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Shopping for Time equips women to “do it all” without being overwhelmed

August 23, 2007

Are you a mother or wife who feels as if there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish all the tasks that your overloaded life requires?

Are you a mother or wife who feels as if there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish all the tasks that your overloaded life requires?

If so, the authors of a new book, Shopping for Time: How to Do It All and Not Be Overwhelmed (Crossway), have good news for you: it is possible to do all the things God has called you to do without being overwhelmed.

Written by Carolyn Mahaney and her three daughters, Nicole Whitacre, Kristin Chesemore and Janelle Bradshaw, Shopping for Time gets right to the heart of the battle for time experienced by so many Christian women. Mahaney and her three daughters operate the popular weblog girltalk.

The wife of C.J. Mahaney, a member of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Carolyn Mahaney is also the coauthor with Nancy Leigh Demoss of Feminine Appeal (Crossway) and coauthor with Whitacre of Girl Talk: Mother-Daughter Conversations on Biblical Womanhood (Crossway).

“Overwhelmed. Miserable. Exhausted. We know the feeling well,” the authors write. “As wives and mothers with toddlers and teenagers, and husbands who serve as local church pastors, we often feel pulled in five directions at once. We’ve learned there is no such thing as simply a busy month or a busy year. It’s a busy life, pure and simple. Around every corner is another hospitality, another counseling opportunity, another church meeting, another diaper to change or carpool to run.

“But we have to learn from God’s Word that it is possible to deal with life’s demands without becoming overwhelmed, miserable, and exhausted. We can surmount the numerous responsibilities that threaten to wear us down. More than that, we can actually do all the God has called us to do.”

The book helps women order their priorities according to Scripture, an undertaking that alone will reduce draining, unfruitful activities as well as the stresses they create. Drawing on Ecclesiastes 3 and Ephesians 5:15-16, the authors show how women must prioritize their time rightly. They compare the use of time to finding the best bargains at a sale.

“We’re to approach life the same way we go after bargains,” the authors assert. “We need to discern the be opportunities life has to offer. Then we must seize these opportunities and make them our highest priorities. Every day presents us with countless options for how to spend our time. However, only some are truly great deals. Only a few things are really important.

“Our job is to figure out what these prime deals are—these key opportunities—and devote our time and energy to them. This means choosing not to do a thousand other things. It means saying no to a lot of enticing options. Here’s where it gets tricky. Obviously, we don’t want the ‘bad deals’ to keep us from what is truly valuable.

“We don’t want sinful pursuits to deter us from what is God glorifying. But, it’s often the good things such as a ministry opportunity, a relational pursuit, a money-making venture, a leisure activity, or a hobby that hinder us from making the best choices. It’s frequently these good things distract us from the best things.”

The first tip the authors give is to rise early—a reality they call “joining the 5 a.m. Club.” They encourage women to rise early and begin their day by praying and meditating upon the Scriptures. This critical devotional pursuit will set the tone for the remainder of the day.

This is particularly important for women who have young children, because in the hubbub of activity that comes with each day, “waking up late means your morning devotions are probably the first to go,” they write.

A secondary reason for early rising, the authors argue, is the potential it brings for women to serve their families. They point out that the Proverbs 31 woman rise early to provide food for her family.

“Would it bless your husband to have you cook a hot breakfast or say a cheerful good-bye before he leaves for work? Or would your children’s morning schedule run more smoothly if you were one step ahead instead of rushing around?”

Other chapters deal with topics such as evaluating personal relationships carefully and daily planning, among others.


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