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Time Management: Using Eternity As My Filter

Eternity clock
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Dishes. Laundry. Hospitality. Caring for children. Loving your husband. Bargain shopping. Creating beautiful things. Chatting with a discouraged friend. Reading. Facebooking. Chilling. Earning a little extra income from a home business.

What's on your to-do list?

What's on your actually did list?

What should be on each of those lists?

As homemakers there are so many things we can spend our time doing. Some of them are good things. Some of them are clearly wasteful things. (Ahem, I have my fair share of those.) And some of them are sort of in the middle.

God has used a beautiful quote to teach me something valuable about time management:
"Only one life, twill soon be past. Only what's done for Christ will last."
Maybe you've heard it--or seen it on an old plaque hanging in your grandmother's kitchen. It's been around for a while. And it is so true. It rings through my mind almost on a daily basis. Does this particular task really matter for eternity?

I want my life to count. I want to build something made of gold and precious jewels--not stubble. (I Corinthians 3:10-15) But so often, I'm pouring seconds, minutes, hours down the drain of time.

Here are a few concepts that the Lord has been graciously teaching me about thinking eternally:

1. Little things can have eternal value.
It might be easy to argue that doing dishes, washing laundry, or creating a beautiful home are things that don't really have eternal value. I disagree. I think that when we do the small tasks that can come with home management with the right attitude, we are doing something eternally significant. First of all, by serving our families in these ways, we ourselves can be sanctified! We learn more about Christ's character as we seek to be servants ourselves. Secondly, we teach our children about God's character. Faithfulness, diligence, beauty. Those are all pieces of who God is. We also display His character not only to our families, but to those who are welcomed to our home when we have a place to offer that is warm, inviting, and peaceful. Little things done in faithfulness can build eternal values in the hearts of people.

2. People always trump everything else in the eternal economy.
Although I do build eternal things when I make my home a well-ordered and beautiful place, I build something even more significant when I focus specifically on the people in my family and those God gives me to minister to. Spending time with my children will always be more important than creating a beautiful wall-hanging for the living room. Sometimes, even the basics need to be set aside to attend to the hearts of people. Illness, sadness, or perhaps the need for celebration with a family member can sometimes be the reason we need to set aside even the most basic of homemaking tasks for a time. I'm not saying this should be used as an excuse for living in perpetual chaos. "Well, we were celebrating!" or "He's had a cold and that's why there haven't been clean socks for two months." Um, no. Chaos that continues almost indefinitely probably means a reevaluation of priorities is in order.

3. There are lots of good things we can do, but only some are best.
There might be something that seems eternally significant. Taking a meal to a family who just had a baby. Teaching a Bible study class. Chatting with a friend who's discouraged. In the quote I mentioned above it said, "Only what's done for Christ will last". You know what? You might think you're doing something for the Lord, but did He actually ask you to do that particular thing? Chances are (hooo boy, I can hear God talking to me right now!) There are things you're doing that are good things, but God never asked you to do them. We need to really ask God--what's on your to-do list for me?

4. There are some things we clearly need to trash--they don't even pretend to have eternal value.
I can waste a lot of time online. I often do waste a lot of time online. Can I get a witness? We probably all have things in our lives that we can immediately recognize as unprofitable time wasters. In short, there is no place for things that suck away time from our homes, families, and relationship with Christ. Period. (There He goes again, talking to me.)

Am I annoying you? Getting on your case? I'm tellin' ya--He got on mine first. And I've still got a looonnng way to go before I can say with confidence that I've learned this particular lesson! But when I do implement it, it works for me.


Sarah H. said...

Having an eternal perspective is so important! Thanks for this thoughtful post.

Val, Mike and Brax said...

I have enjoyed reading thru your blog! Very insightful :-) As for advice on your oldest son's dental visit--I would say yes, take him back and get the work done. (Were they wanting to papoose him just to clean and examine his teeth, or did he have cavities??) If it's for cavitites, request a "cocktail" (not the happy hour kind!) Usually it's Phenergen and Valium. This would be taken orally 1 hour prior to treatment and will help him relax and forget it all ever happened! The papoose is for his safety, and is a good thing for treatment. Now, if it's just for a cleaning, I personally think the papoose is a little excessive. He's old enough to understand and behave thru a cleaning, they might just have to work with him a little and be patient. I do agree that if it's just for a cleaning, most 4 year olds do better w/out mom. Either way, dental care is a must... Hope this helps :-) Good luck!

Jenn @ Beautiful Calling said...

Oh, I arrived here today and thought Oh, my. She's talking to me. This is an area that I struggle in so much - Being busy with good things but not the BEST things. I actually posted on a similar topic today because I am finishing up my planner series and this is the biggest area that my planner has helped me!!

"It may be something good but is it something God wants ME personally to do?" I'm going to write that down in my planner so I can remind myself of it regularly.


Brianna @ Heart(h) Management said...

@ Sarah: Thanks for stopping by again!

@ Val: The papoose was just for cleaning. But my son is a pretty spirited kid. I guess I'll bite the bullet. *Sigh.*

@ Jenn: Sometimes I'm busy with good things, but way too often, I'm busy with things that are just worthless and I know it. Self-discipline will be an upward climb for me till God takes me to glory!

Anonymous said...

Hi Brianna,

This is my first time visitng. I found you from a question you on my cheap cell phone post today. By the way, I answered that here:


Anyway, I just wanted to tell you how much I'm enjoying your blog. This post really hit home. My husband was gone all last week and I had this huge list of projects I planned to accomplish with all my new found "free time". Well that didn't happen -- I mostly just moped around missing him and spent time with God and his word. Our loved ones and our relationship with the Lord are what's so very, very important in our lives -- not how much we can cross off our to-do list.



Kylee @ Counting my blessings said...

Thanks for this post Brianna - God's been speaking to me about it lately too. I've posted ur link on my blog as well :)

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