By the time you read these words, summer will be halfway over. That’s crazy.
When summer hits, it feels like we have endless free time to do what we want, when we want to. Then the school year arrives, and the summer seems to have flown by leaving us to wonder, Where did the time go?!
How Do You Use Your Time?
During the school year our schedules are structured and busy, and our time is stewarded well (being a steward just means we take care of something). During the summer, though, we tend to have lots of free time to use however we want. And if any of you are like me, there are hours of time during the summer that you wish you could bring back because you’ve wasted them.
The summer hours I’ve squandered in the past weren’t purposefully wasted. I didn’t sit down and say to myself, All right self, I’m going to waste two hours today watching YouTube videos. More often it’s fifteen minutes there and ten minutes here and Oh, I’ll watch this eight-minute video, and Let me check the news, etc.
But those ten- and fifteen-minute chunks spent scrolling social media start to add up, and before you know it, you’ve checked Instagram ten times and an hour of your day was used on Instagram alone! Little things start to add up and really gnaw into the time in your day.
Why does it matter? Because we were put on earth to glorify and honor God with our lives. The author of Ecclesiastes says it this way: “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccl. 12:13).
We’re only given a twenty-four-hour day in which to use our time to make an impact on the world for Christ. That’s 1,440 minutes each day—and we spend approximately 480 of those minutes sleeping! That leaves us with 960 minutes to use to impact those around us. When you start to add up the time we spend on social media, watching movies, and however else we might use our time aimlessly, it seriously cuts into our 960 minutes of waking time each day.
Depressed yet? Don’t be! Here are some secret weapons you can use to make each minute in your day count.
1. Pray about how to use your time.
Philippians 4:6 tells us not to be anxious about anything but “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
If we don’t ask the Lord to show us a project or ministry we can serve with our time, how will He tell us? Be listening—and don’t forget often God speaks through His Word and our authorities.
2. Take action!
The Bible tells us that Queen Esther held one of the highest positions in the land. She had servants to tend to all her needs and lived in a palace. Everything was available to her. But when confronted by her Uncle Mordecai about her people being wiped out by the king’s evil henchman, Haman, Esther swept into action. She didn’t have to use her time to help others, but she did.
I bring up Esther because she’s a great example of using time to accomplish something for God. She may not have felt like doing anything, but that didn’t stop her from taking action.
3. Budget your time.
You’ve heard of budgeting money, but have you thought about budgeting your time? That might look like literally writing down on paper how much time you are going to devote every day to social media, personal activities, and working on a project or ministry that’s much bigger than you and advances God’s kingdom. This may feel uncomfortable or like a waste of time, but try it for a week and let me know how it goes.
I think you’ll find you have more time to work on goals and projects than you thought when you give yourself a limit of where you can “spend” your time. Social media specifically can be a useful tool as long as we’re purposeful with the time spent on using it.
Restoring the Time That Summer Has Devoured
You may have wasted some time this summer. That’s okay! There’s a super encouraging verse in the book of Joel to strengthen you:
“I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten” (2:25).
Think about that for a minute. The time we’ve wasted can be redeemed when we’re wise stewards of our time now and going forward. It’s not too late to use your time this summer for some amazing projects for the Lord—even if it’s serving your family or church (which are great ways to use your time, by the way).
It’s not too late to use your time this summer for some amazing projects for the Lord.
C.T. Studd, a missionary to Africa, once wrote a poem that has a convicting ending. He wrote, “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.” Let’s take that quote and charge ahead, using the rest of our time this summer wisely.
Will you try budgeting your time for a week, and let all of us at LYWB know how it goes?
What’s the biggest time sucker in your life right now? What can you do to limit the time spent on it?