I was chatting with a friend a few weeks back and she mentioned a book that reminded her of me. I had checked the book out from the library, but never read it (as is the case with the majority of books I check out.) I made a comment about wishing I had more time to read. How many of us make similar comments about our time?

“I’m just too busy,” seems to be an all too familiar sentiment. We find ourselves scurrying to and fro from countless activities, meetings, and errands only to rush home to more work, duties, and projects. But how are we spending our time? What are we filling our life up with?

We’re ALL busy. Kids, housework, cooking, chauffeuring, activities our kids are involved in, church, work….the list goes on and on. Throw in a handful of commitments and obligations (and don’t forget the inability to say “no” ) and we find ourselves with a full plate. But how much of what we’re doing is beneficial? Do your “extra” activities fulfill you, or stress you out? Do you come away from your meetings, clubs, and volunteer duties feeling refreshed, energized, and full of passion, or are you bogged down and “DONE.”

I remember a summer afternoon several years ago. My kids were out front riding their bikes and making colorful chalk drawings on our driveway. They were enjoying the sunshine, making memories, and spending time together. And what was I doing? I was planting pretend vegetables and clicking on animated cows. How much of our time (that we claim we don’t have) do we spend on ridiculous things?!

Last year, my daughter was in a classroom that engaged in a lot of “busy work.” They filled in a lot of worksheets and colored a lot of pictures, and yes they were kept “busy.” But, the activities they were doing lacked substance. The work wasn’t engaging or enriching. There was no opportunity for growth. My daughter would come home disgruntled and unhappy. This year, she is in a class where her time is put to good use. She is challenged by what she engages in. Her mind is active. She comes home happy and energized.

It’s the same way with us. When we’re simply “keeping busy”, we can get bogged down. Engaging in activities that don’t benefit us or challenge us in any way are meaningless. When we pursue things that have meaning and substance, or make us better or happy, we feel fulfilled and our attitude changes. Staying “busy” shouldn’t be the goal. We should focus on filling up our life with what counts, rather than simply finding things to do to stay busy.

I am urging you to “trim the fat” from your life this year. If it doesn’t make you happy, better, or more fulfilled, why waste your time? Make a list of your “non-negotiables.” Who or what is in your life that you can’t do without? Start by making time for those things. Spend your time doing what you LOVE. I decided I want more time this year with God, my family, and my writing. I want to spend more time in the Word and in prayer. I want to play with my kids while they’re still little. I want to date my spouse. I want to pursue a profession that I’m passionate about. The rest….it just keeps me busy..And really, I want to have time for what matters.

Remember that sunny afternoon I told you about? Know what I did? I deleted that god-forsaken game and started a blog. =) I exchanged a time-suck for something that fuels me. This year I am pledging to do away with the “extras” that pull time away from the things I can’t live without. Will you take the pledge with me? What is keeping you from the things you TRULY love?