What Are Your Time Gobblers?

I’m writing about gobblers today–not the ones we see at Thanksgiving–but the mischievous time gobblers. These pesky critters lurk around flashing neon signs to distract me. Did you know they wear costumes? Yes, they camouflage themselves to hide in 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 those alluring store flyers with “SALE ENDS FRIDAY” and nest in my mailbox.

When I walk through my house, more of these nuisances demand attention-swallowing valuable moments. A wilting plant, a card to mail, a stained shirt, a crooked lampshade, and, as the king in the musical “The King and I” said, “Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.”

I start each day with intentions of productivity, but some days, as soon as I gain momentum, WHAM! 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 then, later, or if it should be a matter of prayer only. “Interruptions” could be God-appointed and result in blessings for another person or for us.

What do your time gobblers look and sound like? And how do you conquer them? 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, it’s difficult to distinguish between good choices and the best choice. I’m asking God to help me use time for His glory as He reveals His will. I want to choose wisely.

In Tyranny of the Urgent by Charles E. Hummel, the author differentiates between the urgent and the important. He warns that seemingly urgent tasks may rob us of the opportunity to meet an important goal. 1

Mr. Hummel poses the question, “What was the secret of Jesus’ ministry?” The thought captured my attention.

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 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

I long to accomplish the work God gives me to do, to have my plans aligned with His. Isn’t that your desire as well? Let’s ask ourselves these questions:

  • What gifts did God give me for His glory?
  • 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 a practice of Jesus:

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

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

As the holidays approach, let’s consider how His will might differ from ours. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to approach the next three months 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!

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

12 thoughts on “What Are Your Time Gobblers?

  1. Boy did your words convict me this morning Ms. Jeannie. Thank you so much for these “gentle” reminders. As I thought and prayed over your words, I felt the conviction of a dear friend as I realized that when I stray from God’s purpose in my life, I find myself surrounded more and more by the “time gobblers” in my life. When I live my life with purpose, I stay focused and busy (not overwhelmed but busy). It’s when I stray from that purpose (e.g. I just want to take the day off and relax or nap) that the “time gobblers” arrive. They are demanding little buggers aren’t they ma’am? Thank you for allowing God to use you for correction this day.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      J. D., I appreciate your faithful input and the way you keep the conversation going. Your description of time gobblers as “demanding little buggers” is both humorous and accurate. Sometimes taking a restorative nap or stopping to reflect and pray are necessary, God-honoring steps, but as you stated, “straying from God’s purpose in our lives” leads to wasted time. Aren’t we thankful for His guidance! Have a purposeful day glorifying the Lord as I know you will.

  2. Thanks, Jeannie.

    As always, you’ve encouraged me while also convicting me. I, too, have those pesky time gobblers. Pretty ones that demand my attention. But you’ve inspired me to be more faithful and intentional to seek the Lord for each moment.

    What a joy it would be to say at the end of each day, “Lord, I’ve accomplished the work You gave me to do.”

    Thanks, friend!!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Jean, what a worthy goal you suggest for each day. Thank you. I’m glad we can encourage each other.

  3. Thanks Jeannie! I identify with time gobblers for sure. Your questions give food for thought and action. What I’ve discovered is my time seems to multiply and what I do has more value when I start my day by prayer and asking, Lord how do you want me to use today?

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Marilyn, you’re absolutely right because God promises guidance and peace when we seek Him. I appreciate you!

  4. Time. A precious commodity. Yes, we need to remember that God created us, and that our time is in His hands. When we spend time with Jesus, our time seems to multiply exponentially.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Lois, thank you so much for commenting and for sharing this wonderful statement: “When we spend time with Jesus, our time seems to multiply exponentially.” Time is a gift from Him.

  5. Jeannie, I love that this post is filled with such pertinent scripture! I have always loved Psalm 32:8, but I think I’ve more often placed it in the “big picture” kind of instructing! I love that you’ve reminded me to keep that verse in mind with EACH day and EVERY direction I turn, not just in the big decisions or big projects. Thanks, my sweet friend! Wonderful things to ponder here …

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Julie, I love Psalm 32:8, also, but like you, I need to apply it more. I appreciate your comments.

  6. Great post Jeannie! I love the book Tyranny of the Urgent – I loved these reminders today!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Thanks so much, Vickie! It’s a great book and helps me think before I choose. I appreciate your taking the time to comment on this topic we’re all learning.

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