3 Ways to Waste Your Time Wisely in 2017


My friend and neighbor Jill invited me over for coffee a few days ago and we got on the topic of time and how it goes by so quickly.

“How is it already 2017?” she asked. “You’ve been here two years in June.”

She’s always good at remembering dates. I nodded my head and agreed that our years spent in our new town have flown by so fast. I shared how the year I graduated high school (2000), everyone was talking about 2020 and the end of the world. We aren’t too far from that now!

It seems like as soon as Christmas arrives, stores are stocking their shelves with Valentine goodies before we even have time to take down our lights and trees. The older I get, the more I realize just how fragile time is. There is only so much time in the day and scripture tells us that our days are numbered. We don’t get to choose when God calls us home and we breathe our final breaths on this earth. One thing that is certainly sobering is that time moves on whether we like it or not.

So, how can we begin 2017 by making the most of our delicate days?

1.) Waste your time wisely by being a “Hands Free Mama.”

Currently, there’s no greater time waster for me than my phone. Ugh. I love it and I hate it. Being a creative communicator, I love connecting with friends and sharing words on social media. I love knowing what others are doing and I love photography so I could spend all day on Instagram. But it’s also something I get easily addicted to. I’m cracking down on the minutes I spend on my phone doing those things so that I can say “yes” to better things (like writing an article or blog post or… maybe even cleaning my bathroom!).

The truth is that it’s up to us what we choose to do with our time. There are always areas that we can better fill with our time. How can you be more productive online and offline? What ways can you practice moderation or even cutting something completely off that’s hindering you from moving forward? 

So, then, be careful how you live. Do not be unwise but wise, making the best use of your time because the times are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. – Ephesians 5:15-17

2.) Waste your time wisely by getting in the Word.  

Give God your whole year by getting to know him daily in his word. If you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, control, people pleasing, and more, the solution is Jesus. Let him calm your soul. Let him guide you through his word that sharpens, convicts, comforts, and encourages you right where you are in life.

When you’re tempted to go to Facebook first thing in the morning, open up the Bible app, First 5, your Bible or devotional. There are so many resources and apps out there to encourage you. Start your morning with Jesus and entrust your day to him. 9 times of out 10, you’ll enter your day with more peace and trust that he’s got it taken care of. Your ability to walk in the spirit, instead of the flesh becomes much easier.

How does God’s word encourage you where you’re at in life right now? What ways do you best connect with God?

Now listen, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town, stay there a year, conduct business, and make money. You do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. – James 4:13-14

3.) Waste your time wisely by serving others. 

I love what prince of preachers Charles Spurgeon once said, “Serve God by doing common actions in a heavenly spirit, and then, if your daily calling only leaves you cracks and crevices of time, fill them up with holy service.”

If I spend too much time on myself, I get depressed, inwardly focused, and I isolate. When I go beyond my four corners to reach out to someone, I’m refueled and reminded that life is not all about me. God teaches me new things.

I recently made a visit to one of the elderly widows in our church and we had the best time talking together about her memories of the past. When I looked at the clock, it had already been an hour. It felt like 10 minutes. It was a true joy.

When you use your time for the good of other people, it brings glory to God and gives hope to those in need. Ironically, you find your purpose and calling in it, too.

In what ways can you serve others around you? Do you know of one person who needs a word of encouragement or helping hand?

  Behave wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of your time.

– Colossians 4:5

Wasting our time wisely requires a daily effort, just like choosing to lift those weights or press play on that workout video when you don’t feel like it. But in the end, there’s reward from the work and fruit is produced as you grow stronger and more disciplined. God is honored as you seek to truly treasure the time he has given you.

Blessings,

Samantha

Samantha Krieger is a wife, mother, and writer in rural Colorado. She is the author of the new devotional for moms: Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. 

Finding Your Tuesday People: Out of Loneliness and into Community

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About six months into my family and I being settled into our new home in a brand new state, I expressed to my husband that I felt really lonely. I was loving everything about where God had put us. The serenity, beauty, community, our church, and the simple way of life had my heart (still does!), but I still felt like something was missing. Solid relationships and friendships have been important to me since I was a child.

“Well, I think you’re going to have to be intentional in reaching out,” my husband responded being the logical man that he is.

I pouted a bit about it. “Well, I kind of want them to invite me…” I replied.

