How Are You Using Your Time?

Sometimes life can get us down. I know because even though I’m down right now there are opportunities for me to get back up. I start by asking questions to look at the reasons that I’m down:

  • Have I eaten enough/too much?
  • How have I handled recent social situations? Well? Poorly?
  • How do I feel about who I am? Am I happy with who I am? Do I need to make edits to my life story?

Too often we feel that these questions are overwhelming, that while they might need to be answered in our lives, they are the questions that we will be asked everyday, by ourselves if not by others. What we need to do is see that they are not as heady and that we do have the answers to them if we ask honestly.

Yes, sometimes we have to change who we are, what we do each day, but I think back to the sage truth I heard from Dr. Henry Cloud: “Do you think of your time as finite?”

The fact that we have little time to push effort through the window of opportunity is a reality that we all need to face. I think that we have to stop thinking in a mental frame that we can bank off the future, that our actions today will not affect it. The truth is that we are living a story in our minds of how we think our lives should be and then acting on a completely different track.

Another piece of sage advice: “When you stop looking at the outcome that you want and start looking only at your action, only then will you succeed.” There are a so many things that life requires us to do to hit certain targets. Think about this simple example of hitting a bullseye with an arrow-

  • You first need the materials: you, bow, arrow, target, location.
  • You need to practice on using the bow, understanding the power of pulling back the string, This equals time, interest and concentration.
  • Finally you have to bring all of these materials, both physical and mental together and execute.

There’s so much that we can gain from this example, but the formula works for most everything we do, you simply have to add or subtract materials. Everything asks for that second set of components: Time, Interest, and Concentration. They can look different to every person, and the levels can be lower or higher based upon the situation, but everything takes a valuable resource that you can never get back: Time.

“Do you think of your time as finite?” – Dr. Henry Cloud

So when you are having a bad day, like the one I’m currently trying to buck, know that you are taking a valuable asset from yourself if you don’t even get the answer you are looking for. Time. So while the nagging feeling sits there in your chest, you can tell yourself, “I know this is bothering me, but I’m not going to let it steal my time.”

While some things need time to ponder and study, sometimes a misgiving or disappointment and our thinking in circles (going around and around the same issue without resolution, getting madder and madder or sadder and sadder) can only hurt us because we are thinking with only our own knowledge. Asking a friend to help us understand and being willing to listen and to give to possible constructive critiques will often open up our eyes to things we didn’t see before.

So while life might have you walking through some difficulty, personal, internal or otherwise, and while your feelings are important to feel and understand, be sure that it’s not simply trying to derail you and steal a precious gift: Time.

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John Thompson is a Seattle-based writer and poet who loves DVD’s with a Special Features section. As a Pastor’s kid, he has had an eclectic journey of faith and life finding a calling to follow Jesus Christ. Seeking to find the story behind the story is something that he loves to hear and share. To read more from John, check out his blog or Like him on Facebook.
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