Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Timing Is Everything

Timing. Good timing. Bad timing. Time management. Can it be learned? Mastered? Conquered?

Yes. And no. I just recently found a great use for my kitchen timer. Having heard oodles and oodles of techniques to overcome procrastination, I finally gave in to the 15-minute timer. I was told anyone can do anything anywhere for 15-minutes (smiling). So I grabbed my kitchen timer one day and cranked it up and over the zero right to the 15 minute mark. I admit I was skeptical. I figured it would be right back in the utensil drawer the next day awaiting a baking cake or casserole's need for perfect timing.

My first attempt at 15-minutes to organized living was to scan and shred a mound of paperwork that accrued over the last year. That dusty pile was my Mt. Everest - it seemed insurmountable! I have to say, I was disappointed when the timer chimed. Not just because it scared the pants off my Persian cat but because I felt productive and didn't want to stop.

I kept going for 15 more minutes. I vowed the next day I would continue. And so the kitchen timer remained on my desk. That was a month ago. I believe my new system of efficiency was the result of a ticking timepiece. But I know better.

In His Word (Ecclesiastes 3:1) God tells us, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:"...

Recently my Mom shared with me that this portion of Scripture is one of her favorites. I have to tell you, it is also one of mine. Allow me to share some more of Ecclesiastes 3:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

What does the worker gain from his toil?
I have seen the burden God has laid on men.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live.
That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil--this is the gift of God.
(You can finish reading more if you click on the above link)
My prevailing success over procrastination was a pouring out of prayer. My wonderful husband prayed for ten years for me to get rid of my "piles"! Finally, I surrendered using a simple tool to try to overcome this hoarding, procrastinating, messy bad habit of paper piling. And it worked! However, it wasn't the kitchen timer that gave me the success. Sounds silly but I give all the glory to God! Why? Because it was time.
Time to surrender to the fact that I could not do this on my own. Ecclesiastes 3:6 states it well, "a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away..." I know. I know. Sounds too simple, as if I took the Scripture out of context. Right? Wrong.
Verses 1-8 in Chapter Three of Ecclesiastes is all about balance. When we are bogged down with stuff whether it be physical, emotional, spiritual or intangible, we are not free to roam through every season unencumbered. Scroll back up and read the seasons of life we all experience as Solomon describes.
If we are preoccupied, distracted, not utilizing time as time was intended we have - - chaos. As the one true God of the Bible is a God of order and never chaos we must realize that my messy procrastination and hoarding of stuff does not glorify my Beloved. Knowing He is in control of my life, I surrendered my struggle. I asked God for help. And He showed up. After all, how can I come to your house and help you clean your front porch if mine is too messy to exit? I can't. I would be rendered ineffective if I live in chaos and confusion.

Yes, we are talking about paperwork and clutter. But everyone has an area in their lives that they have not surrendered to God. My struggle is messiness and stuff. Yours may be something else. But we all have something we have to declare, "Uncle!". The Christianese version of "Uncle" may be "Let Go and Let God." You get the idea.
Let's be honest. There is only so much time in a day. 24/7/365 (a bit more in a leap year ;) but you get the point. We all have the same amount of time. But we are all deciding how to use the time we have been given.
Today I am not only thankful for this ticking invention on my table as I type. I am grateful for God who made me. I am blessed to have found this tool. My husband will say, "It's about time you got organized!" Of course I will smile and agree. God's timing is always perfect. So are the cakes and casseroles I still create - even without a timer.