Brigham Young’s words, as recorded in the Church’s self-reliance programme, struck me with sudden force. I had seldom thought about time as ‘capital stock’ – something over which I had stewardship and for which I would need to account to God. As a working mother with two small children, I generally try to use my time productively; but how could I improve that by implementing the suggestions offered by the Church’s self-reliance programme?
I decided to embark on a week-long experiment by implementing the five-step process suggested by the Church:
1. List the tasks you’d like to accomplish every morning. Add the names of people you can serve.
2. Pray for guidance; and then
3. Set priorities. Number the most important task ‘one’, and so forth.
4. Set goals. Listen to the spirit, and start with the most important task on the list.
5. Report each night to Heavenly Father. Ask questions. Listen. Feel his love. Repent.
I called it the #TimeWise experiment and invited four friends to join me. All are working mothers who have several competing demands on their time. How would the way we viewed our time and our faith change as we implemented these steps to become #TimeWise?
For Candice Holmes, the act of praying as she planned her day led to shifting priorities. “I found that as I prayed for the spirit to guide me, I was led to do planned things differently. This resulted in me achieving more,” she said.
Rosanne Scarth said that following the process helped her feel more focused and peaceful. “Any anxious, worried or fearful feelings completely go away when I prepare my day this way,” she said.
Personally, I found myself distinguishing between what was ‘productive’ and what was ‘wise’. For example, spending half an hour playing with my two-year old may not be seen as ‘productive’. But, in light of my goals as a mother, it was indeed wise. I began planning my day with my overall purpose in mind. I slotted in times for “mindful one-on-one time” with each of my kids. No matter what else I didn’t achieve during the day, I found that I could inevitably tick that one off. It made me feel good to acknowledge this meaningful use of time, even though there was nothing tangible to show for it.
We all found that implementing these five steps helped us feel closer to the Lord. I realised that becoming self-reliant in many ways means becoming more reliant on God. Instead of allowing other people or external factors to dictate which activities were completed, I was asking Him which things to do. I was inviting Him to become the ‘boss’ of my time – and no one can do that job better than He can!
For Chanel Bester, this meant ensuring that she put ‘first things first’.
“I found that when I started my day right by praying and reading just a verse or two – that’s as much as time would allow having to get four young children up and ready – I felt that the Lord was invited into my day. I was able to receive and recognise more of the heavenly help I need as a busy mother.”
Rosanne said that “reporting back to the Lord has made my prayers way more meaningful and effective.
“Days after continuing this, I feel spiritual promptings come a lot clearer and I recognise them a lot easier than on the days that I don’t follow the steps.”
Phemelo Molefe said: “I started reporting to myself what I had done right just to help elevate my mood, and to get rid of the thought that I was not enough. I have not, before seeing this exercise, thought of prayer as a time to report to Heavenly Father before. Adding the element of reporting to Him makes the relationship even more personal, and I think I will begin to incorporate this into my daily prayers.”
One of the most lasting impacts of the experiment for me came in step one: to write down the names of people I can serve that day. This small action acts as a daily reminder of my real purpose on earth. I’m not here to tick off a long list of to-dos. I’m here to be a disciple of Christ, to be an instrument in His hands and to serve those He would have me serve. The #TimeWise principles help me feel like I am doing what I should to “go on in so great a cause!”