying never rest. My family would say I’m very skilled at resting. I’m saying do you know where you want to be 1 year, 5 years, 20 years from now and are you taking small daily action steps to get there or are you just living life at random? Are there things in your life that have some how sucked up all your most productive energy. Things that have disguised themselves as important when really they are pointless.
Ponder the answers to four questions:
Am I spending my life in “good” and missing the “better and best”?
What can I cut from my life?
What should I do with this time I’ve created to become something greater?
I took this picture when I was in Africa. It reminded me of the women I met there.
The sight of a flower growing right in the middle of a boulder was striking. We can grow in the most difficult and unimaginable circumstances. Not only can we grow but we can grow into something BEAUTIFUL.
I’ve looked at that picture so often that it is now a permanent image in my mind. It helps me reflect on how I’m using my gift of time. I’ve created some free wallpapers for you to download as a reminder as well. Here is a wallpaper for your computer screen and here is a wallpaper for your cellphone.
Life pulls us in so many directions. It can feel overwhelming, endless and sometimes hopeless. As we re-focus and spend our time on what matters most we will push through the crack and begin to feel the warmth of The Son. In the process we will access strength, talent, and knowledge that will become our greatest treasure.