THURSDAY THOUGHTS: FREEDOM IN STRUCTURE
This week has been really freeing in ways I would have never expected. Anyone reading this who knows me in real life can testify that I am very much a type B personality. I am extremely laid-back, flexible, and I don't get worked up if my plans change for some reason. If any of you are into personality types I am an INFP. I love daydreaming, doing things I'm passionate about, and push things I consider "boring" off to the side. Side note: If you haven't taken a personality test you should try this one. Mine was freakishly accurate.
If any of you have a personality like mine or know someone who does, then I'm sure you can see the positives to it, but lately I have really been wrestling with the negatives. I wasn't aware of how much time I was spending doing leisure activities instead of meaningful work until I started reading my book of the month 168 hours. This book advocates for not wasting the time we are given. There are 168 hours in a week and many times, unknowingly, a chunk of those hours are wasted scrolling through social media, watching Netflix (or in my case, YouTube), online shopping, etc. In one of the chapters it challenges the reader (me) to go through a typical week and see how each hour is spent. I calculated in all of the things I know I do each week: sleep, eat, work, work out, time with God, go to church, rest (Sabbath), edit photos, spend time with Jesse. When I got finished I had 11 hours unaccounted for. I seriously had no idea what I was doing during them or where they went each week. I was so convicted for using my time unwisely. This verse immediately came to my mind:
"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil." (Ephesians 5:15-16)
You see, it's easy for me to know I have a problem with time management, but then what? How can something that I have been battling with be combatted? I have such a desire to grow in discipline, but it's so hard because it doesn't come naturally to me. I don't understand what goes through the minds of people who love to clean and get excited about office supplies. They're total freaks. lol. Just kidding. My husband and best friend are those people.
Later in the week I began reading another book (if you can't tell I love reading). It's by a christian author I follow on Instagram, Valerie Woerner. In one of her chapters she talked about the balance between spontaneity and structure. Her view on the subject was so eye-opening and refreshing. She basically just said, when you have more structure in your life it opens you up to be more spontaneous and free. A few examples are:
- Meal planning and eating at home during the week (structure), so you can go on a date night with your husband and not feel guilty if you drop extra money on an appetizer because you saved money earlier in the week (spontaneity). If you didn't have structure then you may feel guilty spending extra money.
- Making sure you pick up the house for 30 minutes or so a day (structure) so if someone randomly wants to drop by and hang out you don't have to tell them no because your house is a wreck. (spontaneity).
- Having the laundry done each week (structure), gives you more flexibility and decreases stress when trying to find an outfit in the morning (spontaneity). You won't have to dig through your dirty laundry and throw a shirt in the dryer to air fluff it 5 minutes before you're supposed to be out the door (aka what I've done more times than I would like to admit).
The advice I read about in her book was so simple, but really thought provoking. God calls us to be good stewards of all the things he has graciously given to us, including our time and belongings. I know discipline and time management are two weak areas God is bringing to my attention and helping me grow in. One of my biggest prayers before I start the day is for God to give me focus on what is important, not waste my time, and give me energy for the tasks I need to get done. I can't make lasting change in my life happen in my own strength; I need God's Spirit.
This week I have been seeing cleaning, organizing, and other tasks that require structure as freeing. Having our house clean, cooking at home instead of eating out, being organized at work and planning ahead make room for a peaceful and less stressful environment.
If you have time this week I would encourage you to write down all of the tasks you do during your 168 hours and see how your time is being used. Each moment of our life is a gift and shouldn't be wasted!
free time-saving tip: Never open photo booth on your laptop. It is a huge waste of time, but also really fun.
My next blog post will be next Thursday (168 hours from this one). Make sure you check it out next week and use your time wisely in between now + then! :)