I’m sure you would agree that as we get older time seems to be going faster. I know I’m not the only man who regularly declares, “There are not enough hours in the day!”
For me, time management isn’t a strength. However as a husband and father I am responsible to manage our time well so we can avoid life becoming too hectic and unbearably busy.
Something that really helps me is deliberate and intentional planning and prioritising. I am realising more and more that when life gets too fast-paced, priorities get jumbled and important things get neglected, there is much I can do with the Lord’s help to make things more manageable and peaceable again. I often remind myself that there are always enough hours in the day to do God’s will!
So here are a few simple suggestions that may help you to develop a family vision if you haven’t done so already. You can then adjust the details, according to what works best for your family.
Prayer and Feedback
We begin with prayer and commit the time to the Lord, asking for His wisdom. We then discuss how things are going in general, specific struggles, prayer needs and problems that need addressing. We also share victories and growth so we can thank God for them together.
This is also a time for me to be real with my children, sharing my failures and how I am seeking God’s help. Children can tolerate a lot of my mistakes, but not consistent hypocrisy.
Documenting the Family Vision
I have a notebook in which I document our “fluid” family vision. It includes a list of things we consider to be priorities for our family, in accordance with God’s call upon our lives. It also includes the activities and actions that are the outworking of those priorities. For example: family devotions, fellowship, hospitality, quality family time, evangelism, exercise, topics to study, skills to develop, ways to serve within the local church etc.
“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17)
Once this is done we then evaluate the value and benefit of how our time has been used. Where do you feel as a family God wants you to serve Him? What gifts has God given your children? What burdens do you each have to serve God? Have certain activities contributed towards your family vision or distracted you from it?
The next step is to shuffle whatever you need to in your lives, to prioritise that which should be given more time and attention. Will one less activity in the week help your wife to not be so exhausted? Will a time of serving or ministering in a rest home help your children to become less self-centred? Is that weekly commitment to help someone out causing you to neglect something of greater importance? The details will be different for everyone.
Moving from the “Why” to the “How”
If something new is to be implemented, what needs to take place for that to happen and when will it take place? If something is to be deleted from the family schedule, when and how is that going to be done? The goal is not perfection, it is direction – and without that direction we may just slip back into a hectic pace of life, with no real sense of purpose or goal.
One of the most helpful things about having an established family vision is that when a new opportunity, activity or event is begging for our time and attention, it can be evaluated in light of the family vision, and that makes it a lot easier to say “yes” or “no”, and saves a lot of unnecessary hassle later on.
Aim to make this an encouraging, inspiring and special time, knowing that God is with you. It may feel awkward at first, getting the family together in this way, but over time it will become easier, and much appreciated by your wife and children!
Kris Baines serves as the pastor of Wellsford Community Bible Church. He also runs a ministry with his family called Eternal Purpose Ministries www.eternalpurposeministries.org.