How to Beat Time Gobblers and Enjoy Peaceful Holidays God’s Way

How to Beat Time Gobblers and Enjoy Peaceful Holidays God’s Way

Have you noticed how time gobblers strut into our homes during the holidays? If we’re not careful, they’ll roost in the corners and take up residence for the new year. I don’t mean Thanksgiving turkeys. I’m referring to those mischievous time robbers, the ones we need to avoid so we can use time as God intends.

These pests flash neon signs to distract me. Did you know they wear costumes? Yes, they camouflage themselves and blend into my agenda.

Time gobblers often dress in communication garb with accessories like text messages and phone calls. Some of them masquerade as computer or cell notifications. Others disguise themselves as alluring store flyers with “SALE ENDS FRIDAY” and nest in my mailbox.

When I walk through my house, more of these nuisances demand attention. A wilting plant, a stained shirt, a crooked lampshade, three more oatmeal cookies and three chapters of a good novel. As the king in the musical The King and I said, “Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.” The items on this list may be worthy of our attention, but they can devour precious moments and sabotage our goals for the day.

I start each day with intentions of productivity, but some days, as soon as I gain momentum, “Gobble, gobble, gobble.” The time-chomping pests attack, and I’m off-task.

Sometimes human need intervenes, and we must decide if the request for our time is one that requires attention right away, later, or if it should be a matter of prayer instead of action. “Interruptions” could be God-appointed and result in blessings for another person or for us.

“Interruptions” could be God-appointed and result in blessings for another person or for us. Click To Tweet

Please give us wisdom, Lord.

What do your time gobblers look and sound like? How do you stay on track and focus on what’s most important?

Sometimes when I’m bombarded with distractions and numerous options for time use, I struggle to distinguish between good choices and the best choice. I’m asking God to help me use my time for His glory as He reveals His will. I want to choose wisely.

In Tyranny of the Urgent, Charles E. Hummel differentiates between the urgent and the important. He warns seemingly urgent tasks may rob us of the opportunity to meet an important goal. 1 Sometimes the most valuable activities, like exercising or building relationships, are postponed indefinitely because they aren’t urgent.

Mr. Hummel poses a question that captured my attention. “What was the secret of Jesus’ ministry?”

I considered how Jesus took time to speak with the woman at the well, to visit with Zacchaeus in his home, to heal the lame, and to feed the crowd. However, as the author pointed out, Jesus did not instantly meet the needs of all who clamored for His attention (Mark 1:35-39, John 11:1-6) but instead remained focused on the Father’s will.

Near the end of His earthly ministry, Jesus said to His Father,

I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.

John 17:4 ESV

I long to accomplish the work God gives me to do, to have my plans aligned with His. To use every bit of skill, talent, time, and opportunity He gives me this side of heaven. Isn’t that your desire as well? Let’s ask ourselves these questions:

  • What gifts did God give me for His glory?
  • How is He equipping me?
  • How can I use each twenty-four-hour period to honor Him?
  • Am I caring for my physical, emotional, and spiritual health?
  • Am I wasting time or using it to honor Christ daily as I balance rest and activity?
  • How can I know God’s will for me?

The following verse demonstrates one practice Jesus followed in His mission:

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.

Mark 1:35 ESV

Jesus prayed at various times of day. For us, reading God’s Word and praying as early as possible are advantageous when we’re seeking daily guidance. Would you like some encouragement on this topic? Here’s a promise:

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

Psalm 32:8 ESV

As the holidays approach, let’s consider how His will might differ from ours. How can we use time for His glory, including times of rest and celebration? Perhaps a lonely neighbor would enjoy a visit. Although not urgent, the visit may be the most important use of our time.

Instead of filling our days with as many activities as we can cram in, I’m asking God to show you and me how to honor Him with our time and how to pray and rest well. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to approach the Christmas season and the new year filled with the peace of Christ as we seek His will and use time wisely?

Please share the ways you plan your days or tell us about a time when God’s plans differed from yours. Until we meet again, watch out for those time gobblers.

I’m thankful for you reader friend, and I look forward to your comments.

1Hummel, Charles E. Tyranny of the Urgent. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994.

Please feel free to share this post!

