“The decisions you make determine the schedule you keep. The schedule you keep determines the life you live. And how you live your life determines how you spend your soul.” – Lysa TerKeurst, from her book The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands
I’m not sure where you are on your academic path, but as a freshly graduated Ph.D., I am excited as I start a job as an Assistant Professor this year. It means I get to learn how to create my life schedule amongst a bunch of newness: new city, new home, new church, new university, new community (including new coffee shops!), new university, new colleagues, new students, and honestly, a new me. I have felt so much excitement, but in the back of my mind, I have all the stress lurking about how my schedule will come together. Where will I find time for all that is important to me?
In this time of uncertainty, I have been praying for God to give me the wisdom to discern what should make it on my schedule. I want to be a good mother and wife, a caring teacher, an involved community member, and a servant of God. Yet, the swirl of teaching, lesson planning, meetings, church activities, family commitments (… the list really is endless) makes scheduling seem like an impossible chore.
As a gift for my prayers that asked for scheduling wisdom, God reminded me that every minute counts. The example He showed me had to do with those silly games I have on my phone. I tell myself that I will use those games to relieve stress. Then, last week, as I finished playing for 20 minutes on my phone, God whispered “What did you lose during this time?” Lose. What did He mean lose? I was gaining sanity—or so I thought. It was then that I started paying attention to what was happening the next time I played a game.
The next time I played a game, I actually felt stress to finish playing within a certain amount of time. Hmm, I felt stress! I noticed my family was buzzing around wanting to chat, but knowing I was zoned out on a game. I missed out on being there for my family. I also saw a neighbor walking by outside my window that I had wanted to talk to. I lost an opportunity for community. Wow. I hadn’t actually stopped to realize how these silly games (which I embarrassingly played 2–3 times a day) robbed my schedule of time needed for more important things like family, devotions, building community, and simply serving others in my role of teaching.
Since this realization, I have been much more attuned to every minute of my schedule for this fall semester. I also began to look and listen for more scheduling wisdom—everywhere. This is when God led me back to Lysa’s book, The Best Yes. Her words felt like directions God was giving me as a gift at this time, to build a schedule according to what our souls need. What a powerful reminder that amidst the many demands of our personal and academic lives, that every scheduling decision we make determines how we care for our soul.
How are you building your schedule to nurture your soul?
God, please be with each of us as we build our schedules for the semester. We ask that you show us the holes in our schedules (such as silly games on our phone) where we need to improve. Thanks to the words of Lysa TerKeurst, we know that the schedule we keep determines the life we live, and the life we live determines how we spend our soul. Please give us the wisdom to discern what should make it on our schedules to best build our souls and best serve you. Amen.
Note: Part of the Scholar’s Compass series of devotional posts on integrating various aspects of Christian faith and academic calling.
Image courtesy of JESHOOTS at Pixabay.com