Reclaiming Our Time in 2022

I’ll let you in on a little secret:

I was supposed to be returning from a 10 day Civil Rights Tour bus trip today but it was canceled due to that pesky Omicron Variant and so I haven’t had a scheduled meeting on my calendar for TEN DAYS.

[You can purchase Mykal Kilgore’s music on your favorite streaming service.]

I’ve worked over the past ten days. There have been phone calls and emails, but generally, I took it slowly.

And as I always do when beginning a new year, a new call, or a new day, I say to myself, “This is a golden opportunity to reclaim my time.” When Maxine Waters made this statement a mantra in 2017, I’ve been trying to be like Maxine.

I dislike talking on the phone although I do it for hours every day. I was raised to be a proper Southern lady and so although I can be direct, it’s now how I was raised. Example:

Church Person: Thank you for helping with this (after 15 minutes of discerning the issue and what to do about it.)

Direct Me: Glad I could help. Bye.

Southern Lady Me: Glad I could help. How was your Christmas? (And off we go for another 20 minutes.)

The thing is: I want to hear about their Christmas. I want to know how their son’s COVID situation is going. I want to hear about their new puppy. But as we are talking, two other people have called and I need to get to those calls too.

We all go through this.

As I’ve written before, I once taught an adult church class called The Meaning of Life and one of the things we covered was about how we spend our time. I love that time is a commodity that we spend.

At the end of each Meaning of Life class, we’d share The Most Important Thing We Did Yesterday. Among the comments were things like:

  • Reading a bedtime story to my preschooler.
  • Stopping to talk to my neighbor who was unloading groceries.
  • Listening to my administrative assistant sharing about her spouse’s medical tests.

These people included high level government workers and business executives who spent their days doing Important Things. But most of them agreed that time spent building relationships was most important.

All of us engage in phone conversations that could have taken three minutes but they took twenty. All of us attend meetings or webinars or conference calls when ten minutes of business took sixty minutes of our time.

Let’s reclaim our time in 2022. Let’s ask ourselves as we talk on the phone or meet on Zoom or sit at a real table in a real conference room:

  • Are we sharing information that needs to be shared?
  • Are relationships being fostered?
  • Is the topic moving us towards actual results which look like the Reign of God? (That’s a big one.) In other words, is what we are talking about resulting in Big Picture growth and service to people beyond ourselves that would be pleasing to our Maker? Note: if you live and work in Secular World as a follower of Jesus, you can ask this question too. You are called to ministry in the world. How is God working through your classroom, bank, office, factory?

Reclaiming my time will be one of my spiritual disciplines in 2022. So please know that – while last night’s meatloaf debacle might have been semi-traumatic for you, I might cut you off before you can share every detail.

And you have permission to do the same to me. I am mostly writing this post to myself.

(You wouldn’t believe what happened regarding the random hoodie I found on our coat rack today. Oh my gosh, where did it come from? I guess I’ll wash it? It reminds me of the time when . . . )

4 responses to “Reclaiming Our Time in 2022

  1. To those who have seen
    The Child, however dimly, however incredulously,
    The Time Being is, in a sense, the most trying time of all.
    For the innocent children who whispered so excitedly
    Outside the locked door where they knew the presents to be
    Grew up when it opened. Now, recollecting that moment
    We can repress the joy, but the guilt remains conscious;
    Remembering the stable where for once in our lives
    Everything became a You and nothing was an It.

    This selection is excerpted from Auden’s long poem “For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio” (1942), which can be read in full in W.H. Auden: Collected Poems.

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  2. Katherine M Dunlap

    What a good reminder. I just spent 45 minutes in a conversation that did not serve God. I’m going to be more intentional in my listening.

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  3. Kathleen McKenzie

    I recommend the book Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman.

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  4. I was up early this morning, as is usual, to write a blog post and to write notes of appreciation to the deacons with whom I have faithfully served these past 6 years. My brain works well in the mornings so I have to use that time well to do such chores. This year, though, I have set my priorities and will do my best to not let trivial pursuits get in my way (unless God puts those people and activities into my path).

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