Then I remembered the popular phrase that goes something like this,

To make a friend you have to first be a friend. 

IMG_1956Deep down, I was waiting for an invitation. And the funny thing is that I already had several invitations from others but I was focusing on the negative and just in a “poor me” state of mind. Have you ever been there? I began praying that God would help me in those feelings of loneliness and I asked him to sort them out for me. I started inviting others for lunch or coffee and began to minister to others, instead of being focused on myself and waiting for others to come to me.

There happened to be two moms who I consistently rubbed shoulders with and enjoyed their company. Out of the blue, I got a text from one who invited me to coffee at her home. I felt like a kid again, excited to be included and invited. The three of us met and talked about life, struggles, and hopes. From that meeting, they asked me about my interest in leading a Bible study. At first I was nervous about starting it from scratch, but I was definitely up for the challenge. I loved that they asked because I’m not sure if I would have without their prodding.

We eventually landed on a book to go through and yesterday we finished our third meeting. There are five us who meet and a few who are considering joining in the future. Over coffee (a must!) and a sweet snack, we dive into Scripture, pray, and discover how the truths in the book relate to our everyday life. It is a highlight of my week and keeps me accountable to reading.

282540_SimplyTuesdayFreeman_pins5In the wonderful book, Simply Tuesday, author Emily Freeman shares about the importance of having your “Tuesday people.” Tuesday is the most ordinary day of the week. We need those friends that we can share life with in the mundane, small moments of life. Friends that we can be comfortable with letting our insecurities out on the table. We need people who will pull up a chair or sit on a bench beside us and listen to our stories.

While we are still getting to know each other, this group has been that for me and I have been blessed because of it. Ironically, we meet on Tuesday mornings too so they are my Tuesday people in this season of life. Our time together has helped get me out of the lonely zone and into community where people can know who I am and where I can in turn, know who they are.

If you’re finding yourself stuck in a funk of loneliness, know that you really aren’t alone. Maybe for you, it will mean sending that text and inviting someone into your home. Maybe it will mean inviting someone to lunch or dinner. It could mean offering to watch someone’s kids so they can have a break. Maybe it will require being very intentional in the sphere of influence God has put you.

We live in a well-connected society digitally, yet many of us remain disconnected and lonely in our relationships. The good thing is that we can do something about it by extending a hand and inviting someone to sit on the bench with us in the real, ordinary days of life.

Who knows, maybe God will do something great in your relationships as you first seek to be a friend to someone else.

How Our Life Together Began at the River {An Engagement Story}

We’d been walking for a few miles. The humidity was thick and my jeans stuck to my sweaty legs. It was our fourth day in Israel and Jordan and my boyfriend Jeremiah and I were with our seminary professor and classmates, visiting and learning about all the sites Jesus once walked. We were so excited to see the Jordan River for the first time. Both having grown up in the church, we had learned about it all our lives, and now we finally got to experience it.

We arrived at the bank of the Jordan and it was more narrow than I thought. I sat my backpack down on a rock so I could take pictures with friends. After a few minutes, I went back over to my bag to get my hairbrush out which was so random because I normally wouldn’t stop and brush my hair in a moment like this. When I reached for the front pocket, I stumbled upon a small black leather box with white stitching on it.

What is that? I wondered. Then something clicked and I was sure I knew. My heart raced. Was this really it?

Jeremiah rushed over and took the box as if I wasn’t supposed to see it in my bag. He looked really nervous and excited.

He smiled, opened the ring box, and got down on one knee. I started giggling.

“Samantha, just as John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the Jordan River and it represented the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, I want this to represent our new life together in marriage. Will you marry me?

I laughed some more and started crying.

Jordan River 2“Yes! Yes!”

He slid the ring on my finger and it fit perfectly. We hugged and kissed and I couldn’t stop smiling.

Our professor captured the proposal along with some of our friends. I finally took the time to really look at the ring and I couldn’t believe it. It was beautiful, classy, big, round, and flawless. During our 7 months of dating I didn’t spend a lot of time looking at rings. Jeremiah and I had shopped a few times for fun but I figured if he knew me well enough, he would know what I liked. And did he ever! I couldn’t stop looking at it. Its brilliant sparkle reminded me that life was certainly about to change. I would get to spend the rest of my life with the one I loved. The one God had given to me.

