God has made every person on earth unique and has called every one of us to a distinct vocation. Though none of us is the same and every person’s faith journey looks different, we all have one shared element in our lives: time.
Each of us has the same 24 hours in a day.
Every second of every day, God is calling us to draw near to him. But how often do we find ourselves wasting the precious gift of time on things that don’t bring us closer to heaven?
“Watch carefully then how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise, making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not continue in ignorance, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord.” (Eph 5:15-17)
This excerpt from Ephesians can help us reflect on how our time can be better spent on things that will grow our faith. Not that we should give up Netflix forever, stop playing video games or delete our social media accounts, but we can aim to become more intentional disciples by prioritizing the activities that will lead us to Christ.
Here are three suggestions for using your time more productively and faithfully:
Some of us find we’re most productive in the early hours of the morning, whereas others might enjoy their most productive hours late at night. Regardless of when you find yourself most focused, recognize it and ask yourself how you can offer that time for spiritual growth through activities such as journaling, reading Scripture or listening to or creating music. Alternatively, you might want to dedicate that time to exercising, volunteering or spending time with people who need your care and attention.
Even Jesus needed time away from the distractions of the world to speak to his father, to ponder and to discern. If the savior of the world needed to retreat, we probably do too.
“Then they came to a place named Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ He took with him Peter, James, and John, and began to be troubled and distressed. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch.’ He advanced a little and fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible the hour might pass by him; he said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will.’” (Mk 14:32-36)
When do you find yourself most focused? Where can you retreat for a short period of time every day to reflect and listen more closely to what God is saying to you? What activities can you do during this time that will help you grow in your relationship with Christ?
You can glorify God in everything you do. That means your whole day can be part of one long prayer, whether you’re at work, out with friends or at the gym.
Invite God into the things you do every day. You can say a quick prayer as soon as you wake up that you accomplish all God wants you to do that day. And no matter what you do for work, before you begin, ask God to bless your labor.
If we simply invite God into our lives every day and are conscious of his presence, our time will become his and not ours. We all have different gifts that were given to us by God, and no matter how big or small they seem, they all contribute to the building of the Kingdom.
“And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. … Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others.” (Col 3:17, 23)
Into what areas of your life can you invite God? What gifts has God given you and how can you glorify God with them? In what ways can you transform your day to become one constant prayer?
We might not realize it, but God presents himself to us in subtle ways every day. All too often we’re consumed by what’s happening on our phones or anxious about what’s happening in our heads, that we fail to recognize God.
He’s in the family member who seems to be distant and hurting. He’s in the homeless man you passed on the street who might need a friend. He’s in the person asking for volunteers to serve in a ministry at your parish.
When we’re watchful, we start to recognize that God presents himself in many different ways and calls us to respond.
“Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’” (Mt 25:44-45)
How can you be more present to recognize the subtle ways God reveals himself to you? In what ways do you think God is calling you? What can you do to respond?