For me it was writing. I believed God wanted me to do this, but I had to find time to do it along with being a mother and missionary wife. How do you find the time to pursue your passion?
These things help me to prioritize my time and decide which ministries to take part in.
Make the time.
Lee Roddy says, “We tend to do what is most important to us and make excuses for the rest.” If you feel the Lord leading you into a ministry, but don’t have the spare time to pursue it, this may be where you need to start.
I realized that most regularly published authors don’t find spare time lying around and use it to write. They look at their schedule and responsibilities and carve out time to write.
Thirty years ago I wanted to write for Christian publication. I felt God wanted this too. I had an article accepted in 1978 and three more in 1979. Then in 1980 my husband and I took our 10-month old daughter to Taiwan. We spent two years in full-time language school. During that time our second daughter was born. Those days I truly had no time to write. I did have three articles accepted in 1982, but I wrote very little during those days. But the clock was ticking and I knew my time would come.
In 1985 my daughter started kindergarten in a nearby city. Every day I drove her to school, dropped her off, then went to a nearby storefront church. I pulled out my typewriter (no computer yet) and spent the morning writing. That gave me five mornings a week. I wrote articles and short stories specifically targeted toward a particular take-home paper market. That school year I had 15 articles accepted for publication.
That year I got a good solid start in writing for Christian publication. After that I usually tried to write one article or story a month. Some years we travelled on furlough back in the States and I had almost no time to write. But as we got back into our schedule each time I carved out some specific time period to write. Now that my girls are married and away from home I still have many ministry obligations, but this season of life brings me more freedom to arrange my schedule and work on writing.
Sometimes I run into people who really want to write for publication. I talk to them about getting started and they show a lot of interest. Later I run into them and they never quite got around to writing something specifically aimed at any particular publisher. What is the problem? They really do want to write. They also want to quilt, scrapbook, homeschool, join an aerobics class, skydive, kayak, and raise wild turkeys. (Something like that anyway.)
Focus. If you are trying to do too many things at once you probably won’t get far with any one thing. What are you willing to give up to focus on your new pursuit?
You may have to multi-task. You may find you can think about your new endeavor while you cook dinner, wait in the doctor’s office, or clean house. You may have to work after the kids are in bed or during your lunch hour.
I often think about my story while I fix dinner. (Now you know why I sometimes find things in odd places in my kitchen.) I work out plot problems while I take a walk. If you want to pursue this new activity badly enough, you will find time somewhere.
Years ago I heard writer Pat King speak at a conference on finding time to write. With small children at home she had to be creative. She suggested three questions to ask yourself before you take on a new responsibility. These questions have helped me through the years when I have to figure out what to put into my schedule and what to leave out.
1. What is it that only I can do?
Some things I need to do because no one else can do them. Only I can be a wife to my husband and a mother to my children. Some jobs in our ministry I need to do because no one else knows how to do them or is in a position to do them or will do them. If a job is important and no one else can do it, I may need to.
2. What is it that someone else needs to be doing?
I can play the piano, but if I play at all the services while other pianists don’t play, I keep them from having an opportunity to play. If I teach all the classes, others will not learn to teach. I may need to step back and allow others to serve so they can develop new skills. Some jobs I could do, but if I don’t, someone else can step into that job. That may be a good thing.
3. What is it that no one needs to be doing at all?
In churches and other organizations we often keep adding new programs without taking old ones away. At some point we may need to analyze activities and drop them from the schedule entirely.
If you are looking at your own busy schedule and trying to figure what to leave out, these three questions may help you.