Prayer, Creativity & Faith

Exploring TIME and SPACE


This is part 4 in my Think • Write • Pray • Explore series focused on TIME. Read part 1, part 2, and part 3 here if you missed them, and if you don’t have the January prayer prompt calendar about time, you can download it for free here

Some months, this is where I will challenge you to do make something—draw or paint, craft, write. Once in a while I will challenge you to try something new. Sometimes the “Explore” will be about creating something new. Sometimes it will be new, practical ideas to try. Honestly, it’s hard to say where I will go with this! This month, you have two options: you can create time or you can create space.

Creating time? You must think I’m nuts. But what if we could? Give ourselves an extra hour or two when things get particularly busy? Squeeze in a couple extra hours of sleep every night? Or fast forward through weeks to get to a much-anticipated event? It’s nice to fantasize, but I wouldn’t want the responsibility that comes with controlling the speed with which time passes, or how much time we have left. Luckily, we don’t have to control the universe in order to exert some additional control over the time we’ve been given.

Here are a few ideas to help you create some extra minutes in your day.

  • Hit snooze one less time than usual. Spend those nine minutes lingering over coffee and an inspiring book.
  • Order carryout or warm up leftovers rather than cooking a meal from scratch, and spend ten minutes longer tucking in your kids at bedtime.
  • Rather than listening to music in the car, plug in a podcast to expand your horizons, entertain you, or teach you something new.
  • Put down your social media feeds. When we’re scrolling endlessly, clicking random links, it’s like the world’s biggest time sucker. Check Facebook or Instagram one fewer time than normal and fill the time with something that feeds your soul—a bubble bath, or a long phone call to a friend you don’t talk to nearly often enough.
  • Re-organize your day. I used to do my writing whenever all my other work was done, but I always ran out of steam before then, so my writing didn’t go anywhere. Then one day I decided that, if nothing else, I needed to signal to myself that writing was more important to me, so I moved it to the start of my day. Because I wasn’t exhausted or stressed yet, I got more done in less time, and then I was invigorated when I moved into regular work mode.
  • Don’t feel like you have enough time to read? Keep a book handy and read for 15 minutes while you eat your lunch, or for a few minutes before you fall asleep at night. Heck, keep a book by the toilet if that’s the only place you can find five minutes to spare. I love my Kindle app because even if I don’t have a book or iPad with me, I can open my current read on my phone and fill those unexpected ten minutes of down time when a doctor is running behind or a friend is late to lunch.
  • Listen to a TED talk or sermon while you walk the dog.
  • I read this somewhere and it’s great advice—never touch your mail more than once. When you bring it in, immediately toss the junk mail, open the bills, and if you can’t pay them right away, put them in a designated spot so you don’t waste time searching for them later.
  • Set up subscriptions on Amazon for staples you need regularly (you can adjust timing to suit your needs) so that you don’t have to run to the store or hop online every time you run low. Bonus: usually that comes with a slight discount, too!
  • Keep a stack of notecards (or birthday cards) nearby, and while you watch TV, write short notes to friends and family.
  • Think ahead. Start your birthday and Christmas shopping months in advance, while you’re out doing other errands, so you don’t have to set aside time closer to the holiday. Buy a stack of birthday cards so you have spares on hand. Redeem your credit card rewards for gift cards to have on hand for gifts. When you find something interesting on clearance, buy it and keep it in a designated “birthday box” until you need a gift—and voilá! You’re all set.
  • What other ways can you find to create time for something you love?

If that kind of creating doesn’t appeal to you, consider these ways to create a new space for yourself. In Stephen King’s book On Writing, he discusses the value of a routine. If you sit in the same place at the same time every day, you teach yourself that now is the time to write, or create, or pray, or what have you. Even if you aren’t consistent with your timing, there’s something to be said for having a designated area for activities you want to prioritize. Think of it as making room in your life for something that matters to you.

  • ART SPACE: Set up a table in a corner, and gather all of your art or craft supplies into one place. Several Red Solo cups (well, Solo cups of any color) set into a small plastic box make a great way to sort your colored pencils or markers—one cup for the reds, one for blues, and so on. I always like to have scissors, Scotch and/or washi tape, a ruler, and an x-acto knife and cutting board handy—even if I’m not “crafting.”
  • GIFT-WRAPPING NOOK: If you have room to spare, you could create what I’ve always wanted to have—a gift-wrapping nook. Giving gifts is my love language, and I’m eternally jealous of a friend’s gift wrap room. She keeps tubes of colorful wrapping paper propped in a large vase next to an old desk, and has a basket of fabric ribbon and decorative accents. Add tape, scissors, and gift tags and you’re all set. You can even buy a large quantity of a signature color or pattern of gift wrap through some of the shipping supply companies and create your own signature look.
  • CORRESPONDENCE BOX: Fill a small calendar with birthdays and anniversaries, and buy a stack of birthday cards and blank notecards. Use stickers or Washi tape to liven up the envelopes. Keep some different colored pens and stamps within reach, and consider keeping your church directory or family address list handy as well. When you come across small objects like magnets, bookmarks, stickers, pretty scriptures, small pin-back buttons, and so on, toss them in the box so that you can tuck fun little treasures in with your notes.
  • HOMEWORK STATION: Taking a class, or supervising your kids? Put together a homework station with everything you need to be productive—because let’s face it, it’s easy to put off homework when you’re looking for a highlighter or can’t find some 3×5 cards. Stock a desk or table with pencils, pens, highlighters, colored pencils, erasers, index cards, post-it notes, page flags, spare paper, and a dictionary or other reference book. (Bonus points if you can find a place to keep some poster board, foam presentation boards, permanent markers, construction paper, and glue.)
  • Create a WRITING CORNER, complete with Strunk and White’s Elements of Style, a highlighter and red pen, and some colorful post-it notes. Hang up a bulletin board with story ideas or a blog planning calendar. Make sure you have a spot for your favorite coffee mug, an extension cord for your laptop, and scrap paper or 3×5 index cards for jotting down ideas. Consider filling a shelf nearby with inspiration—your favorite books, the writers you aspire to be like, the ones who made you want to do this thing.
  • Make a PRAYER SPACE—it doesn’t have to be a closet, but it can be as simple as a comfy chair or some cushions piled in a corner. Surround yourself with everything you might need as you sit down to pray—a journal, a Bible, a favorite devotional, a pen, headphones if you need to block out the noise of your household. Maybe you want to burn a candle or diffuse some essential oils to make the time feel more sanctified.

So what are YOU going to do/create/explore?

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