Shopping for Time
How to Do It All and NOT Be Overwhelmed
Publisher: Crossway Books
Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team
Overwhelmed? Frustrated? Unhappy with the direction life seems to be taking you? The almighty to-do list rules many lives and many women are miserable because they just do not know how they are going to get it all done. Regardless of your present life season, all women can relate to feelings of not being able to get it all done. One can find dozens of time management books full of good advice for maximizing one’s time. So, what makes Shopping for Time different from all the others? These women have learned
“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 that God has called us to do…A fantastic claim, we know. But it’s true. We can accomplish everything God has ordained for us to do in this life. (Hint: It’s probably not half of what’s on your to-do list.) And we can do it in a peaceful, joyful manner and get sufficient rest besides.”
The Mahaney women invite you to pull a chair up to Carolyn’s kitchen table for their weekly Q & A. The Feta cheese and French fries will be flying as will some valuable wisdom and encouragement for whatever season of life you find yourself in today.
Every woman knows that a good day of shopping begins with proper planning. Women spend time searching out coupons and special sales, making lists of what to buy and who to buy for, noting which stores to shop and which ones to avoid, marking the days for the biggest sales, memorizing which seasons certain items are on sale, and most women who love to shop know exactly which racks have the biggest mark-downs. They know exactly where to go and when so that they do not waste any time. Yet when it comes to how we spend our lives, we miss some of the best deals because we fail to plan wisely. Too often, poor planning in our everyday lives carries a hefty price tag. Women must learn how to shop for time the way they shop for the best bargains.
The theme of this book comes from Ephesians 5:15-16, which reads, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Carolyn & Co. show how to wisely plan your days according to your particular season so that you do not misuse the time God has given you. They do not make it complicated or rigid; they offer five sound principles that will work for any woman regardless of her age or stage. They are:
1. Rise early
2. Sit still
3. Sit and plan
4. Consider people
5. Plan to depend
Each step builds on the one before it. The first step to becoming a savvy time shopper is joining the 5:00 AM Club. That doesn’t necessarily mean one has to rise at 5:00 AM. “Early” looks different for each woman. It simply means that a woman rises before the rest of her family in order to sit still at Jesus’ feet and prepare herself for service. You won’t find any condemnation in this book if you do not rise at 5:00 AM. You will find compelling, encouraging, and practical reasons for rising before the rest of your family, or roommates as the case may be.
The second step is sitting at Jesus’ feet. In this chapter, the Mahaney women offer encouragement for your quiet times. They believe it is imperative that women learn to spend time with God, so they provide some very good ideas and sound practices for becoming more consistent in the daily discipline of Bible reading and prayer. Again, you will not find any condemnation here, however, you will find a loving reminder that consistent quiet times do not earn us favor with God nor do our inconsistent quiet times cause us to fall out of His favor. As with the other books written by Mahaney women, the writing is centered on one person, Jesus Christ. Even in a book about time management, God’s grace through Jesus is emphasized.
The third step is to sit and plan. This chapter explains how to have a personal retreat. If you’ve read Feminine Appeal, then you’re already familiar with this term. The personal retreat is a special time a woman sets aside so that she can evaluate, pray, and read her Bible in order to create an action plan for living out her priorities, such as: growing in godliness, loving her family, serving in the church, fellowshipping with other believers, evangelizing non-Christians, attending to her work, and caring for her physical health. Each woman will have her own list of priorities, but the principle remains the same. According to the Mahaney women, to sit back and let life take you wherever it wants to go is a plan to continue making the same mistakes and leads to a foolish use of the time God has given.
The fourth step is to consider people. While on a personal retreat, in addition to considering your priorities, you must consider your relationships. The Mahaney women provide biblical wisdom regarding the many kinds of relationships women have: from family relationships to friendships to mentor/mentee relationships to relationships with those who need to hear the Gospel.
The fifth step is the everyday plan to depend on God. The main point to remember about this step is to remember to depend on God’s grace for every day. In this chapter, the Mahaneys share some important tips for effectively managing daily life. This chapter also includes their combined wisdom regarding the busy seasons of life like when you welcome a new baby, move, start a new school year, or Christmas.
What good is all of this planning? With dozens of good things vying for our time, planning helps women know when to say, “Yes,” and when to say, “No.” The Mahaney women believe that the Christ-centered planning of priorities, relationships, and every day life will help women know how to decide where, when, and with whom they need to devote their time and energy so that they live fulfilled, fruitful lives for God’s glory. “In the end, our highest goal each day is not flawless execution of our plans or increased productivity. It’s our relationship with God, walking in dependence upon him throughout the day.” It is a life carefully lived that is worthy of the Gospel.
“It’s our prayer that this book will help you become a wise shopper of time in every season of your life, so when you pass from time into eternity, you can know the intense and indescribable joy of our Savior’s pleasure and commendation. We look forward to meeting you there and hearing how God, by his grace, helped you to make the best use of your time here on earth.”
This book reminded me that God’s grace is there for each new day, and God will provide the necessary energy and strength to accomplish what He has called me to accomplish. Also, it reminded me that as a Christian, I have the responsibility to plan the wise use of the time He has given me to use for His glory. Shopping for Time is perfect for any woman, especially those women who want to say goodbye to frustration, misery, and feeling tired all the time. The time management (or life management) principles offe
red are timeless and Christ-centered. Christian women from about age 17 on up will enjoy reading and benefit from the wisdom presented by the Mahaney women.
Be sure to read our Interview with the authors.