This post was written by Ana Zugheri, a member of the INCM Blog team.
“God has given us two wonderful gifts: time and choices” – Jacquetta Smith, Executive Director of the Prayer Institute
Isn’t this a wonderful reminder? I tend to forget that time is a precious gift. It is given to me by my beautiful Creator as a gift intended for me to glorify Him with. Time, if used properly, can allow us to become more like Him and complete the mission He has prepared for us.
Choices….well, mine aren’t always the best. Truthfully, I like to think of myself as a productive person. People describe me as a “busy bee,” task-oriented, type-A personality. I’m a “Martha,” if you will. I make a list every morning of the things I need to accomplish that day (sometimes I even cheat a little and start the night before), and I get a tremendous sense of satisfaction by striking out each completed task as the day goes by. For me, this is a way of life, a rhythm I’ve learned. I get to wear many hats, and it’s easy for me to want to think I can keep adding to my list. But a question arises: am I choosing wisely?
Believe it or not, the game-changer for me has been to add something to every daily list– quiet time!
In my house, everyone has three daily requirements: care for your mind, care for your soul, and care for your body. We’ve struggled lately on the last one (you don’t want to know the number of carbs we have added to our diet during this quarantine). Thankfully, my husband is really good at setting an example (for all of us) by keeping up with his daily quiet time. He gets up every day at the crack of dawn and spends about an hour in study and prayer. For years, I found that annoying and inconvenient. Why get up so early, when you can have your quiet time at any time of the day?
My perspective changed a few years ago when I received my Children’s Ministry Certification from INCM & Bethel Seminary. It was a life-changing experience for me, for so many reasons. The biggest change has been in my prayer life/quiet time. Throughout the program, I learned about the idea of spiritual disciplines. I am now able to use these disciplines as powerful tools to make wise choices with my time. It is a learning and growing process, and you have to put in the work. But the results are so worth it.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (ESV)
In her book, Mary Morning, Martha Day, Pam Lilly expresses how quiet time with the Lord transforms your day, your mind, and your life. She gives wonderful insights on the “how’s” and “why’s,” as well as the benefits of this practice.
My to-do list used to be irrevocable, long, and sometimes ridiculous. Now, the Lord dictates as I write. I mix and match spiritual disciplines throughout my day….sometimes I “accomplish” more, and sometimes I don’t. But I am prioritizing the things that matter most, and that gives me a greater sense of accomplishment than any crossed-out to-do list.
I’m still learning, but I will never go back to my old ways. After all, God’s ways are always far better. Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:33, ESV).”
If we prioritize God, seeking Him first by giving Him our time, He will do far more with it than we can ask or imagine.
Ana Zugheri is the current Director of Faith52, a “portable” Children’s Ministry, taking church to children that due to difficult living conditions can’t attend a church. Being born and raised in Mexico has brought her a tremendous opportunity to serve as a simultaneous translator in mission trips and ministry work. She loves serving along with her husband and two daughters.