How to Make the Most of Your Time for the Plans God Has for YouJan 13, 2021
Making Room for the New Goals and Plans God Has for You
Making the most of your time. Time management. Focusing on your priorities. How are we supposed to make the most of our time and focus on what God has called us to do in this world full of distractions and endless opportunities?
When I was reading the Bible the other day, this verse jumped out at me.
“Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” – Ephesians 5:15-17
God continues to remind me that it is so important for us as Christians to make the most of our time and to focus on what he has called us to do, not what others are doing around us.
There are so many things and people we can spend our time on but if we don’t focus on what God has called us to do, we may miss out on how God wants to use us in this world.
The One Question You Need to Ask God Every New Year
I have to be honest, I can feel a little overwhelmed by all the goal setting each New Year. I am not a naturally organized, task maker, planner type person but I know setting goals and having a plan is essential to staying on track for the plans God has for me.
(If you need help setting your spiritual goals to define how you'll grow closer to God this year, you can download a free Spiritual Goals Worksheet to set spiritual goals in 10 different areas).
But last year, God showed me that setting goals or the vision for the New Year is more than just asking God what he wants me to do.
God showed me that asking him what I’m not supposed to be doing is just as important as asking him what I am supposed to be doing.
He showed me that letting go of things is necessary to make room for what God is calling us to do.
The one question you need to ask God every year - God, what do you want me to stop doing this year or let go of?
I went through a lot of life transitions last year and God showed me that with every new season, I need to be taking everything to God and asking him if I should continue to be focusing on certain things.
(If God is taking you through your own life transitions this year, you can read my blog post How to Navigate Life Changes and Transitions as a Christian for tips on how to find more peace and joy through the process.)
I had led a women’s group at my church for two seasons already and I just assumed that I was supposed to keep leading the group. But God was also calling me to get married and finish my book in that season and as I prepared to lead the group, I realized something was off.
It felt like I was trying to do things in my own strength and I realized I didn’t have the same passion or desire to lead the group anymore. I felt bad for not wanting to lead the group so I took it to God.
He quickly confirmed that it was time to step down and that we have to let go of things he has called us to in the past to make room for the new things he is calling us to.
He showed me this with a vision of a purse falling off the table; at first glance, it’s annoying when your purse falls off the table and everything falls out. But as you bend down to put everything back, you realize that you were carrying things that you weren’t supposed to be carrying anymore.
You realize you were carrying some things that could be thrown away or some things that you don’t need to be carrying at the moment.
And when you get rid of the items you weren’t supposed to be carrying, your purse is much lighter and organized, ready to tackle what God has in front of you.
So now every New Year, when I start setting my vision and goals, I clean out my purse by taking all the contents to God.
“Okay God, here is what I am carrying already, here is what I’m already responsible for or committed to, is there anything you want me to let go of or stop doing to make room for the plans you have for me?”
Bob Goff also talks about letting go of things to make room for new ambitions in his book, Dream Big.
Every year, he takes a look at everything in his life and asks himself, “What do I need to carry with me and what do I need to let go of?”
He also talks about how he is constantly changing which is why he’s had many careers and done many things. He talks about the need to “Give your newer ambitions the permission to question some of your older decisions” and says that “The way to start something new is to quit something else.”
Bob Goff believes in the need to let go off things so much that he implements the practice of quitting one thing every week!
If you want more inspiration and laughs as you dream big this year, you can check Dream Big on Amazon.
Discerning Good vs. God
Once God has confirmed the goals and ambitions he wants you to focus on this year, it’s important to discern every new decision or opportunity and ask yourself, “is this God or is this good?”
If you’ve been growing as a Christian and have had a relationship with God, you may have noticed that there is no shortage of opportunities to use your gifts, talents and passions in the world.
Even at church alone, there are so many opportunities to volunteer and serve and so many people you could invest in to mentor and disciple.
But God continues to remind me that I must stay focused on what he is calling me to do by discerning distractions or other things that seem good.
As John Bevere points out in his book, Good or God, not everything that appears good is from God and not everything that seems good is God’s will for our life.
