God’s Abundance: Prioritize a Few Strategic Things, Damage Control the Rest (Time Management Series)

rest photoWe continue our series on time management with a brief reflection by Heather Peterson. For more ESN posts by Heather, click here. To explore the time management series further, click here


As a department chair, I could pick up my kids at 4:45 p.m. each day, put them to bed at 8, and then neglect my husband while I spend the next 2 to 3 hours catching up on more chair duties or grading. Occasionally, I do do this, but I try to make it once a week and not the rule. I plan 1 to 2 hours each weekend working, and that time slot doubles a couple times a month. These hours are piddly for a chair, but to live a life where I’m present to my family and rested, I’ve had to prioritize a few strategic things and damage control the rest. This decision has been tough because I tend to compare myself to my colleagues. I see them already on task in their office when I walk in at 7:30 a.m. and still there when I leave, and I receive emails from them at night (which I never answer unless a crisis exists).

I’ve come to believe that when I had lived attempting to do all things well, ironically I was treating God as a God of scarcity instead of a God of abundance. By not following God’s command to rest, I was like the children of Israel trying to collect manna on the Sabbath when I needed to have gathered a little extra the day before. If God is a God of scarcity, I am required to do more and do it well for him (and me) to look good, but if he’s a God of abundance, then I must trust that I can take risks, listen for discernment, and focus on what I discern as the most important.

This semester I’ve put off a new adjunct observation until the end of the term (not the best timing to view instruction) and the completion of credential information for adjunct files. I trust that I was wise in my hiring, and I believe that my department’s overhaul of its assessment plan and revision of promotional materials have been more important. God of abundance who intimately knows my frailty at discerning priorities, will you surround my work with your grace, rubbing smooth the hard edges I may have left?    


Image courtesy of Felix Mittermeier at Pixabay.com

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Heather Walker Peterson

Heather Walker Peterson has taught in the Department of English and Literature at University of Northwestern—St. Paul, contributes to the blog humanepursuits.com, and tweets @languageNfaith.

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