This is going to be a busy week for me. It is jam-packed with responsibilities and deadlines. I will be attending a funeral in another province, which will take about three days including travel. On the way home I need to make arrangements to pick up a car my daughter bought from an online auction. Then in the four days remaining this week I will preach at a Christian School chapel, plan and lead an Elders Board meeting at the church. Saturday I am to lead the Elders and their wives through a 6-hour Visioning Retreat. On Sunday I am beginning a sermon series in Colossians as well as leading the church in a communion celebration. Besides that, I already have one coffee meeting and a Men’s breakfast. And this list doesn’t include those little interruptions that come up regularly, or the fact that I am also writing a blog and posting another this morning.
So how do we handle the busy times of life?
- Use the slower times to prepare and plan ahead
My weeks are not always this full. I hope yours aren’t either. So when you have a little more time on your hands, think ahead. I usually plan my sermon series weeks if not months in advance. I often take time at the beginning of the year to plan a whole year of sermons, figuring out when to preach certain topics or themes or books of the Bible.
I have already been working on the Colossians sermon series so I have a pretty good idea of how I will introduce the series on Sunday. It’s not completed, but it shouldn’t take too much more time to finish my introduction sermon.
I have known I was speaking in chapel for about eight weeks. I have a sermon I preached a few weeks ago that I think will adapt well for this purpose. I need to adjust the sermon to make it interesting and applicable to 5- 15 year olds, but at least I have an idea of what I will be doing.
So when you have slower times, think ahead. Plan what you will be doing in the future. The more you think ahead, the more likely you will have at least some of the work done for the events of those busy seasons.
- Use your experience to help you in the busy times
I have had little time to specifically focus on the Vision Retreat I lead on Saturday. Fortunately, I have experience leading similar events. I have old files of other vision processes I have led and can adapt those to specific needs of this church, giving me a great starting point.
I heard of one pastor who threw away every sermon he preached. He wanted each sermon to be fresh and not a repeat of something before. While I appreciate the desire to be fresh for each teaching, there is great benefit in having old files to go to when you need to work on something you have already done at some point earlier in your life. Use your experience. Build on it. Don’t waste it by throwing it all away.
We love the story of Jesus multiplying the loaves and fishes. He prays and the little boy’s lunch becomes a buffet for a crowd! Some of us have stories of God multiplying meals we have served when we did not think we would have enough.
In the same manner, why not pray and ask God to multiply your time? Ask God to stretch out your time so you will have adequate time to do what is required in your busy seasons. Or alternately, ask God to help you work more efficiently and accomplish more than you usually do in a certain period of time. Ask God to stretch your time and abilities to you can do your best, even in busy times.
Sometimes in busy times we cause more problems for ourselves by getting caught up in all that needs to be done rather than focusing on one thing at a time. I don’t have to do the Visioning Retreat until Saturday, so I should focus on the other events that I need to prepare first. Work on one deadline at a time.
Focus in on one thing at a time so you can give it your best. Ask God to help you with your focus. He can help you work on one thing at a time rather than being overwhelmed with everything at once.
- Do your best in the time you have
If you are good at what you do, you will want to do your best with your responsibilities. That is a good thing. But sometimes we have to let go of perfection and just do our best with the time and energy we have. This is not an excuse to do a poor job or not put in the effort, but there are times when our plate is just too full for us to make everything perfect. Do your best all the time, but also be realistic about the time you have.
Busy weeks will happen. Sometimes you will have multiple deadlines to meet at the same time. Ask God to help you and do the best you can, working on one thing at a time.
Keep looking up,