If we said yes to everything good around us, how would we ever have the time and energy to faithfully serve where God has called us?
The things we are supposed to say no to could be distracting us from what God has called us to do if we say yes because we think they are good.
While God’s resources are unlimited, our time and energy that we have to serve God are limited while we are on this Earth and we must discern what God is calling us to do from the things that seem good.
If we said yes to serving on every volunteer at team at church, how could we faithfully be there and be present for the one team that God needs us on most?
If we said yes to every coffee chat or social event in hopes of strengthening friendships with others, how can we faithfully be there for the few women that need us the most or our families back home?
If we follow what others are doing on Instagram because it seems good, how will we pursue the path that God has already blazed just for us?
If you want to learn more about discerning Good vs. God, you can check out John Bevere's book on Amazon.
The Importance of Obedience
Sometimes God may ask us to give up something and it doesn’t make sense. Just like he told Abraham to leave his home and his family to start the journey to the promised land God had for him, Abraham didn’t know what God had in store for him or where exactly he was going.
God may not always reveal what he wants us to do instead when we give something up. But it’s up to us to choose obedience and to follow where God is taking us.
Sometimes we have to trust that if God is asking us to give up something, it’s making room for something else he wants us to focus on.
God could be calling you to start a new ministry. He could be calling you to rest in a season to prepare you or heal you.
He could be preparing you for a new relationship that you’ll enter into.
We never know what God has in store for us but we can choose to obey him if he calls us to stop doing something.
Questions to Ask God to Focus on What He is Calling You to Do
If you haven’t decluttered your purse or your life yet, consider these questions as you pray and ask God what you should be focusing on this year.
Focus and Priorities
Knowing our priorities determines our focus and what we say yes or no to. Having a vision gives our decisions direction so when we are presented with new opportunities, we will know what to say yes and no to.
What does God want me to let go off or to stop doing this year?
What areas does God want me to focus on this year?
What are the 3 main things that God wants me to continue saying yes to?
If God is calling you to make him more of a priority, learn how to make more time for God in my blog post, How to Make God Your #1 Priority.
Which relationships does God want me to focus on?
Which women are God calling me to mentor or disciple?
Which friendships do I need to spend more time investing in?
Which friends do I hang out with out of obligation instead of feeling called by God?
Are there any people in my life that I am people pleasing instead of pleasing God?
Which relationships are draining you or are not serving you anymore?
If you want to learn how to be a better friend or make new friends, check out my blog post, The Power of True Friends.
In order to focus on what God has called you to do and to make the most of your time, you need to first understand how you are spending your time.
I started tracking everything I did throughout the day in an excel spreadsheet, including the time I spent on each task.
Time with God in the morning - 90 minutes. Getting dressed and ready for the day - 30 minutes. Sitting down to edit my book but ended up checking my email – 30 minutes. Intending to start a new blog post but started posting on Instagram – 15 minutes.
After you track your time, you can then identify how long certain tasks are taking you and which tasks are distracting you from what you want to be focusing on.
Are you spending too much time watching TV or on social media?
Where are you getting distracted throughout the day? How can you limit these distractions?
Are you setting aside time to rest each week that is true rest, unplugging away from your phone or other things that feel like work?
Things That Are Holding You Back
In addition to asking God what he wants you to focus on, you should ask him if there are any things or people in your life that are holding you back from the plans he has for you.
Maybe you’re in a job or business that you’re not supposed to be in anymore but you figured it was a good way to earn money so you gave it a shot.
Maybe there’s a friend that you know has been a bad influence and is steering you further away from God.
Or maybe there’s sin in your life that you know you need to deal with. As I talk about in my blog post, Why Alcohol Could Be Holding You Back From the Life God Has for You, God showed me that drinking had been holding me back for so long and he gave me the strength and grace to leave the party scene behind.
Make the Most of Your Time
It is possible to make the most of your time by taking everything to God. Trust him as he shows you what you may need to get rid of and what he wants you to focus on this year.
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Erin Elise Kiu