It’s a new year and we all have our goals we want to achieve. However how common is it to start out full of steam only to realise after a few weeks that old habits have re-established themselves, old patterns of living have once again become engrained.
I must say I have been thinking a little over the year that was and what I can do differently going into 2013. One area that God has convicted me on is serving Him more faithfully and effectively at home and church. My secular work has been taking up a lot of time and energy and I feel I need to re-establish some boundaries so that I allow God to work more effectively in my life. I am sure I am not the only one with this problem. How do we prevent this from continuing to happen, ensuring that we are effective tools for God to use within our families and church? We are saved by God to be effective workers for Him (Eph 2:10).
One of the areas of focus will more than likely involve us asking ourselves “how do I spend my time?” or “how can I use my time more effectively?” Clearly this is important, as we need to prioritise time with God and our family first before feeding other areas of our lives. However, may I suggest we ask that question slightly differently? Why don’t we ask, “how do I spend my energy?” It’s slightly different, yet could have a significant impact on how effective we are in our lives.
Whilst it’s true we need to manage our time well, it’s what we pour our energy into that will grow in our lives. What we spend our energy on will determine how effective we are for God. What we feed will grow… whether it be godly habits like quiet time with God in prayer and Bible study or whether they be sinful or fruitless habits. What we expend energy on will have a direct impact on the outcome and focus of our lives.
Keeping that in mind, we need to be mindful that God has created us in a way whereby we can’t sustain high levels of energy expenditure indefinitely. Stress in life is important as it causes us to grow, however sustained levels of stress will lead to burnout. We think in order to work more diligently we need to “work long hours and plough through in order to get the job done”. Although at times that may be required, the problem is our body is not designed for that. We need to have periods of rest and allow our energy levels to replenish. I think someone who takes periodic small breaks throughout the day will work more effectively than someone who tries to work through nonstop. That person may think they are working harder, but they are probably working less effectively because they are not allowing themselves to replenish their energy levels and therefore work more effectively, ie our concentration levels drop. What happens if we don’t take rest times during exercise programs… we burn out and get injuries. Why is sleep so important (major conviction here for me!!!!)? Even Jesus didn’t minister to others non stop… He had times to Himself and in prayer with God (Matthew 14:23). The point I am trying to make is that managing our energy levels is perhaps a more effective way of producing a better output in our lives than simply managing our time.
How are you spending your energy? What energy are you pouring into God’s work? Are you giving God your best, or are you tired and worn out when it comes to spending time with Him. I know I will be doing my best to manage my energy levels more effectively in the coming weeks and months… I hope you do to.