We are surrounded by schedules. Not just our own, but wherever we go. Work, worship, shop, play—schedules are unavoidable. Schedules can range from extremely simple (wake up, breathe, eat, go back to sleep) to extremely complex (I'm guessing you can fill in this blank).
When all of these things merge—our personal schedules and the schedules that surround us—the results are often complex and overwhelming. So is there anything to be done? Anything that might bring some order, purpose, and manageability?
I believe the answer is yes. Looking into God's Word, we find truths and principles that can equip us to create priorities and a plan for action when managing our schedules. While all manner of circumstances can complicate or just plain blow a schedule to bits, there are some steps you can take to control your schedule.
Two Categories of Schedules
When it comes to schedules, I think there are two categories: the micro-schedule and the macro-schedule.
The micro-schedule includes daily care for you, your family, and your home—things like eating, sleeping, and cleaning. There are days and seasons of life when the micro-schedule can take up your whole day, but we all have some sort of micro-schedule.
The macro-schedule includes everything else—work, church, sports, service, friends, family activities, and so on . . . and on.
Maintaining Your Micro-Schedule
Ask yourself, "Will I be able to maintain my essential roles and responsibilities if I do this?"
The things you need to do in your micro-schedule are probably pretty obvious. Not easy or quick, but obvious. Striving to maintain that micro-schedule can become a useful tool in creating a macro-schedule that doesn't eat you alive. So, a question you might ask when considering adding a new event or commitment to your macro-schedule is:
"Will I be able to maintain my micro-schedule if I do this?"
Keeping Priorities in View
The other things we should consider when creating our schedules are our priorities, non-negotiables, and future goals. I'm not talking about a formal personal mission statement with bullet-point standards and objectives (though, if you thrive on that kind of formality, more power to you!). You might want to think through these questions:
- Are you using the priorities and goals you have established—hopefully through the truth of God's Word—as a sieve that a new commitment or event must pass through?
- Are you considering the essential roles and responsibilities God has given you before you add something else to the calendar?
For example, whenever I consider something new, I know God has called me to be Dan Fulk's wife, as well as Emma, Gretchen, Tucker, and Brock's mom. So will the new thing allow me to fulfill and strengthen those roles? Have I truly prayed about it—even the "little" stuff?
Holding to a God-Honoring Schedule
We must make every effort to wisely create and hold to a sensible, God-honoring schedule. The goal can't be perfection—'cause that's never gonna happen. We know that there will be plenty of unpredictable and unplanned that will happen, but we can have a goal of consistency and effort.
Ask yourself, "Have I set priorities and goals to use as a sieve to evaluate that new commitment or event through?"
The phrase "make every effort" is found several times in the Bible. Probably one of the most familiar references (and most applicable to this post) is in Philippians 3:12 when Paul says, "Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus." We should make every effort in all we do—even creating and dealing with our schedules—for God's glory and in response to what we know Christ has done for us.
Do you need to make some changes to your schedule this week?
"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is" (Eph. 5:15–17).