Redeeming the time has been on my mind this week. The Bible talks about redeeming the time in two different places. Time is a limited commodity. We only have so much. Some times it seems to fly by and other times it drags. But how do we redeem the time? I’ll share with you why this topic has been on my mind so much in a minute, but first I’d like to talk about ways that we can be redeeming our time and what it means.
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Where Does the Phrase “Redeeming the Time” Come From?
The phrase “redeeming the time” comes from two passages in the Bible. In the King James Version, they read:
15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
-Colossians 4: 5-6
What Is the Meaning of Redeeming the Time?
I have most commonly heard this explained in reference to making the most of your time serving the Lord. The evil days I have heard explained as when old age grips the body and a person is rendered unable to get out of the house and serve God.
I have been turning it over in my mind all week, and I think it goes beyond that, though. I have heard and researched a lot about mindfulness. I also talk about mindfulness in my book, The Pearl Perspective. In fact, it’s what I start out the 3rd chapter with. I think that redeeming the time could also apply to being mindful and living in the moment.
How are Redeeming the Time and Mindfulness Connected?
Mindfulness, in my opinion, is a way to redeem the time. Think about it – what is mindfulness? It’s living in the moment and being fully present. It’s enjoying the trip to the park that you take with your kids and not worrying about your to-do list. Mindfulness is actively listening to your spouse at the end of the day, and making time to talk and snuggle with them instead of “uh-huh” and impatiently waiting for them to shut up so you can start complaining.
Mindfulness is a way of redeeming the time because you are making the most of the gift you have been given. I think that redeeming the time is very much talking about serving the Lord in the days of your youth when health issues do not get in the way. No one can escape health issues and I think that it’s one of those things that you do not fully appreciate until you have lost at least a portion of it.
How Can I Start Redeeming the Time?
Time is a funny thing. It can seem like there’s a lot of it, or it can also seem like it’s in very short supply. I write about time management to help others learn to make the best use of their time. In today’s busy world, if you do not plan what to do with your time and guard it to a certain extent, you will very quickly find yourself running out! Here are some ways that you can start redeeming the time.
What’s really important to you? Do you know? Have you actually sat down and written them out on paper, or at least written on your heart? Core values serve as our compass. They keep us going down the right path. One of Steven Covey’s first habits that he discusses in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families” is to “Begin with the end in mind.” That’s what defining your core values does for you.
If something does not align with your core values, don’t waste your time on it. Redeem your time, save it from being wasted on things that mean nothing and channel it into what means the most to you.
Here is a good test for whether something aligns with your core values: If you were old and dying, is this something that you would look back on and think, “My time was well spent.” or would you say “I wish I would not have done that?”
Once you have your core values down, then you can start setting your priorities in life. What means the most to you? What will move you farther down the road towards that ending that you have in mind at the beginning? You can’t prioritize everything. ( I’ve tried… it does not work at all.)
It may take you some soul searching, as it did me. For myself, I have decided that my priorities are:
1) Serving God.
When you serve him first, everything else falls into place. Trust me on this one.
2) Being the best wife I can to my husband.
That’s right, the kids are not 2nd. There is a good reason for that. Marriage is the foundation on which the family is built. That needs to be rock solid. The kids find great security in knowing that the relationship between their parents is not only stable but strong. That’s also why I blog some about relationships and strong marriage here. It’s hard to be happy and content if your marriage is falling apart.
They may not be 2nd on the list, but they are a strong 3rd. I love my kids. If you are a regular reader, then you know that I talk about them from time to time. If you are one of my VIPs and get my weekly emails, you know even better. God has blessed me with 2 wonderful sons. It’s my job to do the best I can to teach them all they need to know to grow up to be kind, confident, and successful men. (Someone has to raise those future prince charmings.)
4) Extended family and friends
I am more than a wife and mother. I am also a daughter, daughter-in-law, granddaughter-in-law, niece, and friend. We all have multiple roles that we play and cultivating those other relationships in our lives is important as well.
5) Contentment Questing
Yes, it is a priority, but it’s the farthest one down the list. I love blogging, I love helping people, especially you. But the above roles in my life come first.
3. Commit to Being Fully Present
I will be the first one to admit that I was often guilty of taking my kids to the park and my mind being a million miles away. I didn’t enjoy the park at all. I was too busy scrolling on my phone, or thinking about my to-do list, or worrying about something.
When I started committing to being more fully present and enjoying my family, or whatever I was doing, I started redeeming the time. I started taking time to enjoy the experience instead of hurrying it along in my head so that we could get to whatever I was thinking about. It made a huge difference in my happiness and also helped me to let things go. (Like all that worrying I talked about, for instance.)
4. Make Time for Rest and Self-Care
Sometimes it’s hard to still your mind so you can sleep. In this day and age, so many things weigh on us, and it seems like there are so many things to do, we get in the habit of pushing ourselves. We push ourselves to get up just a little bit earlier, stay up just a little bit later, do just a little bit more. But it never stops. It’s always just a little more, and a little more until we have a serious sleep deficit and probably a bigger rest deficit.
Your mind cannot be on “go” all the time. You need some recovery time. Psychologists refer to it as “white space.” You need that pause. Don’t forget to redeem the time by making time to rest.
As I often have to remind myself taking care of me IS taking care of my family. My family needs the best me. If I do not take care of my mental and physical health it affects the entire family. Self-care is not selfish. I need to stop and fill my own cup from time to time. You can’t pour from an empty cup and your gifts to your family will be much better when you have more to give.
5. Commit to Continual Learning
You never get too old to learn or to improve upon yourself. This means having future goals and getting better at what you want to do. The most successful people and bloggers that I know still take courses, still read, and still learn. The average CEOs read 4-5 books per month. There is always room for improvement. Committing to continual learning is a way to “sharpen the saw” to help you in all areas of your life.
Redeeming the Time and Future Goals
Does redeeming the time and living in the moment mean that you give up all thought of the future? Absolutely not. Having a future goals list is another way that you can redeem the time. We all have things that we need to work on. We each are put on this earth for a purpose. Some of us find our purpose, while others do not, but that depends on each individuals’ choices. Each of us has a gift. I would like to encourage you to find out what that gift is and dare to take the steps to follow your dreams.
Why Redeeming the Time Has Been on My Mind
My youngest son just had a birthday. As with each birthday that rolls around, I wonder how the time passed so fast. (I think when you have kids someone turns a speed dial up on how fast time seems to pass by.) I want to enjoy his childhood with him. I want him to be able and think back on all the fun things we did and all the memories we made. Most of all, I want him to remember unconditional love and support.
The other reason that redeeming the time has been on my mind is my elderly relative that I have been helping care for. She has gotten to a point that her body and her mind will no longer allow her to do the things that she once loved to do. It saddens me to watch, but it also serves as a powerful reminder to myself to not live in fear. I want to make memories, chase my dreams, be present with my kids, and make the most of all the relationships with the people in my life that I love. I want to pursue my future goals. I will regret not trying more than I will ever regret trying and failing.
The Last Thing You Need to Know About Redeeming the Time
Time is a limited commodity for all of us. The Bible talks about redeeming the time in regards to using the time that you have to put God first in your life and to serve him. I think it goes beyond that to mindfulness and to making the most of the time that you have. To do that most effectively, you need to define your core values so that you can set your priorities. Commit to being fully present and to making time for self-care and to rest.