The Most Precious Gift You Can Give This Season is your time. Time is your most valuable commodity because you only have so much of it. It's much easier to give money away because you can always make more, but you cannot make any more time than you are given in a single day.
IF TIME IS THE MOST VALUABLE GIFT, WHY DO WE GIVE MONEY?
If time is the most valuable gift, then why do we spend so much of it focused on thinking of other things to give away to make our family and friends feel loved?
The answer is because we never feel like we have enough time. Not enough time to get things done, not enough to make a difference in the lives of others, absolutely not enough time for ourselves. So we hoard it. We try to wrangle it and manage it and save it but we fail. No matter how hard we try, we cannot bottle time. That's why we don't give it away. It's way too precious to us.
IF WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH, WHY WOULD WE GIVE OUR TIME AWAY?
If we don't have enough of it, why should we even think of giving our time away?
Jesus said to keep your life you must lose it. I've often thought about what that means. I think a big part of losing your life to keep it is giving your time away because our time is what builds our lives. I don't mean volunteering at the local soup kitchen to feel like you did a good deed, although those deeds are good to do. By giving your time away, I mean saying "yes" to spending time with others when you'd rather be spending time on something that moves your life's agenda forward.
Giving away your life is the secret to gaining your life because in giving away your time to others, you actually cultivate meaningful relationships that add tremendous value to your life overall. When you get to the end of your life, you are not going to be thinking about how much you got done. You are going to be thinking about the "who's" you got it all done with.
We crave connection with others but we seem to have less and less of it. More social media. Less social life. Do you want to have more meaningful relationships? Do you want to have more laughter and joy in your life? Do you want to have deeper connections with people and feel like you are known?
Gift the gift of your time. You will not be disappointed.
Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.Jesus
HOW CAN WE GIVE OUR TIME WHEN WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH OF IT?
FIRST- MAKE THE DECISION
We first need to decide that in order to gain our life, we must lose it. Then we make a conscious decision that spending time with people is the most valuable thing we can give and the most important thing we can do in our one, short life.
SECOND - SCHEDULE IT
Next we look for the holes in our calendar to schedule time for others. The coupons I created below each encourage the recipient to text the giver with their avails. Once you have the other person's available times, look at your own calendar and see where you can find a common time to get together. Then block that time on your calendar.
THIRD - HONOR YOUR COMMITMENT
Avoid the temptation to cancel or reschedule your date with that person when other things come up, because other things will always come up. There will always be something for work or church or school that may seem more important than spending time with a friend or family member.
Recently, this happened to me. I was behind on my blog posts, needed to help Luke with his homework project, had a leader's meeting at the church that I had to help facilitate and the church website to re-design. I had been up until midnight the night before trying to catch up on work when all of a sudden my calendar reminder popped up that I had a lunch scheduled with a friend who was visiting from out of town.
Immediately my body flew into overwhelm mode, and my mind began to make excuses. The excuses sounded like this: "the restaurant is an hour away (which means it will take 3 hours of my day to drive there, have lunch, and drive home). I am exhausted and look terrible from lack of sleep. I am too overwhelmed with work, home, church and life to take time out for lunch right now."
Next my mind began to offer consolations for my excuses which sounded like this:
"my friend will understand, plus she has other girls coming so it will be no big deal if I don't come. I can have lunch with her next time. My other commitments have deadlines but my friendship is not something I have to do right now."
Then I remembered I gave her my word I would be there and my thoughts changed course which sounded like this: "I really want to see her while she is in town. She doesn't care what I look like! Being with friends is one of the things that makes life worth living. I will be happier if I take time out to go see my friends."
Has this ever happened to you? Are you tempted to cancel when life comes up? Don't give in to that temptation. It's a lie that you will get more done if you don't stop to spend time with people. The truth is spending time with people is what will fuel you to get more done.
I made a decision to put relationships first, then work. I went to the lunch and I was so happy I did.
FINALLY- PUT FAMILY FIRST
I once heard this illustration that we are all juggling multiple life balls in the air at once. The ball of Family, Career, Home, Finances, Self, Friends, etc. All the balls are made of rubber, except one. The Family ball. The Family ball is made of glass. It is the one ball that will not bounce if you drop it.
Most times we treat our family as if it is the one super-ball that bounces the highest and will always bounce because our family is the most forgiving. But the truth is no one needs our time more than our family and if we neglect our family, we are in danger of breaking it apart. Our husbands can feel neglected and start to look elsewhere for attention. Our kids can feel unloved and unimportant and turn to drugs or other things to fulfill that need. Our own souls can start to feel the victim for "all we do for them" instead of getting the enjoyment that comes from just being with our family.
When you consider giving your time away, start with your family first.
HOW DO WE GIVE THE GIFT OF TIME?
How can we give the gift of time? Schedule coffee dates, lunch dates, play dates with your kids, dinner dates with your husband, spa dates with your girlfriends.
I decided that I would reserve at least two days a month to cultivate my relationships on a regular basis. A whole day with my best friend, coffee with an old colleague, lunch with old friends, dinner with my neighbors, Sunday brunch with family, Saturday sports time with my son. Beach days with my husband. These are just a few examples of the ways I'm trying to make the gift of my time more of a lifestyle.
You can incorporate this giving of your time into your holiday gifts too. Below are a few thought-starters:
- Husband or Wife: Beach Date
- Young Child: Ice Cream or Movie Date
- Older child: Mani-Pedi Date
- Best Friend: Girls Day
- Mom: Shopping Date
- Client: Dinner Date
- Friend: Massage Date
- Dad: Bookstore Date
I created a few FREE PRINTABLE gift of time coupons to put into cards for your friends or as stocking stuffers for loved ones this holiday season. Click on the link below each coupon to print.
Gift of Time Coupons FREE PRINTABLE!
Say yes to friends and family when it's easier to say no. Cultivate the relationships of those closest to you by giving them your most precious commodity- your time. Give them that gift this holiday season.