Self-Storing Treasures

Recently two separate self-storage facilities have been built within about three miles of my house. One is actually within about 50 yards from one that has been in our area for several years. I keep thinking about those self-storage facilities as such a reflection of our culture and environment now. If you turn on your television, you can see it in shows such as Hoarders and Storage Wars. We want all the stuff and we want it for ourselves.

It’s even more apparent within us. We store up knowledge (not a bad thing), emotions, feelings and even Christ. We self-store thinking that if we keep it to ourselves, we are better off. If we store up the blessings and giftings from God that we are doing this life the right way because it’s how it plays out in our culture.

But we are so wrong…

What we define as treasures, they reflect where our hearts are. And what we do with those treasures, those gifts and blessings, well they also tell us where our hearts are. Time is a treasure to some…but how are we spending it? Money is a treasure to others….but how are you spending it? What about your gifts and talents? Are they being spent or stored up?

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (NIV)

For a long season I stored up my own treasure, in my own self-storage unit you could say. I pulled it away and packed it up thinking that was what I should be doing. Packing away treasure that I defined instead of spending it for what it was made to be spent on. When I took the time to break down and really examine these verses in Matthew 6, I found that my treasure is worth pulling out of storage because it has a better return on investment in heaven than by storing it away. My heart is with the treasure I spend for His glory and good…not the one I pack away in self-storage and keep for myself. It does no one any good to hoard my time, my talents…these treasures I have been gifted, especially me, but most importantly the God who gave them to me.

What today do you need to unpack from self-storage? What do you define as treasures of your life-where your heart is invested by time or money or your talents? How are you storing them up? Where are you investing your treasure, here on earth or in heaven?

It’s About Time

Time is a precious commodity to us all. We believe we can control it but in fact we have absolutely zero control over time in general-it moves whether we want it to or not. I see posts of friends’ kids with the caption “time slow down” and the inevitable countdown to Christmas clocks as well. So you see we want both, we want it to slow down and to speed up.

timeAlong with our talent and our treasure (money y’all), time is ours to give as my pastor likes to point out. We each are given the same, but with our differing treasures and unique talents we can choose how to spend out of our time bank so to speak.

I have to say for me personally, I will choose the least productive and effective way to spend my time when I have a deadline on my writing (I currently have two). Or if I’m honest anytime I find that I could be working on my book. I will scroll through Netflix to find something to binge or go wander through thrift stores instead of buckling down to do the work. I admit that to y’all simply because I know we can’t all have holy moments of spending our time 24 hours a day, seven days a week devoted to focused spending of it. But I do feel that our culture has gotten to a place of more time wasted than ever before, and I am a contributor over here.

So when we read Paul’s words in Ephesians to “Pay careful attention, then, to how you live–not as unwise people but as wise–making the most of the time, because the days are evil,” (CSB) we find that how we spend our time is much more important than we like to believe. The days will lie to us, telling us we have more time when we don’t really know that it’s the case. In the NKJV version along with several others, Paul exhorts us to “redeem the time” and I find that a challenge. We get to choose how to invest our greatest commodity, the value of our time, and make the very most of it living as wise individuals in that knowledge.

And yet, do we?

Do you?

I know I don’t often do that…she says after watching three straight episodes of Stranger Things season 2. Instead I will waste time, spend it fruitlessly and frivolously as if I have control over how much is in my account to give. How and where we spend our time also reflects our hearts’ focus and desire, what we are valuing over everything else. Because when we spend time on things of no value or no worth, we are telling everything else to everyone else is less meaningful, that we value this so much more over that.

That realization gave me pause as I read Paul’s words once more to the Ephesians as he laid out living a life in Christ and our consistency in our lives in the walk with Him. Because I can spend it wisely or foolishly, but I’ll never get it back.

So how do I redeem my time? How are you making the most of the time you are given?

Top Five Friday

It’s been a while since I did a top five Friday around here…so with the reunion of ‘NSYNC I thought I’d reunite five faves for this Friday. I’m sharing with you today my five things to live intentionally today. This week. This month. With the hectic life we all seem to live these days (and often like to brag about too), I think we should be living with intention. Here are my favorite five ways to do just that.