I was on cloud nine on the trail back to our bus. I couldn’t believe how he got me and surprised me out of nowhere. He had asked my dad for permission to marry me a few weeks before the trip when we were visiting my parents in Texas. I thought for sure he would have popped the question after Israel. But he carried the ring on the plane, through customs, security, several hotels, and excursions for four days. Needless to say he was happy to have the surprise off his chest. I thought more about how it couldn’t have been more perfect to be engaged right where we were.

Our next stop happened to be the Dead Sea, often called the Salt Sea, which borders Jordan to the East. A classmate offered to hold my ring while Jeremiah and I went for a dip with everyone. We floated on top of the water and it refreshed our souls from the intense middle eastern heat. Jeremiah held me in his arms and it was as if the world had stopped. The embrace of my future husband was all I need. I was going to be his and he would be mine. I had given my word to him, my promise. Our wedding day and new life together was on the horizon.Jordan River 1

Looking back on that significant day eight years ago {June 4, 2005} brings me nothing but great joy. There are those moments in life that God gives and you feel nothing but his sweet presence, where his love for you is absolutely overwhelming. It’s almost as if he gives you a little taste of the perfection that will be awaiting in heaven.

Jeremiah and I knew from the beginning that our relationship wasn’t just about us, but what God was doing and he has always confirmed that in our hearts. I have believed that all these years. In December we will celebrate our eight year wedding anniversary.

Before marriage, we had no idea the trials that would come our way. We didn’t quite grasp the hard work that’s required to be one as a couple and how we would have to fight daily against our selfish, sinful natures. We wouldn’t learn all of this through a book or classroom but by sitting in the school of experience.

We also had no idea how God would fashion and shape us more like him and give us the sweetest, most precious gifts we have ever tasted within the sacred covenant of marriage: unity, servanthood, companionship, fulfillment, purpose, passion, sexual intimacy, friendship, forgiveness, satisfaction, mission, the blessing of children, and unconditional love just to name a few. We had no idea how God would show us the true meaning of sacrificial, * till death we do part * love and commitment. And we are praying by God’s grace that he will give us many more years to have together.

There’s no doubt that the love I have towards my husband is deeper and wider than when I said “yes!” It is a different kind of love yet it is still the same. We are still the same people we were then yet we’ve changed and grown in so many different ways. Today on our engagement anniversary my heart is grateful for God’s faithfulness.

Through the calm and the storms in our lives, He has always been faithful just as he was that day on the river.

New Article: I Love You, But How Do I Like You?

0035This week, I’m over at Start Marriage Right sharing some practical thoughts on loving your spouse for the long haul.

After my husband asked me out on our first date, we were inseparable. We couldn’t get enough of each other’s company. Our dating days were filled with joy, delight, anticipation, passion, and little conflict. But after we got married, into the newlywed years and beyond we started to grow familiar with each other… 

Read the rest on Start Marriage Right

Conflict Resolution: The Need for Face Time

0019I’m not writing anywhere specific today but someone I know who is really awesome and amazing is! My husband! Today Jeremiah is writing his first article for  StartMarriageRight.com, helping us discern how much we should share digitally verse face to face communication in our relationships.

He gives practical wisdom on what to do when you sense a conflict arising over any form of digital communication- email, texting, social media, Facebook, Twitter, etc. and how you can handle it biblically.

I think he did a great job and I really enjoyed editing the article. We would love to hear your thoughts or any wisdom you’ve gained over the years on this topic:

“We’ve all been there. We’ve either witnessed it or have personally shared the anxiety of working through conflict using digital communication. With life running at the pace of email, texting, Facebook and Twitter, solving conflict on these mediums has become almost as natural as breathing. But is this always the best way to go?”

Read the rest on Start Marriage Right

Article: Kitchen Wars

* Today I’m writing for StartMarriageRight.com on conflict, love, and the power of the gospel in your marriage. *

After a long day of traveling home from this particular summer vacation, my husband Jeremiah and I got into a big argument. We were over-tired and not thinking straight. Words flew carelessly in the air and we threw verbal punches at each other.

Shortly after the conflict, I reflected back on one of the evenings during our vacation that Jeremiah watched the kids so I could hear Christian songwriter Sara Groves in concert where we were staying.

In between songs Sara told usContinue Reading over on StartMarriageRight.com

Trust, Truth & Sexual Purity in Your Marriage

“What words come to your mind when you think of trust?” 

