God has given us all 168 hours each week. Medical science has confirmed over and over again that we (adults) should sleep 7.5 – 8 hours a night, every night. That’s 56 hours gone into the sweet by and by. So now we have 112 waking hours each and every week. The Bible teaches we should take one day a week for a sabbatical rest (to cease from our labours). That’s another 16 hours (after having already taken the 8 hrs to sleep). So 168 less 56 = 112 waking hours each week less 16 = 96 hours. That’s right 96 hours left over to do life and get done each week. That’s probably more than you realised.
Why am I sharing this? Because almost daily I am either reading or hearing about the pressure we are all constantly under in these modern times. And, we are told, if this pressure is constant and unrelenting then something has to give. And ‘give’ it does, usually in the form of destructive habits and vices, stress related diseases, insomnia, broken relationships and a heck of a lot of internal angst to say the least.
Can I offer you an observation today? It centres around this critical question. Are you in control of your life? Are you in control of those 96 hours? OR Is the stuff of life controlling you?
I know what your instinctive response is. Silly question……..of course I am in control of my life. Just take a look at my planner and check out this (electronic) diary. Can it get any flasher than this? Maybe not but according to a ton of research flash diaries say nothing about your goals, your priorities, your productiveness, your effectiveness and how strategic you come at life. And that’s what really matters. Filled up diaries may simply be a window on how fast you are running….the proverbial rat in the spinning wheel. And btw I am a believer in diaries……absolutely.
Pastor, this is perhaps one of your biggest pieces of work you must do. Working ‘on’ your life rather than only ‘in’ your life. It’s asking yourself the question, how can I best utilise these 96 hours? If you don’t work on your life then invariably the stuff of life will control you because that is the nature of stuff. It ALWAYS fills the available space.
So what might working ‘on’ your life look like?
- Being clear ‘why’ you are on the planet. What is your mission?
- Working to your strengths at least 70-80% (ideally) of the time.
- Make sure your job is ‘right sized’ and has KPI’s attached to it.
- Am I filling up my tank regularly with spiritual practises and rhythms, exercise and enjoyable relationships etc. Otherwise known as self-care.
- Learning to deal with administration really efficiently including email.
- Quarterly reviews as to how things are going and asking the question, how can I do this better?
- As the senior leader of your church look at the quantum of what has to be done every week and figure out how to best divi that up.
- As a young leader find a coach and/or mentor and for Pete’s sake listen to him or her.
I’m not suggesting this is comprehensive but it is a good framework to get started.
And now I am talking to myself as well. There is enough time to get done every week. That is how God has designed our world. Do some or all of the above and you will be amazed how much more you get done, how much energy you have and how much less stress you will feel.
Book Recommendation. David Collins (retired pastor and guest writer) has written a superb and concise history called ‘The Latter Rain Revival – The New Zealand Story’. He was both deeply shaped by this movement and deeply immersed in it. The movement has passed now but David reflects on it’s impact on the NZ Christian story and the lessons we can learn from it. I read this excellent and ever so interesting little book in 90 minutes. You can buy it here. or the Kindle version here.
Sexuality and Gender Seminar.
Dr Elisabeth Taylor is speaking at two mini-seminars titled ‘Sexuality and Gender’ in Hamilton and Tauranga on Thursday 8th July. Information and Registration details here.
Alan Vink is currently the Executive Director for LeadershipWorx. Prior to this role he has been the Executive Director of Willow Creek Association NZ (WillowNZ), a Baptist pastor (23 years), Bible College teacher, and church consultant.