Being a dad in today’s world is challenging. So much is coming at us, from so many angles, all the time. Navigating our life responsibilities in a God-honoring way can be overwhelming.
Let’s say, hypothetically, that your average week holds some of the following responsibilities: work meetings, project deadlines, budget planning, replying to emails, yard work, school carpool, volunteering at church, time with your small group, connecting with aging parents, bussing kids to baseball practice, family dinners, time with your spouse. Of course, there are hundreds of other little things we encounter and manage every day, too many to list here.
Do you get the sense that there is never enough time? Life can start to feel like a checklist and we’re just checking off tasks, hoping and praying nothing goes wrong because we honestly don’t have the margin in our day to handle that.
A few years back, a mentor of mine came barging into my office. He looked me square in the eyes and said, “You make time for what you value. Your daily schedule is living proof of what you believe is most important!” Then he walked over to my desk and flipped open my laptop saying, “Let’s take a look at your calendar right now. Let’s see what your actual life declares as most valuable to you.”
Can you imagine? It was a humbling experience for me, because I suddenly had to face this new brokenness in me—the brokenness of “busy.” I realized how much my life resembled a tumbleweed, just being blown around by the wind. As my mentor scanned my calendar, what surprisingly stood out most to him were the things that were missing.
He pulled out his monthly calendar and said that formulating a schedule is one of the most mission-critical decisions a leader can make. He declared it to be a divine act of trust and an act of defiance toward our go-go-go culture.
I asked him, “What do you schedule first?”
Without skipping a beat, he replied, “The most crucial things are often the first to go. Yet they are the foundation to a flourishing life. With all that is on my shoulders, I am in dire need of wisdom for my marriage, wisdom for my kids, wisdom for my work. I need wisdom, so I start each day in my chair with God.”
I came to learn that every morning he makes his coffee, grabs his Bible and journal, and sits in his living room to spend time with God. Even when he travels, he doesn’t make an exception but rather wakes early and makes time to experience God’s presence.
This simple practice had transformed him from a person who was scattered, stressed, and tired into someone who hears God’s whispers and embodies the fruit of the Spirit.
This conversation with a trusted mentor 10 years ago made me take an actual audit of what I truly valued. Looking over my schedule, it became clear that intimacy with Christ wasn’t as high of a value as I thought it was.
What about for you?
If my mentor barged into your office and scanned your schedule, what would it declare as most valuable to you?
Over the last decade I’ve come to depend on this daily time with God. It’s slowed my RPMs, opened my eyes to what matters most to God, cultivated more joy, peace, and patience in my life. And recently, it’s begun a new legacy within my family.
On an early Tuesday morning, my nine-year-old son was eating breakfast before school. Sitting together at the table, he saw that I was reading a chapter in the Bible. Curious, he asked, “Dad, what are you doing reading the Bible so early?”
It led to a fascinating conversation about the value of time with God. We came up with a plan: we’d practice doing this together. So in the mornings, I read three chapters of a book and take time to reflect, pray, and journal. And at bedtime each night, we read the same three chapters together. I’ll ask him some questions, and we reflect on our day and end by praying together. It has become one of the most important parts of my day. And to think I almost missed it. If my mentor hadn’t taken the time to teach me, and if I hadn’t been committed to changing my time values to meet Jesus every day, I most certainly wouldn’t be able to enjoy this unhurried tradition with my son.
We make time for what we value.
What do you value most?
This week, may you declare what you value most and find a chair to meet with God. May those times in God’s Word and in prayer allow you to encounter a God who is with you and for you. And may you have the time to connect with those you love more deeply and wholly.