1. Time with Significant Other. The first thing that usually goes in a busy lifestyle is time spent with the person you are dating, in a relationship, or married to. They are busy too, so you feel that it’s understood. Even in my own relationship I noticed I got too busy, and expected him to understand since it was “just that time of year.” But I made a choice this week to stop, make room and time for him, and just have dinner. It helped to re-energize us both, and reconnect us.

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

2. Work at work. I overheard someone utter “Well my job is my life” the other day in a staff gathering. It’s disturbed me ever since and I want to unpack that in a longer post, but for now…just work at work. Be cognizant of what you give your time. I honestly believe a majority of the stressors we carry home are the things we can leave at work, if we just work at it. Yes work can spill over into life, but when we recognize it we can put a “You can come no farther” boundary line up.

3. Grow. You have a hobby, an interest, a passion in life? We all do. Carve out at least two hours a week to do just that thing. Nothing more. Nothing less. Give it your full attention. Make growth a priority in your life. For me, I love to write. I have made an intention to read more about writing and then spend at least 30 minutes a day writing. Don’t start on, “Well you are single, it’s easy for you.” No it’s easy for you, if you intentionally make time for it, regardless of marital status or job.

4. Put the Phone DOWN! Don’t carry your phone into a meeting. Don’t check it when someone is having a conversation with you. I think in this life we have become wanters. We want to be wanted. We want to feel needed. We want the importance of status in responding to emails from our phone at a moment’s notice. I am realizing that an email can go unanswered for an hour, or three. While emergencies do arise, let’s be honest with ourselves and others that none of us are negotiating world peace or preventing a stock market crash with our email. We are the least connected people, with the most options to connect than ever before. What’s the common factor? Smart phones. So intentionally put down your phone and engage in real conversation, real life, apart from technology. You’ll be surprised at the connections you can make IRL. (that’s in real life, for those who might not get the sarcastic technology nod)

5. Read. I know it has been said by people I have spoken with that some are just not readers. I think that is false. I think we are all readers, but it is what we choose to read. The amount of time and stuff you read on Facebook? You could have finished a chapter in a book…whether it’s for-fun reading, for personal growth or professional growth. (Sadly I think I am reading for all three currently) Studies have shown that reading before falling asleep helps the brain rest and re-cycle appropriately in the down time. It also provides an opportunity to grow…imagine…think.

Those are just ways I am living intentionally these days in order to not feel the harried pace of life get control. I am the one who decides what outlets I check, my down time, and how I wish to continue to grow as an individual. Life doesn’t get to have that say for me. Would you rather look back on these years with tiring regret or joyful nostalgia? I choose the latter.

What is one way you can be intentional about your life today? This weekend? This next week? Into September?

Rush Rush

Yesterday I got the opportunity to chat with some colleagues I rarely spend time with at work. It was refreshing honestly to chat about their areas of responsibility and catch up on life as I typically see them in passing-hurried steps to keep up with the pace of our jobs. The conversation came around to relationships as they oft are to do when females are together. (We don’t talk about it all the time guys, but frequent enough for the stereotype to hold true) One of them commented that they missed dating life, as she is married now. The other responded she was much happier now being married over dating any day.

The conversation flowed back and forth on the joys of being in a dating relationship versus a married one. It was interesting to hear from these women about the differences and lens with which they viewed dating and marriage at this stage in life, as both have been married for a couple of years now. It renewed a sense of joy in me for the dating life I have now.

courtesy of
courtesy of

Too often we try to rush one stage to get to the next. We want to fly through college to get the job, push through the first job to get to the corner office. Rush through dating to get to the wedding, then hurrying past life to have children. We choose the pace that the world tells us to have, instead of breathing in the sweet timing that The Lord has for us. I fear life is being lived out at some rapid spin that I will not understand I have a say in stopping. No, I cannot stop time from moving, I know that.

You know I can do though? I can create space for the things I say matter in my life…relationship with God, The Dude, my family, my friends, my students, my work, my writing. Ultimately I get the choice in how I spend my time, what I dedicate the preciousness of my time to daily, weekly. What if I started establishing my heart instead of my calendar each morning? Would my day reflect my heart? This is my pursuit, my prayer for my upcoming days and weeks, for my life.

“You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of The Lord is at hand.”-James 5:8