It’s important to me to be a good steward of pretty much everything over which I have an influence. This generally falls into three broad categories for me: money, time, and lifestyle.
Husband and I have been convicted about how we spend our money in the past year or so and have made some significant changes to get out of credit card debt. The process revealed some things about my heart that I was surprised by, but am thankful for the growth in my character. There were some material things I was more attached to than I thought or would have liked to admit. The process of selling them or making changes have helped us to re-prioritize what is really important for us to spend money on. Am thankful that God used this to not only grow us as people but to also show Himself in providing.
Stewardship in time is HUGE for me. Graduate school has been good for this. If I’m going to have time to spend with Jesus, cook our meals, exercise a few times a week, get everything done for school & work, spend time investing in friendships, spend quality time with my husband, and have time to just rest myself, I have to be thoughtful about how I spend my time. I can’t just make a to-do list anymore and plan on it getting done. I can’t flippantly fiddle around and waste an hour here or there. That’s just not sufficient. Things won’t get done, or I won’t have time for things that really matter. I have to intentionally plan out when and how long I’ll spend on different activities. This obviously doesn’t mean that things can’t run over or the unexpected come up, but being a good steward of my time allows me to bounce back from stuff like that. Something I still actively work on, is being present when I’m using my time for something that involves other people. I want to invest in friendships. I want those friendships to be those that bless our hearts because we spent time together–that we’re better people for being in one another’s company. I want my husband to be ok when I have to work late because I have been present with him at our date the weekend before.
Just like selling things I liked or buying less “fun” things was hard to become a better steward of our money, making sacrifices to be a good steward of time is hard as well. Sometimes I have to say no to fun stuff, oftentimes I get up before the sun, and I always have to think about how an activity will affect my relationships with others as well as my ability to fulfill all of my commitments. It’s hard, and I’m honestly intimidated about how adding a little person into the mix will affect all of this. Only time will tell. Obviously things will change. A little person who is completely dependent on me and Husband for all of his/her needs and wants takes a lot of time!
Lifestyle is kind of a new stewardship issue in my world. For me, being a good steward of my health and fitness means I get 7-8 hours of sleep a night, I exercise 3 times a week, and the vast majority of my meals are made up of whole foods and created by me. I didn’t really think about all of this as stewardship before, but the last few years I’ve really felt convicted about the fact that I’ve only been given one body, and running it into the ground to increase productivity isn’t what I was made for and is irresponsible. Being a good steward of this seriously influences my stewardship of time. It takes a lot of time to get good sleep, cook meals from scratch, and go to the gym multiple times in a week. Hard choices have to be made to get it all done. Sometimes corners are cut, and that’s ok, but I want the guiding principle to be more of the norm than the anomaly.
I’m certainly not always successful at being a good steward of any of these things. Last week I bought a new necklace just because I wanted it. This isn’t necessarily bad, but I didn’t really think about the purchase. The other day I spent like 5 hours playing a video game when I could have been spending quality time with Husband. One recent morning I essentially had a large bowl of sugar for breakfast. Are any of these things necessarily bad? No, but I always want my choices to be made carefully and thoughtfully so that at the end of each day I can see how God was glorified in my choices and that the things I’ve been given dominion over are multiplying rather than remaining stagnant or being wasted. It’s a life-long process, but one I’m particularly mindful of right now.