We celebrated a birthday at our house this week.
It was mine.
Another year older…Another year wiser…It beats the alternative…
I’ve come to realize, though, that at some point over the years, my birthday became more of a touchstone for assessing life’s priorities than a day for presents and cake.
(Although, I remain somewhat fond of the cake…)
With each year my appreciation grows for this truth:
Every day, week, month and year represents an awesome gift.
So, I assess.
What has been accomplished in the past year?
What are my goals for the coming year?
Am I spending my time in meaningful ways?
This year, the day before my birthday, I had the chance to attend a worship service in which the speaker challenged us to make two lists:
1. What are my top five priorities?
2. What are the top five things I spend time on?
To what degree do the two lists match up?
(Mine weren’t totally out of whack, but the comparison did result in some criss-crossing lines…)
Paraphrasing Matthew 6:19-21, Bishop Sandra Steiner-Ball challenged us to budget our time wisely and to use our time in ways that will have long-lasting meaning… “For where your treasure (time) is, there your heart will be also.”
She challenged us to build quiet time into our schedule – time for reflection and to listen and discern what God wants to tell us.
This paralleled advice I heard from another speaker this past summer.
At the She Speaks 2013 Conference in July, author Lysa TerKeurst cautioned us not to attempt to always be in “go” mode. We have to find our “go” and “slow” modes, she told us. It will be different for each person – but we must find ours and honor it, or face burning out.
Both of these messages resonated with me.
This past year I have made some choices regarding the use of my time. I have worked on realigning some of my priorities.
When asked to take on more and more hats at work, I instead requested to move to part-time with a narrower focus.
I am striving to bring a better balance to time I have preserved for family.
With a still, small voice whispering to me that I can make a difference with my writing, I have set aside intentional time to work on it.
I am taking time to walk the dog, listen to the birds, look at the sky, and to be more fully “present” in each moment. I am learning to say “no” when my heart tells me that a proposed project or job is not my current calling.
It’s a work in progress, and even though I am not constantly in “go” mode, I still slip into some old patterns of spending my time in unwise ways.
But, by my next birthday, when I look back and reflect on another year, I hope to have my “time” and my “heart” in a better alignment.
Can it be done?
Piece of cake!