“This time like all times is a very good one if we but know what to do with it“ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Oh, those wasteful moments. Those 10 minutes between appointments, those 15 minutes waiting in the school parking lots, those 20 minutes between practices. They add up to a lot of unproductive moments in my day.
I have been a slave to those moments, acting as though I have little control in the waiting periods. I usually take a cat nap. A power nap. Doesn’t that sound more productive? I always depend on those power naps to get me through the rest of my harried day.
When I added up all those in-between moments of the day, I realized I had roughly 180 minutes of unstructured time. Fifteen hours of waking time unaccounted for during the week! The Lord convicted my heart of this idle time, revealing He has things to talk to me about. He has plans and purposes for my life that were being cluttered by the busyness and pushed aside with wasted moments.
So I gave my idle time up to the Lord. I made a 40 day commitment to give up those in-between moments which add up to a big fat waste of my God-given time.
The 40 day commitment gave my spiritual life the kick it needed. I still take the occasional nap, but my life is more energized by living each in-between moment on purpose for the kingdom.
Improve upon the time
Instead of letting it slip through my fingers without any accountability, I choose to improve upon the time. Putting it to use for great purposes. I want to invest this gift of time into things that last for eternity.
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17
Barnes Notes on the Bible states making the best use of time means, “Rescue or recover our time from waste; to improve it for great and important purposes”.
10 ways to improve upon the “in-between” time
1. Gain knowledge. Carry a small library of books or articles on a special interest topic. Challenge your work skills, your parenting skills, your nutrition, your knowledge of the world with short articles. Keep them in a basket or the glove box of your car.
2. Build someone up. Send an encouraging note to your pastor, a teacher, a friend who is always there for you. Carry thank-you cards in a handy basket in your car. Make a long overdue phone call.
3. Gain wisdom. Hide the Word in your heart. Write a verse on a note card or sticky note and start memorizing it. Read a Proverb Vitamin: Proverbs has 31 chapters, so read the chapter for the calendar date. Since today is the 16th, you read Proverbs 16. Carry a small Bible in your handy basket and store up wisdom every day.
4. Be Still. Sit quietly, close your eyes. Turn off all music and your cell phone. Let God know you want to hear from Him. Ask Him to search your heart. Ask Him what His purposes are for you. Be still, listen, and know that He is God.
5. Praise Jesus for Who He is. We are so skilled at making requests of God throughout the day. We can be pretty good at thanking Him for what He does for us. But we are not always good at thanking Him for His character. Try to sit and thank Jesus simply for Who He Is.
6. Make a list of what you are grateful for. Write it on a napkin, or better yet, a little notebook in your handy basket.
7. Pray for others. Pray for your spouse or your spouse-to-be. Pray for your kids and their spouse-to-be. Pray for your parents, your neighbors, the President.
8. Take a brisk walk. Get out of the car and take a brisk walk around the parking lot or a nearby park. It clears your mind and helps you get those 10,000 steps a day.
9. Ask Jesus to use you in someone’s life today. Let Him know you desire to be faithful.
10. Write your goals for this week. Include one goal for each area of your life: spiritual, emotional, social, intellectual.
Help me extend the list. What do you do to improve upon the small moments of your day?