It’s easy for me to think about my hours in terms of dollars. I currently charge an hourly rate, so it’s natural to think about my time as money.
At first, it was just a business-minded strategy. When I am working, if I can minimize time between clients, then less of my potential earning time is wasted. I hated driving far away to see clients because it felt like I had willingly lowered my hourly rate.
As much “business sense” as this makes, I started thinking this way about a lot of things. Was it worth it for me to DIY something? Not if the number of hours required multiplied by my hourly rate exceeded purchasing it. Was it worth it for me to offer a favor to someone for free? Obviously not, because I charge an hourly rate, so the favor would be worth $xxx. Instead of doing something for free, I told myself, I could be making money instead.
My hourly rate was starting to take over my understanding of the value of my time. My hours began to become too precious for much else– and as idle time ticked away, it felt as though my savings were falling into deficit. I was taking the idea of opportunity cost way too seriously.
Here’s the problem with thinking about my time on an hourly-wage basis: I forget that what happens during that time can be priceless.
My time spent making something with my own hands is valuable– not just for the end product, but for the creativity and learning that goes into it.
My time spent helping someone for free is also valuable– not just to that person, but to me as I use my professional skills to the mere benefit of another person.
My time spent rejuvenating my mind, laughing with my husband, or listening to music is not wasted time– if I allow it to, it could meet the needs of my tired body and spirit.
In other words, I can spend my time in ways that money could never buy.
It all comes down to intentionality
Give anyone $50.00, and they’ll have exactly that– $50.00. But give anyone a free hour, and there are a million things that hour might mean for them.
Money is money, and it can be spent well or squandered. But time is what we live in, and what we really own. How we spend our time depends on whether we have committed to living by our priorities.
I’ve committed to thinking about my time less as business capital and more as a space in which I can be intentional. This is because I believe there is much to be valued in life that money cannot buy.
Money cannot buy me good friendships; I will have to use my time intentionally and lovingly.
Money cannot buy me insight; I will have to give myself time to think and pray over my experiences.
Money cannot buy me compassion; I will have to stretch myself by giving time to causes that matter.
Money cannot buy me maturity; I will have to choose humility and learn lessons from my mistakes.
Money cannot buy me creativity; I will have to use my hands to make, build, and write.
Money cannot buy me courage; I will have to practice it in all my endeavors, whether I am being paid or not.
Money is neither my god nor my ultimate goal
Jesus himself said it: “You cannot serve God and money.”
The truth is, you cannot devote yourself to more than one of anything— because that one thing shapes the way you see everything else. I can attest to this, because I was beginning to see my time through the lens of my business, and it was draining each moment of its immense value and potential.
Regardless of how hard I work, I don’t have to believe that every hour I have on earth is a money-making opportunity.
Instead, I can believe that every hour has the potential for eternal difference to be made; lives to be changed; bonds to be broken; hearts to be made whole.
I would rather commit myself to that, instead of measuring each minute of my life by an hourly wage.
Are you tempted to equate your time with money?
Oh, and it’s my birthday! I’m 25 today. Read on about my gift to you.
To thank you for being a reader and follower of this blog, which turned one year old last month, I want to offer my own gift in gratitude. I wish I could give every reader a gift, because my time on this blog has been sweetened by your presence and enhanced by your engagement. Thank you.
As a birthday gift, I would like to offer you $25 to Noonday Collection. I met several women who work for Noonday while we were volunteering at Casa Victoria in Ecuador. Noonday partners with artisans all around the world to bring beautiful, sustainable jewelry to clients in the US and beyond. Artisans who partner with Noonday often have amazing stories of survival and redemption, and of course they create gorgeous pieces like I have seen nowhere else!
I selected Noonday because I believe in their mission to not only bring resources to impoverished areas, but to support local entrepreneurs and creatives who are fighting for a place in the international marketplace. Plus, I believe that jewelry is a great way to spice up a small wardrobe, which of course I’m all about!
**If you’re not interested in jewelry and you win this giveaway, I will donate $25 to a non-profit of your choice!**
*This giveaway is not in collaboration with Noonday Collection.