Time – one of life’s most precious commodities yet far more limited than we wish. The last couple of weeks I was able to spend precious time with family. It had been ten years since my husband and I were able to celebrate Christmas with our 3 sons and their families (4 grandchildren!) in one place. It had been 6 years since we had all even just been together. And over this Christmas break, we had 5 joyful days together! What precious time that was. Time to laugh together as we played board games. Time to ponder together as we sat and considered the past. Time to dream together as we looked ahead to the future. Time to marvel together as we hiked frozen trails and stood in awe before frozen-yet-flowing waterfalls. Time to just be with one another.

Now, as a new year begins, the question of time is once again on my mind. In Ephesians 5:15 – 17 we read, “Look carefully, then, how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of time, because the days are evil.”

Life is busy – life with children even more so. There are activities, homework, commitments, meals to fix, clothes to wash, home refinishing to complete, family far and near to keep in contact with, and on and on. There’s rarely a lack of activity vying for our attention. And in the midst of this often frenetic pace of living life, I often find myself thinking that just a bit more time would solve everything.

As John Mark Comer, author of The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to stay emotionally healthy and spiritually alive in the chaos of the modern world states, “the solution to an overbusy life is not more time. It’s to slow down and simplify our lives around what really matters.” As my teachers are planning units of study, I ask them to start with the end in mind – where do they want to end up after teaching this unit? How will today’s lesson help them get there?  The same can, (and should) be asked as we look ahead to the year in front of us. Where do we want to end up? How will we get there? 

I challenge you to take time this year in four general areas:

T: Talking

I: Investigating

M: Musing

E: Enjoying

T: Talk with one another. Don’t just talk ‘at’ one another – take time to talk with one another. Ask hard questions. Listen, without commenting, to thoughts shared. Turn off the podcast. Turn off the TV. And talk. Need any questions to start the conversation? Ask me, I’d love to share some that my sons asked during the past couple of weeks together.

I: Investigate – learn! The challenge in this generation is not a lack of information. Information is readily available. The challenge is feeding your mind quality, beautiful, good, True, information. Never stop learning. Read a good book together with your family or friends (and then talk about it!) Learn about a new hobby with a friend (anyone want to teach me about SC gardening?) Don’t miss the opportunity to investigate/learn something new this year.

M: Muse. Merriam Webster defines muse as “to become absorbed in thought, especiallyto think about something carefully and thoroughly”. Synonyms would be wonder, ponder. When was the last time you took time to be still and think, wonder, ponder – muse. Each Tuesday elementary students in grades 2 – 5 are given a question to ponder in the morning. Just one minute of silent thinking. In class, we aim to ask many more questions as we seek to see our students musing.

E: Enjoy! Play! Take time to play together. Go on that bike ride. Paint a picture together. Stomp in rain puddles. Play a board game. Climb a tree. Play, laugh, enjoy simple time together.

How will you and I spend the time God is giving in this coming year? Join me in following Ephesians 5 and look carefully how you are walking, how you are spending your time. “Because what you give your attention to is the person you become. Put another way: the mind is the portal to the soul, and what you fill your mind with will shape the trajectory of your character.” (John Mark Comer)

-Marilyn Lane
CBA Elementary/Middle School Principal