“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” ~ Psalm 90:12
I’ve learned many things along the process but there is something specific that I wanted to pass along.
Initially, the undertaking of these projects seemed overwhelming. But here’s the thing I found…eventually; to be more productive, especially as a follower of Christ, I needed to stop unduly multitasking.
This idea challenges what I have been taught for as long as I can remember. It’s contrary to most any facet of life nowadays – work, home, church and culturally.
Now, I’m not suggesting that it’s reasonable or practical to assume we can monotask all of the time. What I am suggesting is that we deliberately task, knowing everyone’s threshold and circumstances are going to require consideration as to what that looks like individually.
“…What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” ~ James 4:14
Let’s face it; we live in a noisy and distracted world. We are losing our ability to focus with any depth into whatever task is before us for an extended period of time. Instead, our brains are scattered. We have constant stops and starts, playing catch up, backtracking and do-overs. Not to mention, the tasks that get bungled along the way. And beneath this clamor and chaos are our relationships. First, to God and then to others.
“Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.” ~ Ecclesiates 4:6
There has been plenty of secular research ink spilled on this subject and I’ll let you sort through that if you so desire.
“Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk–not as unwise people but as wise–making the most of the time, because the days are evil.” ~ Ephesians 5:15-16
My hope is to point out, and offer some relief in learning, that multitasking isn’t a Fruit of the Spirit. In fact, multitasking may be impeding our ability to care for and cultivate those fruits, especially as they relate to God and others.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” ~ Galatians 5:22-25
If we hope to deliberately task we will have to work to shut down the noise and distractions because life is demanding and isn’t likely to relent anytime soon.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…” ~ Colossians 3:23
Time is not a renewable resource. That makes it rare and limited. More valuable than currency and to be allocated more earnestly.
“Since man’s days are determined and the number of his months depends on You, and since You have set limits he cannot pass…” ~ Job 14:5
Even moreover, as with all things, our time is not our own. Yet, how often do we fritter it away with nary a thought?
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” ~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
I am forlorn to think of time wasted throughout my years. Time wasted on things that I thought mattered but with hindsight and wisdom, see them for them for what they were. Perhaps, that in itself is the valuable lesson, one I am still learning.
“Time must be redeemed by liberating it from useless pursuits and dedicating it to the highest purposes. Time is laid out before you, and it must be grasped, it must be seized from all the ignoble purposes that could otherwise steal and waste it. You relate to time well when you understand it as a precious gift to be used, not a valueless possession to be squandered.” ~ Tim Challies
We are to be godly stewards of our time. We’ll likely have to make adjustments. We’ll have to assess and prioritize. We may need to learn to say ‘no’. Some things may have to go all together. We may have to learn how to get organized. We may need to learn to create a schedule and be disciplined to adhere to it. We may need to set a timer. We may have to learn to distinguish between busyness and diligence since they are not the same. We may need to learn how to complete a single task without interruption and before moving on to another. We may need to learn to shut off the radio, the TV, the computer or the phone. We may have to learn to manage our thoughts instead of letting them manage us. We may have to learn to be present. We may have to learn to rest. We may have to learn to embrace a place of quiet.
“…we are not to be caught up in ceaseless motion which prevents us from ever being quiet. Rather we are to put everything second so we can be alive to the voice of God and allow him to speak to us and confront us.” ~ Francis Schaeffer
Being Biblically productive is using all that has been given to us for the Glory of God and the good of others. Understanding this will liberate us from lesser pursuits and allow us to fully engage in those that matter most.
“You came into this world with nothing and will leave this world with nothing. All that you have between the beginning and the end is a gift of God’s grace, and that includes the little dash on your tombstone. That simple line will represent the time given to you. It was given in trust with the expectation that you would take hold of it and put it to the best and highest use. If you are going to run to win, you must redeem your time.” ~ Tim Challies