There are times and places when too many things attempt to “fit” into a space made for much less. You have probably been on an elevator that is quite full, and yet, someone on it optimistically tells the next floor of people, “Get on, we can squeeze.” So everyone squeezes. You are in the corner, and there is no more room to squeeze. Plus, you need to get off at one of the next few floors, past all those people who just squeezed on. Some how, some way, more people squeeze on at the next floor.
This summer in South Asia I experienced this similar “squeeze,” but on city streets. From my perspective in a rickshaw, it seemed like the roads were just wide enough for one-way traffic– not for the chaos of the traffic going in both directions. It was crazy, as traffic would come to a halt with everyone honking, jockeying and squeezing through.
For many of us, our schedule is like this. There are always more things that want to be squeezed into it. And there are always more things we want to make time for. I think it is kind of the American way– lots of possibilities and a gluttony of choices.
The Schedule Squeeze
So how do you feel about your schedule right now? (That question makes me a little anxious!) Does it feel like the above photo, with no room to give?
There are a plfethora of things and opportunities throughout our week we value and make the time for— and probably, many of them good things. They may become a consistent piece in our schedule. We type them into our Google calendar, hi-lighting with the appropriate color. So, we exercise. We have coffee with a friend. We go to a football game. We study and go to class. We work. We may even go to big Christian gatherings, lead in an organization or even have overlapping commitments! All of these, for the most part, are very good things.
Yet, the choices of good things keep flooding us, so we try and do the squeeze. There is a problem with all these choices. Often, good things get squeezed out– and sometimes they are the best things for us. It can be frustrating. We desperately desire for all of it to fit; but more than often, even important things elusively escape our schedule. Whether we like it of not, many things keep calling out to us, “Come to this! Do more! Make time! Get involved!” There is always one more thing demanding to be squeezed in! So we do the schedule squeeze…
Good things Giving Way to the Better things
What are really good things you wish you had the time for? (For me this list is long.) Many times I hear people say, “I wish I spent more time in God’s word.” They wish for it and sometimes make time for it, but often it doesn’t happen as regularly as they would like. Or, I observe students who want a deeper faith. They seek lots of community options and worship experiences, yet they don’t have time to be intentionally missional or intentional in sharing Christ with others. The best community comes as we love others and as we link arms in the mission. This take intentionality. This take time.
How do we remedy this? How do we find time for the things we really value in this “schedule squeeze” world we live in? Some of the answer is changing our routine and some of it is changing our mindset. But any way we squeeze it, it will feel a little uncomfortable– because something has to give. Sometimes good things have to give way, for the best things.
Let’s take a look at our days. Some things are a constant part of each day and we never think much about them. They are routine, and we probably won’t find them on our Google calendar. We brush our teeth, go to work, carry our phone with us, linger over social media, and eat dinner. They just become a part of the fabric of our life.
If I said, “Let’s click on your (or my) calendar and see what is on it.” Or if I said, “Tell me about your day- each moment and how you spent your time.” Then we begin to see what we really value. You and I both would say that we value so much more than what is on our calendar, so much more than what we are able to do each day. But at some point, the things I value the most, the things that give meaning to my life, have to be woven into my days and have precedent in my life.
Weaving what I Value into my Days
For me, if I value what is eternal, I want my life to reflect that. But it has to start somewhere — in certain choices I make for each day. There will be certain things I will say, “yes” to and other good things I will have to say, “no” to.
- What about you? If you look at your schedule what would it say is important to you?
- What are things that you so want your life to be about that are not represented on your calendar?
Here are a few things I have said I want:
- I want God’s Word to be like my daily bread. I want it to shape my life. I want to be in it regularly.
- I want to become more like Jesus.
- I want to pray more.
- I want to be more thankful.
- I want to share the gospel with others.
- I want to care for people and needs of the world.
If I want to value what Jesus values, I need to meet with God regularly. I need to be in God’s word and allow it to shape my life. Instead of squeezing, I need to take intentional steps in the right direction. But where do I begin?
Beginning with God’s Word
So let’s begin! Let’s begin with God’s Word. Below is a 30 day challenge to help us do just that!
In college I began reading the bible regularly when someone challenged me to try something similiar to this 30 day challenge. I will say this, my life changed tremendously that first year of college. My perspective about life began to be transformed. I attribute this to a few different things, but one of the contributing factors was developing a habit of spending time with God and in His Word.
So, over the next 30 days I will help us to do this very thing: be in God’s word daily as I post passages with a few questions and ideas for putting it into action. I think if we do it for 30 days, it is more likely to become a habit and a transforming, life-giving routine in our life. It is more likely to be a natural part of our life. But it begins one day at a time.
As we soak in God’s word, His values will shape our life. We will value what matters most, and have an eternal perspective. We will grow closer to God and have more certainty about our relationship with God. We will grow in our love for others and in our desire for them to know Jesus personally. We will see change and transformation in our life. Let’s do this together!
30 minutes, 30 days, 30 ways
Here is the challenge: spend 30 minutes each day, for 30 days, in 30 ways (in different bible passages and with simple thoughts for allowing it to to touch our lives). Each day over the next 30 days I will post these. I encourage you to take the challenge for 30 days as a spring board for making it a regular part of your life or for just doing something different and fresh. Or consider sharing with others in your life to do together!
Instead of just squeezing, let’s change our trajectory moment by moment and day by day. Let’s say, “yes,’ to that which is most important to us. Let’s not squeeze, but weave the best things in!
30.30.30. challenge starts tomorrow! Day 1