Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord. . .” (Colossians 3:23)
I don’t have enough time. We are all guilty of expressing this sentiment. Sometimes it is frustration, sometimes it is weariness, and sometimes it is an excuse not to do add more to an already busy schedule.
Colossians 3:23 reminds us to work at all we do with our whole hearts. We might find encouragement in that verse when we are teaching Sunday school, singing in the choir, or taking a meal to a sick friend. We are serving others when we do those things, and we know that work is for the Lord. But what about the tasks we work on at home or our jobs? Do we take pleasure in housework, laundry, yard work, and grocery shopping? Do we enjoy our jobs? Are we doing those unto the Lord?
And what about the added work that comes with the holiday season? Do you take pleasure in the extra cleaning, decorating, cooking, baking, and shopping that comes with the season, or is it just something you do because of tradition or expectation?
I have always enjoyed preparing for the holidays, but I often resented my “regular” work because it was taking my time from doing the holiday things I enjoyed. However, as I now have more time on my hands, I find those chores more pleasant, or at least less irksome. That led me to the realization that it isn’t really the chores themselves that are the problem. The problem is my possessiveness of my time. MY time! Do you see the problem with that attitude? My time is not my own time; and if I operate in that mindset, of course I will be frustrated.
If we are walking the path God has set before us and being led by the Holy Spirit, our time is in His hands. Psalm 31:14-15 says, “I trusted in, relied on, and was confident in You, O Lord. I said, You are my God. My times are in Your hands. . .”
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 says there is a time for everything, and we generally interpret this verse to realize we have seasons in our lives. But what if we read it as there is time for everything? Would we be less stressed and possessive of our time if we really believed we have plenty of it? What if you really do have plenty of time?
We know times goes quickly, and as we get older, the time seems to race by even faster. We all have a list of things we want to accomplish—whether it’s today’s to-do list, this year’s goal list, or a lifetime purpose list. But if God truly has a plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11) and He orders our steps, we do have time for everything. Psalm 37:23 says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD,” but can you quote the second part of that verse? “He delights in our way.”
If God takes delight in our way—in our daily steps, our mundane tasks, we can rejoice in Him and delight in our way ourselves.
Does that sound too easy? Are you looking at your holiday to-do list and thinking there is no delight in it? It really is all about mindset. It takes a proper outlook and practice. It takes believing God’s Word about time is as true as everything else He has said, and then acting on that truth.
Here are some steps that may help you cooperate with God’s timing and bring the joy and delight back to your busy holiday season.
Set your mind. Cultivate a positive mindset. Rejoice in the day God has given you. “This is the day God has made! Rejoice!” (Psalm 118:24) You get to spend the day with God, the King of the universe!
Pray. Before you start your day or any of your tasks, ask God to order your day and give you strength. I have found, time and time again, that this is the best way to approach a day when I feel overwhelmed by the number of tasks I need to complete.
- Ask God to order your steps. He has promised to do that. Remind Him of His promise. (Psalm 37:23) Claim it for your life. “In their hearts, humans plan their course, but God establishes their steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)
- Ask God to keep you from distractions. Explore these promises.
- Ephesians 5:16 “making the most of every opportunity…”
- Hebrews 12:2 “Fixing our eyes on Jesus…”
- Proverbs 4:25 “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.”
- Matthew 6:34 “Do not worry about tomorrow…”
- Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”
- Psalm 90:12 “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
Let your words match your mindset. We know words have creative and destructive power, so eliminate negative sayings, like I don’t have time; express positive things: I can do all things through Christ; My steps are ordered of God. “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.” (Psalm 16:11)
Combine things you like to do with tasks you find challenging. Listen to music, a podcast, or a book as you work. Count your blessings as you shop, thanking God for the provision to purchase groceries and gifts. Check your email or social media while waiting for an appointment.
Rest and recharge. When your task list is long, make sure you schedule times for quiet, reflection, prayer, or just something you love to do. Don’t neglect that workout time, coffee date, or favorite holiday movie. Psalm 23:2-3 reminds us God cares about our rest. “He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me besides quiet waters; he refreshes my soul.”
When we look forward to time with family and friends over the holidays, it is rarely about what we do. We just take pleasure in being with them. If we take that same approach to our time with God, then we can enjoy His presence regardless of the tasks we need to accomplish. And we can take pleasure in the tasks because we take pleasure in Him. We can rest confidently in the knowledge that He is aware of our time and our to-do list, and He will make the most of it, helping us to redeem the time we have efficiently. There is a time for everything.