In Radical, David Platt on the disciples during the early stages of the church:
“This is the group that the spread of Christianity depends on. So what are they doing? They are not plotting strategies. They are ‘joined together constantly in prayer.’”
A lot of the interest in time management is due to our pride.
We want to do more than is possible. We want to perform to bolster our self-esteem. We define ourselves by what we accomplish.
The whole time, we may label this as zeal to be a good steward, but deep down that’s not what’s going on. In reality, we want to be Superman or Superwoman in order to feel good about ourselves.
Time management is a way for us to do something towards that goal. To maintain our feeling of self sufficiency – which in turn helps us to feel adequate.
God’s Means; God’s Ends
Don’t misunderstand me: Time management is a great tool given to us by God. But we have to utilize that tool with God’s means and towards his ends.
But slowly, we drift into a selfish state of seeing our time management as our means towards our ends. The shift is so subtle and deep within our hearts that we only realize it’s happened after the fact.
Because when we get too self-sufficient – when we start to view time management not just as the tool to bring God glory but as the way we’re going to feel adequate – then we are actively thwarting God’s plans. After all, part of his intentions for us and our time and our lives is that we recognize and display our dependence on him.
That’s when we run up against the inevitable failure to be Superman. Those fleeting feelings of being adequate start to slip away.
Feeding the Beast
Almost like an addiction, we think that the cure is more time management.
Let’s improve our focus. Let’s be more consistent at waking up early. Let’s get more organized. Let’s prioritize better.
We place our hope in more tools. More programs. More methods. More motivation. More good intentions. More discipline.
The cycle never ends. You will never be able to, in your own power, fit in enough to make you feel satisfied with your life. Perhaps with age and experience, the natural man can settle into some sort of resigned acceptance of his limitations. But apart from God, this will never be a full acceptance – and never a joyous one.
The Spiritual Side
We can even spiritualize this – and I know I’ve been guilty of doing this.
After a day of “being a good steward,” you have a sense of being right with God. Of feeling good about yourself. And… well, being a little self-righteous.
Stewarding our time well becomes the way to be the new Pharisees – to legalistically try to earn the approval of God by handling our resources well.
We may say a prayer of thanks as we fall asleep after a productive day, but the satisfaction we have doesn’t come from God but from our own efforts that day.
Again, self-sufficiency rears its ugly head. And stress, inadequacy, and more failure is right around the corner.
So where does this leave us? What’s the fix?
I’ll write more about this in later posts, but I want to focus on the first step here:
We need to simply own our inadequacies.
Embrace the fact that you, in your own power, are insufficient. Understand that you will never meet your own expectations.
Remember that true, lasting joy will never come as a result of your own accomplishments.
Before we replace these thought patterns with godly ones, we first need to repent of our incorrect thinking.
So take some time today to consider your own illusions of self-sufficiency. Confess this. Then remember you are forgiven.
Then, we can start walking boldly in a new way of life.
How has God shown you that your self-sufficiency is creating havoc in your life?
Photo Credit: LaurPhil (Creative Commons)
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