By Anita Patrick

Time Crunch

I am several months into a new position, but it was during week two that I started feeling the time crunch. In grad school, my time was very flexible. I had hours upon hours of extra time to journal and muse about things I was learning, reading about, or just plain interested in. That was a big part of my “me-time” and it was such a sweet time. Given my number one love language is quality time, I felt more endeared to God and more aware of myself when I truly gave Him my undivided attention. It never failed that he would reveal even more of himself to me as the minutes passed. 

Now in my working life, things have changed drastically! I already feel like that precious time with the Lord has slipped so far away. So what then of my time with God? How can I continue to cultivate that relationship when the seasons of my life start to change? These questions have puzzled me for months.

At the end of my life, I want to be like David. It was said that when he fulfilled his purpose for his generation, he fell asleep (Acts 13:36). What a glorious thing. To spend one's life pursuing your purpose and completing it. 

Because of the precious time I had to spend with the Lord in grad school and how my love for the Lord grew and swelled, I have become more and more aware that my time is ever so precious. I took this most recent position as a last effort to see if academia was right for me. I can confidently say no. And so that's why I started really considering my time and my purpose. 

To help myself think of this practically, I mapped out my lifetime in terms of hours and minutes. What I found is that only 11.5% of my life can be categorized as free time including such things as going to church or religious activities, working out, socializing, service activities — whatever you would lump into a leisure time section. That's it. 2.77 hours a day, or about 2 hrs and 45 minutes. 

That may seem like a lot, but believe you me that time can go quick and really get swallowed up in a Netflix binge or down the rabbit hole of social media notifications (Guilty. Totally done that.) I earnestly want to make better use of my time. 

Instead of vegging out on TV and lazing about, I want to be more intentional. I want to more intentionally soak in quality time with loved ones, make room for my hobbies, and cut out things that are draining me. It really is possible to live a full life but there are definitely areas where I want to be more personally accountable. I want to use my time wisely. 

Here are some of the things I’m trying:

  • Listening to some form of worship music on the way to work (and at work when possible) 
  • Creating clear boundaries on my time before and after work and weekends. 
  • If something comes to my mind like a Scripture or thought during the day, pausing to capture it by taking a note in my phone or on paper. 
  • There are a few devotionals I follow that come to my email. They are accessible. 
  • Respecting a Sabbath and trying to rest one weekend day. 
  • Keeping up my habit of journaling, which is part of my prayers/time to talk with God. 
  • Participating in a local women's ministry (not affiliated with one church) as well as a physical church in my local area. 
  • Committing to a small group with my local church to build community. 
  • Sometimes I just fast social media and streaming apps.
  • And because I know I can be too serious I am learning to also make room for just having fun.

So how will you use your time? Life is such a wonderful opportunity. Let's make the most of it living like David, pursuing our purpose. 

About the Author

Anita Patrick earned her BS in Bioengineering from Clemson University (2012) and her PhD (2020) in STEM Education through the Department of Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas at Austin. At UT Austin, she served in her local Grad InterVarsity chapter as a student leader from 2019-2020. Anita is currently a post-doctoral researcher in Psychology at Spelman College. Her research interests include engineering education, career decision-making, student motivation, and cultural identity. In her free time, Anita enjoys creative writing, drawing, and studying foreign languages (especialmente español). 

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