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Proverbs 31:13-18 “She seeks out the wool and flax and works with willing hands to develop it. She is like the merchant ships loaded with food stuffs; she brings her household's food from a far country.”

Our “Joyful Woman” recognises that life is too valuable to be wasting time. “Only one life will soon be past; only what's done for Christ will last.” She does her jobs with joy and takes full responsibility for them, working diligently, even if there is no immediate and visible reward. She is not "stressed out" as she has a plan, put together with the Holy Spirit's help. She makes full use of every moment and, even if things do not go according to plan, she has back-up tactics to deal with "unforeseen circumstances".

Planning

The work of the Holy Spirit as a helperHelp in planning our time is available to us through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, as it is He who helps us to discipline ourselves. Planning gives us control over our time, rather than being controlled by it. We can then be more available to God for His use. We need to look at our time and what we are doing with it. Are we spending time doing things of no eternal value, such as spending mindless hours in front of the television or reading magazines, or running around in circles doing things that other people demand of us, but that God hasn’t asked us to do? We can’t afford "sloppy flesh-days", even if we feel justified. The only "fruit" that this will produce is guilt and we will not have time to fulfil God's plan for our lives. We all have self-control because this is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. We "can do all things through Christ who strengthens us" - even things that we do not want to do!

God is a God of order and shows us the priorities in our lives. We need to ask Him for wisdom, because He wants to teach us how to manage our time. If we need further help, we might ask a friend (who knows our situation well) how to make our lives more orderly. But often it’s a matter of choices – learning to say “No”. "God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:7)

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven.”

Remember

  • Recognise that there are only twenty-four hours in a day!
  • Be realistic. Do not try and over-schedule your time.
  • Do not compare your lifestyle with that of anyone else.
  • Stress is a "fruit" of the non-spiritual world. Don’t receive it or speak of it.
  • Know whether you are a person who likes to get up early or late and fit in with this.

Action

  • Look at your destiny and long-term projects: marriage - baby - study - new job - fellowship groups - children - leaving home - full-time ministry. Know what your gifts are and how you think God is going to use them.
  • Set monthly goals, both personal and with your family.
  • Set weekly goals. Always plan ahead.
  • Set daily goals. Divide each day into realistic, manageable and achievable parts.

Assess

Now, having looked at these points, think about why you are doing what you're doing.

  • Is there a purpose for everything that takes your time?
  • Can some things be finished?
  • Can some jobs be delegated?
  • Do you need help with some jobs? (From your partner or children?)
  • Are there some jobs you have to accept at the moment?

Jesus firstAsk God how HE wants things ordered in your life. He sets the priorities, so He always gives you the strength to do the job. Often we do God's jobs and then add a whole list of other jobs that we feel we ought to be doing! Are we "people-pleasers"? The best way to tackle time management is to get a notebook or diary then make plans. Write them down. (Habakkuk 2:2) Writing something down is the first step towards getting something done and seeing a direction in your life.

Start at the long-term plan and move through to the daily plan. One plan should build on the previous plan. Monthly goals to be planned are such things as a Bible Study course, holidays, weekend breaks, job hunting, evenings out, visiting a sick relative, losing weight and evening classes. Weekly plans are usually a mixture of compulsory things and hopeful opportunities. These all need to be listed and then divided into each day, numbered by priority.

Our first priority must be our time with God. It is helpful if this is the first thing we do in a day. We then have our mind stayed on Him. Colossians 3:2 advises, “And set your minds and keep them set on what is above”. Then nothing can steal our opportunities. Without this time, our relationship with our dear Father will not be so close throughout the day. We need to pray over our plans for the day, either first thing in the morning or last thing the previous evening. Proverbs 16:3 tells us that we can “Roll your works upon the Lord - commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will - and so shall your plans be established and succeed.” (Amplified version)

Work through your jobs in sequence. Do not be too ambitious. You are not Superwoman, even if you would like to be! You are a child of the King, so you always have to be available to show Jesus to anyone in need in your family, or to a stranger. This will always fit into your plan, simply because that’s God’s plan for you. Don't give up the first time that a day doesn't go quite the way you expect. Just get satisfaction from striking off the jobs you have done from your list and write what you haven't done onto the following day. Simply relax and learn from your mistakes.

Always make time for your marriage relationship:

  • time for rest;
  • time for fun;
  • time for family;
  • time for friendship;
  • time for yourself;
  • time for work.

Now pray and fill out your timetable. If you use your time wisely, you will accomplish bigger visions and challenges for Him. You will learn to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit more easily and keep up with what He is doing at this time in the earth.


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