Our Stories

Wasting Away: Taking Back Time

September 26, 2016

“Where have you WASTED your time?” she demanded.

“You have been out for hours.”

Miss Minchin to Sara in A Little Princess

Sometimes God nudges me softly, and sometimes HE just smacks me upside the head. And, I am pretty sure THIS was a smack.

I have been diligently trying to just walk where He is leading me, and clear away all of my expectations with FHB and Me. Despite what the business books tell you, I am not watching numbers closely or setting long term goals. I am just getting up every day, spending time with God, taking care of myself mentally and physically, and writing what I feel inspired or led to write about. he is the conductor of my trainI have no idea where this train is going, just that HE is the conductor and I am an active passenger trying to stay on HIS tracks.

So when I fall asleep at the wheel like this, a smack is probably in order.

You see, I am NOT naturally organized, but I like to be in charge. Pre-planning is generally critical to keeping me sane. This is especially true when we are headed on vacation.

So, when I spent last month organizing and planning an End-of-Summer trip with my husband and two kids to the East Coast, I may have gotten a little out of hand. This was not a -go and stay in one place- trip. This was a 7 Day- fly into Boston and hit as many awesome places along the way to Washington DC- kind of trip.

I agonized about where to stop, stay the night, and plan to do. Do I take New York out of the mix and plan more down time, or do I just push through? I was so confused and seriously overwhelmed when I realized I still hadn’t booked any of the hotels with only one week to go! UGH!

The planner in me was panicked and almost paralyzed with fear. But, I locked myself away from my family for ½ a day, put my head down and got it done!

I weeded through all of the travel sites, reviews, maps, and more to make sure we had the BEST TIME EVER. (Anyone else thinking I might be setting myself up for failure?)

I came out with my hands held high, pumping the air while announcing to the family…

“The trip was officially PLANNED!  Woot-Woot!”

I called them all around the table and started to go through the VERY DETAILED itinerary that included these stops:

Monday: Boston

Tuesday: Nantucket Island

Wednesday: New York City (to see the part of Central Park dedicated to Frances and The Secret Garden)

Thursday: Washington DC

Friday: Quantico & Fredericksburg Virginia

Saturday: Ocean City New Jersey

Sunday: Philadelphia

Monday: Fly Home from Baltimore Maryland

The same panic that had plagued me in planning process,

I could see now in the eyes of my family.

When will we breathe? Can we really do all of this in one week?

I assured them, before they passed out from panic, that we just had hotels booked in these towns, and what we do and when we do it along the way is up to us.91zrIDcx9zL._SY445_ They seemed fine with the plan, but it wasn’t the “jumping up and down with excitement” that I expected. And at that point, I don’t think I really cared.

I had booked Planes, Trains and Automobiles (one of my favorite movies of all times by the way).  It was done, and I was relieved.

Here is when I realized I had “jumped the tracks”:

During my morning bible journaling time, I will usually read a devotional from the book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  And the day after this family vacation planning meeting was no exception. That morning, I sat in my big comfy chair with my giant cup of tea and this is what I read:

“Vast quantities of time and energy are wasted in obsessive planning. When you let ME direct your steps, you are set free to enjoy Me and to find out what I have prepared for you this day.”

I looked up in resignation and said out loud with a big sigh…WASTED.

While I was in the middle of the planning pressure cooker, I kept telling myself that the stress from planning this trip would be worth it in the end. I had, in my mind, planned the BEST VACATION EVER, remember?

But what I forgot, was the time I was WASTING trying to be in control. Those hours of frustration and being locked away in my office is something I will never get back.wasted time

“Where have you WASTED your time?”

she demanded.

“You have been out for hours.”

Miss Minchin to Sara in A Little Princess

And because perhaps that smack wasn’t enough to get my attention, as I am hard headed after all, I was led to notice in big bold letters a simple sentence while mindlessly scrolling through Facebook that day.

I lingered on a post from Scott T. Gross, a fantastic nationally known motivational speaker. Scott also happens to be a former member of the City Council in our sweet town. What he was commenting on isn’t important, but it’s funny how God highlights for me some things to hammer home his point. Scott’s words practically jumped off the page at me:

 “Imagine what a city manager could accomplish if he had four additional hours to spend productively.”

Imagine what I could have accomplished in those hours I spent obsessively planning this trip. 

A few years ago when I was trying desperately to clear my plate, I sat down and made a list of the things I would do if I wasn’t so busy: volunteering, working too many hours, sitting on boards, coordinating this or that event, etc.

I now refer back to this list when I am tempted to add another thing to my “TO DO” list. So today, I pulled out that list to remind myself of the things I could have done in those WASTED hours of let’s face it, OVERLY obsessive planning.

What I Would Do If I Wasn’t So Busy:

  • Spend more time with my parents: Walks with Dad, Lunches with Mom
  • Dig in the Garden
  • Cook Dinner…really cook, not just throw it together at the last minute.
  • Pour into the Kids…more intentional time…one on one.
  • Be a better wife
  • Be a better friend: Reach out, touch base, get together more.
  • Recycle
  • Read for pleasure
  • Be active and get strong
  • Feed my family with faith & positivity (evidently this is not a word, but I am making it one
  • Spend more time with God 
  • Create Something …paint, write, doodle…
  • Learn something new

The list goes on…

Many of these things I am doing now, but others still linger on this list waiting for me to stop Wasting Time. But just so we are clear, I do not consider “wasting away in Margarita-ville” a waste of time…if it’s shared with friends.

Off to find the limes,

FHB and Especially Me

PS. The family did have a GREAT vacation together despite my obsessive planning.
east coast trip (1)


Have you been wasting time too? What on?

What would your TO DO list look like if you weren’t so busy?