I asked my husband while we were driving down the road the other day. I told him how I wanted to write my next article on trust.

While he thought about the question for a little bit, I chimed in: “Because you know, marriages fail or succeed based on trust. What’s the point of being married if you can’t trust the other person?”…

Today, I’m talking honestly about sexual sin and healing in marriage. Continue reading over on StartMarriageRight.com and feel welcome to share your thoughts.

When God Interrupts Your Story

image: DevotionalDiva.com

God interrupted my story the summer after I graduated from college.

I interned at a Christian publishing company in Nashville. I loved my work and what music city had to offer. I wanted to plant roots there but two weeks before my internship ended, I felt God leading me to pursue seminary.

The funny thing is that seminary was never in my thoughts…

Today, I’m excited to be guest posting for author and speaker Renee Johnson on DevotionalDiva.com.

Read the rest here and join the conversation.

When the Christian Life is Easier Said Than Done

photo: fancyfleamarket.typepad.com

Yesterday I went over to a friend’s place to visit. What I’ve always appreciated about this friend is her authenticity when it comes to her struggles in raising three children.

Her husband walked in the door as I was attempting to round up my kids. The three of us got into a good, unexpected conversation about hearing vs. actually doing God’s Word.

“We were inspired by our pastor’s sermon on Sunday. We were encouraged to do God’s will. We were convicted in areas that need change…” my friend said.

“Then we got home,” she sighed.

“The kids were horrible. Things felt chaotic. We exploded a lot and were so discouraged because just a few minutes ago we were so on fire to live for the Lord. It’s as if we forgot everything we’d just heard…”

I continued to listen to her story and couldn’t help but think how she was articulating exactly how I’d felt so many times. Especially on Sundays!

Just the other morning I got up early to read my Bible and journal while my husband did his quiet time. It had been well over a week or more since I had been in the Word. The kids weren’t up and I was savoring the alone time. I thought for sure it would be a good day but within the hour it was as if the house erupted. Or shall I say, Momma erupted.

If you took a peep into my window you wouldn’t have found a gentle, godly woman who had just been with Jesus. Anger exploded out of me toward my kids and I felt overwhelmed by all the change that’s happening with our move, graduation, and new baby. Sadly, I’d forgotten all that I had read.

Shortly after, I was reminded of the verses in James:

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it- not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it- they will be blessed in what they do. – James 1:23-25

That evening before bed, I prayed and begged God to help me in the areas of my life where I not only fail but fail big time. In that time of soul searching, He showed me how much I need His grace and that this Christian life is a process- a process of sanctification that doesn’t come over night.

And that “doing” the Christian life is pretty much impossible apart from His truth and guidance. Doing good-outward-acts can’t be mistaken for a heart that’s truly been changed by Christ.

His Word has been given to me as a gift so that I would know how to live, but I can’t be changed if I’m not “looking intently into the perfect law that gives freedom.”

I’m thankful that regardless of my imperfections and weaknesses, God is still at work in me. He’s always pursuing me to come back to Him for the healing I need so badly. He knows I’m a work in progress.

And I think more times than not, I need to celebrate and remember the times where He has allowed me to be victorious in the struggles against sin, rather than focusing so much on failures and falling short.

His divine power has given us all that we need for life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3)- even in the challenging times of raising little ones. So as for today, it’s time to shake the dust off, confess & repent of sin, accept His forgiveness & love, and continue living by faith in his son.

Article: Pondering Pet Peeves

I recently accepted the offer to be a regular contributor for Ungrind Webzine. I absolutely love their mission to encourage 20 and 30 something women in their daily walk with Christ.

This article went live yesterday. It’s on the lighthearted side. Feel free to share what your biggest pet peeve is… over there!

I’d just found a comfy chair to work on a writing deadline I had for an article. I listened to the faint chatter around me and opened my laptop anxious to flesh out some words on the blank screen. Then out of the corner of my eye a man in his 40′s plops down in the leather chair caddy corner from mine.

He opened his laptop and rustled through the notes in his briefcase. He looked at them intensely and took a deep breath. Whatever he was reading must have been really good from all the “oh’s,” “wow’s,” and “hmm’s” flowing unashamedly out of his mouth.

My eyes were glued to this man. I was waiting to see if he would quiet down at all or maybe get a hint. But he didn’t…

Read the rest over on Ungrind

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