I used to think I was busy and had no time… then I had kids!
How much free time do you have? It seems we are always busy, always running and don’t have enough time. In a world where we are inviting “instant” versions of everything, we don’t have free time. Inventions like the microwave, pre-chopped produce and heat –and-serve meals should greatly reduce the time we spend preparing meals and add hours to our week. We haven’t noticed the extra time. In fact, we have even gone one step further; we can now pay for a service that does the grocery shopping for us!
The math doesn’t make sense. With the advances in technology, we can accomplish more in less time than ever before, but we are working longer and longer hours. I can’t imagine doing my job without the internet, high speed at that. I spend a good chunk of my day looking up different pieces of information on my computer and communicating with my boss via email, instant messaging and live chats. I can do, in a matter of hours, what would have taken days, if not weeks, to do in past generations, but I don’t have any more vacation time or a shorter work week.
I have a friend who comments often about how fast the past month has flown by, and he is right. Sometimes it is hard to believe it is summer. Didn’t we just have Christmas?
In thinking about how time flies by, I started to realize that the more selfish I am with my time, the less I seem to have. Conversely, the more time I give away, the more I seem to be able to accomplish and still have time to relax after all the tasks are complete. I am not just talking about the time I volunteer, that is a few hours built into my schedule, and the occasional opportunity that presents itself; I try to lend a helping hand where I can. I am talking mostly about putting the focus on my family and trying to spend quality time with them. It is amazing how much I can get done when I put the needs of my wife and children first. Sometimes that means taking care of a project around the house; other times it is pausing before rushing off to the next task on my list. Those projects or routine activities, like cleaning the bathrooms, listening to a story about a dinosaur, or meticulously cutting up a piece of fruit, would seem to steal minutes away, but in fact, when I take the time to take part in them, I am often amazed by the amount of time I do have.
The math doesn’t make sense here either, but it works in my favour this time. My life is richer for the time I have given away. This is God’s math; it doesn’t make sense to us. Somehow, the more we give away the more we have. We often see this principle work its way out when it comes to finances, but I really think it works with time as well. If our priorities are right and our focus is on the things that truly matter, we find that our days are full, but not hectic; our calendar is packed, but our lives are fulfilling.
So, yes, sometimes I think back and wonder what I did with all the “free time” I had before my children were born, but when I give them the attention they need and deserve, I find that I have all the time that I need.