25 thoughts on “How to Beat Time Gobblers and Enjoy Peaceful Holidays God’s Way

  1. I love this post, Jeannie. Some days my home is full of gobblers. From now on, I’ll picture them running after me with their wattles swinging. That should snap me out of wasting time! I like to make a plan every evening before bed for the next day with a realistic amount of work to accomplish. I also try to schedule fun and relational activities. God bless you!

  2. AMEN Ms. Jeannie. I loved how you differentiated between Satan’s distracting “time gobblers” and God’s appointed times of service. Like you I should think, those little distractions can add up so quickly. Example: It took me two hours longer to get to your email and post because I had to stop and play tug with Ms. Diane’s new puppy “Archie” this morning. I forgot how demanding and “high-energy” a puppy can be. LOL What I especially loved about your post how you recognized that sometimes God interrupts our time with what seems like a distraction, but in reality is a divine calling to service. I can’t tell you how many times during my prayer time that I’m praying for someone or some thing and God prompts me to stop and reach out to that person. I’m always overwhelmed to learn that in that moment, they were facing a crisis, struggling with their faith, or facing a need they didn’t know how to address. God can use us anytime, but we have to be open to His urging. Sometimes, if we are not “plugged in”, we’ll see His calling to service as a distraction meant to take us from our goal. Am learning that my goal doesn’t always align with God’s goal/plan for me. It’s always better to let Him lead. God’s blessings and Happy Thanksgiving precious friend.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      J.D., perhaps playing with the puppy was good use of time. 😉 Resting and having fun are important, too as I’m sure you’ll agree. I love your examples of God’s calls to minister to someone in need. His timing is far better than ours.Thank you so much for your kind words and wise advice.

  3. Great post Jeannie. Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Love this, Jeannie! Your wisdom is always spot on!

  5. Convicting and thought provoking post Jeanie. Time gobblers-a reality.

  6. This is so helpful!! I needed to read this as I’m taking the first big breath to begin the sprint to Christmas. Lord, show me your will.

  7. Thanks Jeannie! Great article. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  8. This is so awesome, Jeannie. Time gobblers can sneak up on us unaware. Making our time with God a priority will ensure the time we spend on other things will be directed by Him. Happy Thanksgiving!

  9. I love your funny description, Annie. You’re wise to schedule fun and relational activities as you plan. I need to work on balancing work and play. Happy Thanksgiving.

  10. What a wonderful and timely post. Time gobblers seem to call my name quite often. By intentional planning and prayer, I can be mindful of what God wants me to do for Him this holiday season. Thank you, Jeannie for this post!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Dawn, I laughed and identified with your statement, “Time gobblers seem to call my name quite often.” Intentional planning and prayer are certainly wise choices. Thank you for adding your comments.

  11. What a timely message, Jeannie. Even in the best of times those pesky “time gobblers” appear to distract us from meaningful work and family needs. But on special occasions and holidays, those “gobblers” come out in mass. I’ve found lists to be helpful and the strategy to at least do a little on a task or project, even if I can’t complete it. Continuous putting off of a task that needs to be done causes me stress, but getting started on it and working in increments gives me hope of getting the project done.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Katherine, I’m so glad you mentioned this: “I’ve found lists to be helpful and the strategy to at least do a little on a task or project, even if I can’t complete it. Continuous putting off of a task that needs to be done causes me stress, but getting started on it and working in increments gives me hope of getting the project done.” I often waste small bits of time thinking I need hours to complete a task. Thank you for wise advice and your humorous statement: “But on special occasions and holidays, those “gobblers” come out in mass.” : ) You’re right!

  12. Thanks for sharing

  13. This is a great reminder to not get so distracted by things that can really steal my time and focus. My phone can be a great tool to catch up with friends and family, but I often let meaningless videos/posts distract me and allow other well-meaning posts leave me feeling lonely, discouraged, and discontent. Stepping away and investing in what and who is right around me and in time with the Lord produces better fruit.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Stacey, the phone is a useful tool, as you mentioned, but like you I can waste time scrolling and reading. I love your summary, “Stepping away and investing in what and who is right around me and in time with the Lord produces better fruit.” Thank you so much for adding to our conversation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.