Productivity. Getting things done. Saving time. Our society is obsessed with hacking time. I love finding new and creative ways to be more productive. I’ve actually written a couple of posts about doing just that – touch things once & spread yourself thick. However, our desire to be productive can be a double-edged sword. Sometimes we end up cutting corners in productivity’s name. We’ve all been there and suffered the consequences. It was in one of these moments that a mentor, Neill Morgan, taught me a line that has become a personal mantra, “Take the time it takes, it takes less time.”
Now, this statement applies to a wide variety of situations, but I have found it most useful in relationships. So, here are three types of relationships and how this mantra has been helpful for me in each.
- Relationship with Yourself – “Schedule your self-care time like you would a work obligation.” Great advice. However, when its self-care time versus crossing a few things off my to-do list. The do-list wins. So, I say this mantra to refocus my attention on the importance of self-care. If God needed it – so do you! “…and God rested on the seventh day from all the work God had done.” (Genesis 2:2)
- Relationship with Others – When I am swamped with too much to do, I put relationships with others on autopilot. I’ve noticed this trend in a lot of people. Taking the time it takes for a relationship to thrive is time-consuming but so worth it, especially your relationships with those closest to you. Would you rather have your relationships be stronger or have crossed a few important things off your to-do list? I say this mantra to remind me I’d rather have stronger relationships. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22: 39) Your closest neighbors are those you’re closest to.
- Relationship with God – Throughout life, we have these God-high moments where we feel very close to God. Over time, we usually regress back to our pre God-high relationship. Now, we can’t live in God-high land forever. So, how can we come down from a God-high and land in a place where we have a stronger relationship with God? Take the time it takes, it takes less time. When people tell me they don’t feel as connected to God as they once did, I ask, “How are you spending time with God?” It seems obvious, but I’ve been impressed by the number of aha! moments people have had when asked this question. So, how are you spending time with God? (Worship, bible study, prayer, singing, small groups, something else?) “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) When are you taking time to be still with God?
As we scurry around doing all the things that life demands of us, let us remember, especially in our relationships, to take the time it takes, it takes less time.
Which example is most useful to you? Are there any specific relationships you would add?