I read this on the internet where it was posted anonymously. “After years of wanting to thoroughly clean my house but lacking the time, this week I discovered that wasn’t the reason.”
If you are like me and aren’t working/studying or caring for children/vulnerable adults, the coronavirus has given us the blessing of spare time. Yet, there are many jobs like, thoroughly cleaning our houses, that still won’t get finished because it was never the lack of time that was stopping us.
On several occasions when we’ve moved so my husband could take up a new pastoral appointment, I’ve had to wait before being able to secure a suitable job. Unexpectedly, I found it a challenge to have spare time. It wasn’t easy to be unemployed. I had to learn to eliminate some phrases from my conversation like, “I haven’t got time” and “I’m too busy,” which made me realise how easily those phrases flow off my tongue. It was an interesting learning curve.
I also discovered that the time it took to complete tasks, expanded to fill the time available. So, if the only thing I had to do that day was clean the house, then it took me all day to do it. There were books I wanted to read, that never got read. There were new crafts I said I wanted to try, that were never started. There was my garden, which I wanted to be delight, that remained sadly neglected.
It was never about the lack of time, yet it wasn’t until I had spare time that I acknowledged it.
I’ve spent a lot of time around churches and heard people explain their lack of attendance at various church events, both spiritual and social activities, with the excuse of lack of time. I’m bemused when those same people inadvertently tell me about the latest film releases, the newest program on TV or series on Netflix. I’m sure if they were challenged, they would explain their need for relaxation, which is legitimate. Yet, it tells me something about their priorities.
It similar with our finances. I’ve travelled a little overseas and know that in Western societies we are more blessed financially than we realise, and what we may call a lack of money is simply an arrangement of our monetary priorities. Many will tell you they cannot afford a night out for dinner, a ticket to the theatre, or maybe a holiday, but certainly they have enough money to have their TV fixed, own a pet, or to buy their lunch every day.
We all have a limited income and limited time, so ultimately, it’s about what is important to us, and what isn’t. Perhaps instead of saying, “I can’t afford to” or “I haven’t got time” it would be more honest to say “it isn’t a priority for me right now.”
We find the time and money for the things that are important to us.
The coronavirus has provided an unanticipated opportunity for many of us to rethink our priorities. We have a wide range of choices when it comes to how we spend our time. Perhaps it’s the realisation that we can’t do everything that causes FOMO (fear of missing out) and makes us think we lack time. Yet God has given all of us twenty-hour hours a day, seven days a week and then the Creator gives his created being’s free will—the incredible privilege and responsibility of deciding how we will fill out days.
Susan Barnes has been involved in pastoral ministry for over twenty years with her husband, Ross. They are now semi-retired and enjoy supporting a number of churches in north-east Victoria. You can find more of Susan’s articles at: https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/susan-barnes.html