This is the season when we reflect on the year gone by and think about what we'd like to be different in the year to come. New Year's resolutions have come to mean things we don't take seriously, or don't maintain over time, but there's great value in reviewing and re-purposing, if we follow through.
MacDonald's book offer readable encouragement to take the inner life seriously, something i find myself more and more focused on over time. Simply stated, the difference between merely existing and actually accomplishing something or being someone seems to come from a decision, whether conscious or not, to manage yourself. As Christians, this is a practical expression of Paul's statement that "the love of Christ controls us" (2Cor.5.14)
Here are MacDonald's Laws of Unmanaged Time from chapter seven:
- Unmanaged time flows toward my weaknesses: without a clear notion of where i'm strong and what my abilities are and aren't, i'll tend to invest my time outside the areas of my best and most important contributions
- Unmanaged time comes under the influence of dominant people in my world: my schedule, like nature, abhors a vacuum. If i don't take up my God-given responsibility to manage it, others around me will do so for their own agendas, well-intentioned or not.
- Unmanaged time surrenders to the demands of all emergencies: only a clear sense of priorities can help me decide what really needs to be done, as opposed to what is merely the tyranny of the urgent.
- Unmanaged time gets invested in things that gain public acclamation: while this may be more of a tendency for public figures like MacDonald, things like email and blogging provide many of us the allure of potential public presence. My sitemeter has a graph that shows how many times my blog page was hit: it's easy to make this a barometer of the significance of what i post.
My resolution: keep working at identifying what God has actually called me to do, and find ways to keep my time focused on it.
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