Lately it seems that many people have more time to spare – due to various COVID 19 restrictions—yet others (like myself!) have felt like there is more of a chokehold on our time than ever. When the pandemic started, my job as an essential worker became more stressful, and I was exhausted even during my free time. I knew I was really blessed to have my job, and that many others were negatively impacted far worse than I was. Still, I was frustrated. I had really wanted to start my own blog—to dive in on the dream I’ve had for years – but I felt like I couldn’t because of time constraints. Nevertheless, I felt like God wanted me to jump in by faith and take on this endeavor that I had been praying about.
What did I do? I prayed about ways to use my time in a way that honors God, and still manage to accomplish the plans in my heart. Now my blog is up and running! So whether you find yourself with an unusual amount of free time, or if things are still just as busy for you as ever; here are some tools I’ve learned to make the most of my time and to intentionally serve the Lord with it.
Start With Prayer
God’s Word says “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33 NIV). I truly believe that when we begin a day or a project with prayer and seeking God, it will go more smoothly. It fosters devotion to Him. I also believe that when God tells us to ask Him for help, He means it! Last year, when I was stressed, I prayed every day that work would slow down. And it did! Since then I’ve had a much more enjoyable time at my job, and even had the opportunity to try many fun new things, both at work and at home.
Do you get excited at the word “goals”? No? Is that just me? I have always been someone who loves making goals. But sometimes I have these lofty, huge ideas floating around in my head. Even though I intend to implement them, they end up too daunting and I never actually accomplish them. Someone recently suggested to me that I break my goals up into bite-size, actionable steps. I have felt this helps me a lot and it may work for you too. I still have goals for the future, but I also have goals for today, tomorrow, and this week that are more manageable.
I have always been someone who tries to make everything bigger, better, fancier, and more extravagant. While most people might buy Oreos and Cool Whip to make a cheesecake, I’m the girl who has to not only make the cheesecake from scratch – but also the whipped cream and Oreos from scratch (I’m a food snob, I know). My mom has always told me to simplify, even if it’s just to prevent me from getting totally exhausted and crabby EVERY holiday or special day. While I didn’t listen as a teen, now I always try to simplify. And if I want to do an extravagant baking project for the fun of it, I’ll save it for when I know I’ll have extra time. God doesn’t want us stressed out! Maybe you’re not a baker, but there are definitely other areas where this advice applies – if something stresses you out, think of ways you can make it easier. With my many goals, I also pray about what I can eliminate or do in the future instead in order to have balance. And sometimes it’s okay to buy the whole cheesecake from the store. (Wow, it hurt to type that!)
Identify Time Stealers
True story: I like to sit on the couch and drink my coffee (or hot chocolate) while scrolling down Pinterest on my day off… sometimes for a little too long. (Don’t judge me!) Obviously, I’ve found that it’s not the best use of my time to do endlessly. I have to remind myself of Ephesians 5:15-16: “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days” (NLT). Other versions say “Redeeming the time.” There is so much to do as we look forward to Heaven, and so many people to reach. I want to spend my time seeking Him first and working towards His desires for me as a part of His Kingdom and His church.
While I do believe God wants us to rest as well (you will see below!), I definitely overdid it with the internet sometimes. When I finally did cut back on my Pinterest time, I had more time for blogging, writing, and other things I really want to do.
Balance & Rest
Guess what: you can serve God with your downtime too! How do I know this? On the seventh day God rested. There are so many verses about rest! Hebrews 4:10 says “for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his” (NIV).
“It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones” (Psalm 12:2 NIV).
There are so many verses about how God loves rest. I always, always make time to have one day of rest a week, even if it doesn’t work out on Sunday. I encourage everyone to do this as well. (Literally, I tell everybody I know they should rest one day a week!) I think it must please God when we set aside our own agendas and just decide to kick back and fellowship with Him.
Finally, making time for relaxing with family is also a blessing that creates balance. Whether watching a funny movie or playing a game, an evening with family is beneficial for all. (If you need some ideas, I post about funny movies on my blog all the time!)
Serving God Without Thinking of It
I often think of the verse “Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed”(Proverbs 16:3 NLT). This verse always inspires me to continue to do what needs to be done. I am able to see where my daily efforts are a blessing to my family and to the people I work with. I want to continue to live how the Lord wants me to live as I wait for Him.
Whatever I do, whether it’s sharing about what He’s done for me with my writing, helping a customer at work, or even singing praise songs when I’m cleaning the house, I want to bring Him honor in everything.
Titus chapter 2 reminds us that we should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. It continues with instructing us to be totally committed to doing good deeds (Titus 2:11-14 NLT).
Whatever you do, you can do it knowing who you are in Christ. No matter what you do, commit your plans and ideas to Him. Remember, God is the one behind you and before you, leading you and giving you your heart’s desires, so you can help establish His Kingdom. And that’s super exciting!
About the Author: Becca Mahoney is a writer, baker, and blogger at https://www.SugarSaltGrace.com. She is a contributor to Crown of Beauty Magazine, The Conservateur, and Tirzah Magazine. She was homeschooled through grade 12, and has a Specialization in Creative Writing from Wesleyan University. She has been baking for 17 years and loves making completely over-the-top desserts. On her days off, she loves watching any kind of movie, from Marvel to Jane Austen (except horror.)