Twenty-four hours in a day, seven days in a week gives us 168 hours. Subtract 56 for sleeping (yes, we’re allotting the optimal eight hours a day) leaves 112. Minus 40 hours for full-time ministry and we’re down to 72. Who are we kidding? Most of us are probably working more than 40, but since we’re probably not sleeping 8 hours a night, we’ll let it more or less balance out. Meals, showers, a little time with community, prayer and we’re down to 40 hours left in the week to play with. Forty hours?! That would be great. I did some math wrong somewhere because that is definitely not my world.
Well, maybe it is. That’s without factoring in the community meetings, committees, boards, and other opportunities offered my way which take up a chunk of that time. With so many great ways to commit one’s passion and energy, how does one decide the best, most important, most life-giving “extras” to take on? Not that I’m an expert at this by any means—ask anyone who knows me—but here are some thoughts and ideas that guide how I commit my time.
First, I’m at my best when I am balancing my work and responsibilities with sleep, eating well, community, prayer, exercise, and at least a little bit of play. Setting aside weekly sabbath time, yearly retreat and vacation are necessary. Saying yes to something extra can’t take the place of any of those needs or I’m no good for anybody.
Second, I ask if the opportunity is something that is going to bring me life and energy, not just drain it. The four newest of us in my community said yes to doing vocation ministry together as a team. Our meetings are fun and it’s exciting to invite others into this life we love. I am on the Giving Voice core team. Giving Voice is one of the only places where I get time with my true peers; it feeds me like nothing else does. Some opportunities leave me with more energy than I expend and are an easy yes.
And, lastly, it’s okay and even good to say no. Some asks just don’t fit my skill set or passion. Some will require too much in an already busy schedule. Sometimes saying no is a better option for everyone.
I know none of this is new. But, hopefully it’s a good reminder in the middle of summer to make sure you are using those 168 hours in a way that brings the life and joy and goodness God hopes for you.