When it comes to relationships, let’s face it, some are more important than others. Of course, we always think of the most important relationships as those with family—
spouses, children, parents etc. And of course, they are critically important.
Naturally our relationship with God must actually come first as that will set all of our other relationships right. He created you and holds you in existence. You exist eternally in His heart…and you need to place Him front and center in your heart.
But there is another relationship I think we all need to take a look at and work on as it influences and affects all others. That is your relationship with time.
That may sound odd. Can we really have relationships with time? The answer is yes. Most of us don’t even realize it, but we need to recognize that we actually do relate to time and sometimes that relationship is downright dysfunctional.
Do you feel time is your friend, or a cruel task master that pressures and abuses you? Does it control you or do you have mastery over it?
Obviously, we are locked in time here on earth. It won’t be so in heaven but we’re stuck with it here. How we use our time makes all the difference in how successful and happy we will be—both here, and someday in eternity, when we are released from the bonds of time.
Time is the great equalizer. No one, not Elon Musk, Donald Trump or any mega gazillionaire is any wealthier in the time department. Of course, having money seems to make it look like they have more time to do the things they would like to do, to go on vacations, retire etc. But they are still granted 24 hours each day, 7 days each week, and 365 days each year. How many years we are given, well, that’s in God’s hands.
If you feel overwhelmed with too much to do and not enough time to do it, you’re not alone. So many are struggling to keep their heads above water these days with so much to juggle. But it doesn’t have to continue that way. You can take some steps to get a handle on time and forge a better relationship with it.
Every healthy relationship is built on respect. You need to have a healthy respect for time and its constraints. Like physical space, you can only jam so much into your schedule before you run into problems and the seams start to tear. There are important things that must be done in your life that demand time, so respect that and schedule them in first.
Too often when we’re busy, our relationship with God may be the first thing we push aside. Making time for Sunday Mass when kids have sports, or daily prayer, when you feel you need to hit the ground running every morning, can cause you to back burner such things. After all, there’s no pressure to do them. If time is your task master, pressure is his whip.
Consider how little God actually requires of us: Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation, receiving Communion at least once a year in the Easter Season and confession once a year. Let’s face it, He set the bar pretty low!
Now, I’m not suggesting that any of you leave it there, but if you can’t find the time to do even these basics, you have to start to realize something is radically wrong, either with your relationship with time, or your relationship with God.
Get that straightened out. Since He requires so little, start small in setting aside time for Sunday Mass and some dedicated time for prayer each day. Schedule it in—it truly is one of the big things that will affect all the rest. Praying the rosary only takes 15- 20 minutes. Start with one decade a day and build from there. Be sure to meditate on the mysteries when you do. The peace they impart, over time, will be invaluable.
Your state in life
Consider first your state in life first when allotting your time.
If you are married, scheduling in time with and for your spouse should be your first priority. If you have small children at home, that may seem impossible, but so would that dentist appointment, that meeting at work, or your cousin’s wedding, if you didn’t already schedule them in. Your calendar is a powerful tool for getting the upper hand in your relationship with time. Appointments with others we tend to respect and write down. Do the same with the most important person in your life.
If you are a priest or religious, same applies. What are your obligations? Schedule them in. It’s easy when pulled in so many directions with so many needs to let that slip or to get to them after attending to everyone else when you’re exhausted and distracted.
Write a mission statement
Knowing what you want your life to mean and how you want it to look will help you to allot your time effectively. Writing a personal mission statement can pay huge dividends.
Schedule in some R&R
When you’re super busy it’s easy to just keep going until that mythical “someday” when things calm down. Not a good strategy. Make time for rest and relaxation each day and each week. Honor the sabbath on Sundays and rest and have some fun. You’ll recharge your battery and show Father Time who’s boss on Monday. You can often accomplish much more by doing a little less.
Use good tools
A calendar and a timer are your friends. Once something is written down it’s more likely it will happen. Time your tasks so you’ll know how long they take and work accordingly.
Recognizing you’re in a relationship with time can have profound implications. Will it be a healthy relationship or an abusive one. That is entirely up to you.
For help getting started, reach out to a Catholic Life Coach. A coach can help you discern your priorities, write an effective mission statement and organize your time to help you accomplish whatever special mission God has called you to. Why wait? After all, time is not on your side.
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