Taking Back My Calendar
I made a decision this week: I'm taking back my calendar. Over the past several months, my calendar has been controlled by everyone but me. My calendar is my calendar, but I had been scheduling it as though it belonged to everyone else.
I don't mean to sound selfish or like a control-freak. I'm also not an introvert who is looking for more alone time. I'm just discovering that I will be a much better leader if I make some intentional, proactive decisions about how I invest my time.
As a pastor, I know that in some ways my schedule will always revolve around the people I minister to and with. Even on a day of personal tragedy when Jesus tried to get away from the crowds to be my himself, he tended to the needs of the crowds when they pressed in (Matthew 14:9-14). There will always be times when I've got to follow the lead of Christ in this way. Life happens, and when it does, I need to be there.
But historically, I have bent over backwards to make my schedule conform to the schedules of everyone around me. And I'm learning that means I am not being a good steward of my time.
I'm slowly realizing that I won't have anything to offer anybody if I don't take time outside the camp. That's the way we describe what Moses did at the Tent of Meeting in Exodus 33:7. We've got to be intentional about removing ourselves from the context and people of ministry in order to be with God. I need time to study and to pray. And ultimately, I think I will actually have more to give people as I make more time available to God.
Also, I need time to get away and dream with God about what's on the horizon for NCC small groups and leaders. I need time to read, to do reconnaissance, to reimagine ministry. I need time to sit in the presence of people who have spun around the sun a few more times than me and learn from them.
Practically speaking, what does this mean?
- The only small group I will lead during the fall semester will be a group that meets during the day. I need to take back a night of my week. And I need to invest more time in visioneering for 2008.
- I will stop working on my day off.
- I will proactively schedule study times into my calendar for the fall semester. Unlike previous attempts at this, I will treat these as meetings that cannot be changed.
- I will proactively schedule offsite reading and vision days. Again, I will not change these unless there are emergency circumstances.
- I will proactively schedule more time with my zone leaders.
- I will prioritize time with my husband and friends.
- I will establish a regular meeting day and night in which I will try to schedule the bulk of my meetings.