Note: This is the third installment in a series about how to best use the gift of having more time than money.
Stewarding one’s time is most definitely a part of living justly in this world, so if you find yourself with more time than money you may wish to use some of that time to “take stock” of your life and examine where you are at the present moment and in what direction you may be called to go. When I recently moved back home to be close to and help my parents (particularly my father after his recent surgery), I found myself in just this position. I was on what my denominational body calls “Leave from Call for Family Reasons.” Suddenly after several years of having most of my time devoted to theological education, parish ministry, and community activism, I found myself curiously “unplugged.” Sure, there was much to be done to help my folks, but I was still left with plenty of time on my unprepared hands.
I decided to take my own advice and “take stock” of the situation. Five areas of examination appeared quite clearly: faith, finances, health/wellness, vocation, and relationships. For each area, I looked at four basic questions:
- Where am I right now?
- What led me to this point?
- Where do I ideally envision being?
- What one step might I take today toward getting there?
You might decide to do things differently, and that’s fine. Maybe you will only ask a single question such as “Why am I here?” Conversely, you may feel the process of taking stock is more beneficial to you if you break down each area into more questions or detailed analysis. There is no right or wrong way to take stock of your place on the planet; what matters is that you do it when the time seems right to you.
Think about it: retail operations take inventory on a regular basis, businesses undergo financial audits each year, and employers conduct performance reviews of those in their employ. It makes sense that we as individuals should engage in a period of discernment or “taking stock” of our lives.
The unexamined life is like a poorly tended garden; before you know it the weeds take over. A little bit of pruning here, some fertilizing there, and an occasional repotting or separating helps keep the garden healthy and in balance. Our lives are no different.
The next few posts will detail each of the five areas upon which I chose to focus. I welcome your feedback and suggestions for other areas of review or the sharing of your own experience. Let’s take stock together, shall we?