Yesterday I posted some things I do to keep growing as a person and especially as a Christian. The follow-up question to suggestions like those is usually, “Where do you find the time?” I recently preached a sermon series entitled “Overload” and I talked about how most of us have an overloaded schedule already. So how do we find the time to do anything to keep growing? Here are some ways I have found to help myself use my time more efficiently.
1. Wake up a little earlier than you need. Seems simple but it is very effective. I once read that Chuck Swindoll tries to type in one complete page to a book everyday. At the end of the year he has 365 pages or 1-2 books complete. The opposite is true also – read a page or two every day and at the end of the year you have read 1-2 complete books.
2. Keep material in your car. This is great if you have a long commute. You can listen to a sermon or lecture each way you drive. I also suggest keeping a book, magazine, iPad or Kindle in your vehicle at all times. If there is an unexpected road delay you have material. Also, if the kids are running late from an activity you have something to make that time more effective.
3. Use mealtime wisely. I try to meet with people over lunch as much as possible. I have to eat. You have to eat. Then lets eat together and maybe I can learn something from you at the same time. Never eat alone if you can help it, that is unless you use that time for Bible reading and prayer.
4. Subscribe to a Blogreader. I use feedly.com I have the setup on my computer and the app on my phone. The best blogs from some of the best Christian thinkers in the world are at my fingertips all the time. Most can also be subscribed to in email form and you can save them till later.
5. Always be prepared. This is one thing I love about technology. I carry with me hundreds of sermons and lectures on my iPhone. I have a blog reader on my phone. I have and love the Youversion of the Bible on my iPhone. Couple that with Evernote and you have everything you need to do a deep study anywhere and keep notes. I have found myself setting in the doctor’s office and reading and learning. I have sat in the bleachers at halftime of the game reading deep theology while you choke down more popcorn:-)
*Finally – as an added bonus – AVOID TIME WASTERS. Reduce the amount of TV you watch. I watch a lot of sports, but I do it with the sound off and usually have a magazine to read at the same time. I do not do Facebook or Twitter. I did once upon a time, but found out a lot of information I didn’t care about – like your mood today. I also found out information about people I didn’t care about. I haven’t contacted some of my classmates in 20 years for a reason.
I have found it is possible to grow spiritually without adding a lot of extra stuff into your life. I just try to use the time I am given better. As I said earlier this week, “If it is really important to you, you will find the time.”