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I live in America. It's the wealthiest nation on the planet (for the time being). Keeping in mind the old saying "Time is money," think about how rich Americans really are. Compared to many developing countries, America is rather poor in its "time" reserves. No one seems to have enough!
Why are so many of us so busy, and what can we do about it?
Despite the desire for time to relax and reflect, many are tangled in hectic schedules that suck up their time like an industrial-strength vacuum! Rushing to make appointments, meetings or sports practice, we should ponder how we can change our lives to have time to think.
Something works against our desire to find that kind of time. But there are positive steps we can take. Both the negative and the positive can be represented by using the word "busy" as an acronym, each letter standing for another word.
Here is the root of the problem. There is a devil. His name Satan means "adversary." This powerful spirit being is evil and cunning, and he hates us. (See our Bible study aid Is There Really a Devil? to learn more.)
Satan knows that if he can't get us to actually reject God and His laws, then he can prevent us from having a close and active relationship with our Creator by keeping us super busy!
We give in too easily, and thus we have "no time" to seek God. But strangely enough we find the time to check Facebook, e-mail, watch movies, hang out, travel and read novels.
So let's move on to the positive—a way to save our time going forward.
Breathe! It's impossible to create extra time in the day! Trust me, I've tried! Spending some time in Africa I noticed the cultural difference in terms of time management priorities: Relationships came first, then deadlines and punctuality. While there needs to be a balance, it was interesting to note that life didn't have to be as crazy busy or stressful as mine was in America!
Sometimes at work I literally have to remind myself to breathe. This is not how God planned things! Our bodies were not meant to be constantly this busy. Take time to step back from stress and breathe!
Understand God's plan. Sounds daunting, yet young people need to seek God wholeheartedly! "Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, 'I find no pleasure in them'" (Ecclesiastes 12:1, emphasis added).
Understanding God's ways and seeking Him first will help us to have the right perspective on life. Obeying God brings us into His time rhythm, which greatly revolves around the seventh day of the week—the Sabbath—as a rest day. Faithfully taking that day off to vertically orient ourselves toward God greatly refreshes our lives and shields us from the devil's influence.
Simplify your life. In an age of distractions, we are far too easily influenced by society's norms and trends. Video gaming, hyper-social networking and television add to the cloud of devices, events and activities that steal our precious time. The tempting but trivial smorgasbord of distractions leads us away from the more important things in life.
Several years ago I began a life without cable television—a big step for me! Next I freed more time by nixing my Internet movie service. These things aren't always bad, but they can become our go-to activities when we have an ounce of free time. What is there in your life making you unnecessarily busy and keeping you from connecting with God and family?
Yearn for the right things. Ask God to help you focus. We make time for what's important to us, so it's important to have the right things be important! "Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (Psalms 90:12, New International Version, 1984). After a long day of work, my heart yearns to play video games to relax, but wisdom reminds me to find something more fulfilling to do instead, including reading the Bible a little and praying a while to God.
These steps can help us to reprioritize our lives. However, you might think that your priorities are fine; I did. But Jesus Christ wants us to make Him and His way of life our top priority, to "present [our] bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is [our] reasonable service" (Romans 12:1).
Today we typically think of sacrifices and offerings in financial terms, showing that God is more important than our money. Yet our time is extremely important to God as well. Instead of being so busy with everything else, our great Creator wants us to be living sacrifices by giving Him the right amount of our time.
We are busy today—possibly busier than at any time in history. Satan the devil will constantly try to consume our time to distract us away from God. But you can take steps to use time wisely. What will B.U.S.Y. stand for in your life?