Thursday, September 30, 2010

Time-Out, Time-Out, TIME-OUT!

Wouldn't it be good if we could stop the clock? Just like they do in sporting events, as the clock is running down, we could simply call for a time-out. I know we can stop or slow down, but the clock never stops. It just keeps ticking and tocking. The 24 hours you get in a day, the 8760 hours you get in a year, just keeps ticking away, never slowing down. Before long the 8760 hours have long passed and we stand around wondering how the time flew by.

If you're like me, you need at least 48 hours in a day. Even with that, of course we still wouldn't get everything done on our to-do list. We would manage to still load up our day with way too much to do. We would try to cram 72 hours worth of tasks into those 48 hours. And in doing so, we would be even more exhausted at the end of the day. Somehow, I think in God's infinite wisdom, He knew just how long to make a day. He knew that 24 hours was all we needed. Any more than that would be more than we were created to handle.

Still in those 24 hours, there are those moments when a time-out would come in handy. A moment when the clock stops and we sit to take a breather and regroup. As great as that would be, we don't get any. The clock just keeps rolling....tick, tick, tick, tick. If you manage to live to be 90, you'll have just under 789,000 hours. I know that seems like a lot, but if you're like me, I'm quickly approaching the half-way mark and man did those first 300,000+ hours fly by. Regardless of where you find yourself on the journey, the fact remains that at the moment you were born the clock began and it hasn't stopped since.

While we all have different life-spans, the truth is we all get the same amount of time in each day. 24 hours. That's it. No more, no less. And once its gone, its gone. We all have lists a mile long of things that need to get done and at the end of the day its still a mile long. Since, time-outs are not an option, then good time management is a premium. Sitting down and doing a survey of what's truly important is a must. Let's face it, we all have things on that to-do list that in the grand scheme of things is of little importance. Regrets are the product or sacrificing the important things for the unimportant. You know as well as I do, that although we may get through most of our to-do list in a given day, if it was at the expense of what is really important there's little satisfaction in the end.

Of course, I try to live life with God's kingdom in my sights. I attempt to value what He values. I try desperately to keep focussed on what is eternal rather than on what is temporal. Trust me, I don't always get it right. That being said, getting it right is my goal. I just know that when its all said in done, at the end of the day those things that are eternal are the things that truly matter. One thing I know that is eternal is relationships. Afterall, that's all we take with us when we leave this earth. Our relationship with our Creator and our relationship with one another.

For me, putting work aside for a time of one-on-one with my sons is much more rewarding than getting the job done right now. Staying up taking in a football game with my son is more satisfying than trying to get a few more work related tasks done before bed. Choosing to take a day to spend with my family each week while I could easily spend the day working, is life-giving. Taking an evening each week to go on a date with my wife is priceless. Hanging out with friends and family, building relationships and doing life together is more rewarding than sitting in front of the tube, or surfing the internet, or getting that last task done on my list.

What I'm trying to say is that in the end when those 789,000 hours have been spent, I want to make sure that the majority of them were spent on the things that truly matter. I know there are things that must be done. I know there are jobs that need our attention. I know there are only 24 hours in a day. But, I hope you'll agree that if we fail to do the truly important things on that to-do list, at the end of those 789,000 hours we'll face some pretty hefty regrets.

I am writing this because, for me, this week has been one that has been filled with way too many tasks. Yes, I've been trying to cram 2 weeks into one. In my attempt to get all the things done that I need to get done, there have been some important ones that have taken a back seat. Remember, I said I don't always get this thing right. Yesterday my oldest son kept asking me to play with him. When I say kept asking me, I mean he asked me alot. But, I had work to do. A lot of work to do. At least 48 hours of work to do yesterday. Finally, he found me exhausted sitting on the couch at the end of the day. He comes up to me and asks one last time, "Daddy, will you play with me?" Up the stairs I stumble to take him on in Madden Football. Thank God it wasn't real football, as I don't think I would have lasted 5 minutes. And thanks Mom, for letting us stay up a few minutes past bed time.

I did a lot yesterday, but the thing that I most remember is that moment when I'm driving for the game winning score and Peyton Manning throws a pick-6 with less than a minute to go. Yep, his Patriots beat my Colts. I just know that of all the to-do's on my list yesterday, that was number one. I know for him, he'll not remember anything else I did yesterday.

It's true I'm tired and it's true I have a lot to do today. But at some point, the list gets put on hold as I have some truly important things to attend to. And as you know, the clock is ticking and there are no time-outs.

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