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You drag yourself out of bed before sunrise, get dressed and ready for the day. You enter the garage and almost die when you slip on your daughter’s hula-hoop, which she left on the floor, again.
You get in the car (possibly with a cup of coffee), race across town to your office, go over your pre-meeting preparations, then dial-in to your early morning conference call, which is scheduled on East Coast time – hence the need to awaken at such an ungodly hour.
Your call is quickly answered, only to learn from the voice on the other end that the meeting was cancelled and no one bothered to tell you. You’re polite about the matter and, after some discussion of a reschedule, you hang up.
Now, you are sitting in your office at 6:15 a.m., with nothing but quietness and time.
OK, so you’ve probably guessed by now, due to the level of detail, that the aforementioned scenario is not-so-hypothetical. Yup, it just happened to me this morning. Literally, as I am writing this, it just happened.
The question I am left with is: What will I do with this time? In all seriousness, most of us dads who find ourselves in this type of situation are put in a position for which we were not prepared. We have somehow found … wait for it … extra time! In the average day, between work, honey-dos (wives asking "Honey, please do this, please do that"), church, housework, activities with the kids and much more, there just aren’t a lot of spare moments in the day.
When I find myself in this situation, I go through a quasi-emotional process that, for the sake of this post, I will label as The Dad’s Extra Time Shock Process. There are three stages which define this process for me:
Stage One: Resentment
How dare you make me get up an hour earlier to be here for a meeting that didn’t even happen? I should get back in my car drive back home and crawl right back into bed next to my wife in protest. The nerve of some people – to not make a phone call to let someone know there's no need to get out of bed early. Don't they know it’s winter out there? ... It's cold!
Stage Two: Guilt
OK, OK, I can’t go back home at this point; that would be totally unproductive. I should stay here at the office and do something beneficial. Yeah, that’s the grown-up thing to do: be productive.
Stage Three: Acceptance
So, what am I going to do with this extra time?
It’s for the third stage of this process that I would like to make my recommendation. Brothers, when you find yourself in that rare situation when extra time has happened upon you, my tip is to give it to the Lord. Yes, by all means, stay in the office (or wherever you are), crack open your Bible, and read, study, pray and listen. While it is important to have regular time with God as a part of our daily routine, I strongly suggest that you can never spend too much time allowing God to fill you.
Look for those small unplanned moments to spend with the Lord, because the more time you spend with God, the better you will be at the many activities that fill your day. Time spent with God has had a profound effect on my daily life; I feel like I listen better and communicate more clearly. My stress is reduced, and I am just all around better after spending time with the Lord.
One of my favorite scriptures is Psalm 119:105: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Take those rare moments of extra time to seek God with purpose. Taking time to hear the voice of our Heavenly Father will illuminate every area of your day.
And hey, since you're praying, maybe you can petition the Lord for assistance in matters like getting my daughters to pick up their hula-hoops!
Are you finding time to spend with God?
How does your time with God impact you as you go through your day?
Kneeland Brown (@dr_kcbrown) is a contributor for Dad Matters and the Executive Director of the Focus Leadership Institute at Focus on the Family.
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Kneeland...love what you have shared. I am trying...and I emphasize "trying" to do a better job of "being still." I was reading the other day that the famous George Muller had written down over 30,000 answered prayers in his journal. WOW, I have a long way to go...but this is my new routine that I started a few weeks ago. Each morning after I am ready for work, I get on my knees and from my smartphone have a playlist of worship music. I play the song, "Take My Life" by Chris Tomlin and go through the words of that song. I then pray the words of that song over my family, friends and work. It really helps me put my life and Him in its proper perspective. Here are some of the words:
Take my will and make it Thine
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart it is Thine own
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord I pour
At Your feet it's treasure store
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.
I have found myself going through the "Dad's extra time shock process" before, and I am sad to say while stages 1 and 2 always seem to happen so many times I fail to make it to stage 3. Thanks for sharing your story and wisdom.