Open Spaces

I posted this over a year ago but I’m sharing it again because I need the reminder. It’s another Live Like It Matters Challenge and it’s a good one. I have to work hard at this one.

What we do with our time tells the world a lot about us.

How do you spend your time? What does your calendar or planner say about your life?

Last month I didn’t like what my planner said about me. It said I’m busy doing a lot of things. Good things, too. But when I’m not careful about how I plan, I end up doing a lot of additional things and ignoring essential ones.

I have to regularly ask myself: is my life busy or bountiful? Manageable or meaningful? Do I value relationships over routine?

We are afflicted with the idea that we aren’t accomplishing anything unless we are rushing here and there, checking off the items on our “to do” list. But a full calendar doesn’t equal an abundant life. I cannot feel the spaciousness of God’s love when I’ve crammed my calendar full.

When I crowd my calendar with a lot of additional unnecessary activities, I crowd out opportunities for good conversations. I push away the chance of a meaningful encounter. I cannot live on purpose when I’m running around trying to accomplish a lot of things. When I’m rushing from one place to the next I don’t see the people around me. I may see them with my eyes, but not with my heart.

I won’t take the time to smile and say hello to the elderly lady behind me. I won’t notice the young boy in the cereal aisle that’s lost his mother.  I’ll rush through a phone call from my sister.

Because I want to live like it matters and after years of doing it the wrong way, I know that I need time in my home with my family and I need solitude. So I must be wise when planning and making commitments. Since I work full-time most of my days are filled but I can be intentional about my evenings.

I’ve learned that I need plenty of blank spaces in my calendar….some unplanned blocks of time…………time to move at soul-speed. The kind of time when I’m still and my heart is open to any kind of heavenly thought that God might send my way.

The unplanned time can be the most meaningful time spent. The kind that allows for a lengthy unrushed phone call with a long distance friend. Or a cozy movie night at home with my husband because the kids are out of the house unexpectedly. Or a nap on a Sunday afternoon.

We all need open spaces in our calendars.

My Live Like It Matters Challenge to you is to leave some open spaces in your planner. Circle them if you have to but leave them blank. See what it does for you. See what it does for the people around you.

Unplanned time is time well spent.

Because how you spend your time matters. And how you plan or don’t plan matters.

Live like it matters.
Rush

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Pace

After my awful run last Saturday I was truly discouraged. Instead of staying in that gloomy state I went back out there on Monday and ran my longest distance to date.

And I felt great!

The problem on Saturday was that I was trying to run at a faster pace. I was trying to push myself at a pace that my body couldn’t handle. It made all the difference on Monday when I ran at my regular pace. I just ran. One foot in front of the other…….my pace at my best.

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Photo from greatist.com

I make the same mistake with my schedule. Some weeknights are filled with meetings and appointments and classes. Those happen and are needed, but I’ve learned that I need open spaces in my calendar. I need evenings at home with no plan, no agenda…..just time at home with my family.

When I crowd my calendar with too much I become stressed out, irritable, overtired and if I go that way for too long, eventually I’ll become non-productive. I rush around from one place to the next without noticing the people around me. Missing opportunities.

NOT living like it matters.

I function best at a certain pace.

Not her pace. Not his pace. But my pace.

When I try to do life at a faster pace, I don’t take the time to say hello to the stranger behind me at Target. I won’t ask the single young mom at church if she needs help getting her three pre-schoolers to the car. I’ll ignore the waiter’s small talk. And my family’s needs are the first to go unmet.

When I’m going at a faster pace, I’ll get the task done. The meetings and appointments behind me. Items checked off the list.

But my creativity is stifled. Compassion is eclipsed by drivenness. And my relationships suffer.

There are fast paced seasons. We all have those. But we can’t keep the fast pace for long. It’s not good for me or you or the people around us.

So I am learning to go at my pace. Even better……God’s pace.

Because my pace matters. Yours does too.

Live like it matters.

We’ve finally figured it out. Our lives get in step with God and all others by letting him set the pace, not by proudly or anxiously trying to run the parade.     Romans 3:28 (MSG)

Quicken

Open Spaces 

What we do with our time tells the world a lot about us.

How do you spend your time? What does your calendar or planner say about your life?

Last month I didn’t like what my planner said about me. It said I’m busy doing a lot of things. Good things, too. But when I’m not careful about how I plan, I end up doing a lot of additional things and ignoring essential things.

I have to regularly ask myself: is my life busy or bountiful? Manageable or meaningful? Do I value relationships over routine?

We are afflicted with the idea that we aren’t accomplishing anything unless we are rushing here and there, checking off the items on our “to do” list. But a full calendar doesn’t equal an abundant life. I cannot feel the spaciousness of God’s love when I’ve crammed my calendar full.

When I crowd my calendar with a lot of additional unnecessary activities, I crowd out opportunities for good conversations. I push away the chance of a meaningful encounter. I cannot live on purpose when I’m running around trying to accomplish a lot of things. When I’m rushing from one place to the next I don’t see the people around me. I may see them with my eyes, but not with my heart.

I won’t take the time to smile and say hello to the elderly lady behind me. I won’t notice the young boy in the cereal aisle that’s lost his mother.  I’ll rush through a phone call from my sister.

Because I want to live like it matters and after years of doing it the wrong way, I know that I need time in my home with my family and I need solitude. So I must be wise when planning and making commitments. Since I work full-time most of my days are filled but I can be intentional about my evenings.

I’ve learned that I need plenty of blank spaces in my calendar….some unplanned blocks of time…………time to move at soul-speed. The kind of time when I’m still and my heart is open to any kind of heavenly thought that God might send my way.

The unplanned time can be the most meaningful time spent. The kind that allows for a lengthy unrushed phone call with a long distance friend. Or a cozy movie night at home with my husband because the kids are out of the house unexpectedly. Or a nap on a Sunday afternoon.

We all need open spaces in our calendars.

My Live Like It Matters Challenge to you is to leave some open spaces in your planner. Circle them if you have to but leave them blank. See what it does for you. See what it does for the people around you.

Unplanned time is time well spent.

Because how you spend your time matters. And how you plan or don’t plan matters.

Live like it matters.

Photo by Eric Rothermel on Unsplash

Leave Room

It’s so easy for us to fill our Christmas time with shopping, parties, rushing here and there, more shopping and trying to make things “just so” that we miss the really important things.

We sacrifice the essential for the additional. Just like I almost did two years ago.

My Live Like it Matters Challenge to you this week is to leave room in your calendar so that you can enjoy the essential things. The blank space in your calendar allows those unexpected moments to happen.

Cuddle with your kids and watch “The Sound of Music”. Put together a 1000 piece puzzle. Gather some fresh greenery and decorate the mantel.

Those things happen when you’re home with your family and you’ve not planned anything else. That’s when your teenagers will come and talk to you too.

I spent two hours talking to my teen aged son Monday night. It was spontaneous, but needed. It wouldn’t have happened if I had scheduled a meeting, shopped for last-minute gifts, or attended the Christmas party I was invited to.

NOT doing the additional left room for an essential.

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