“‘Let us redeem the time.’ Desultory working, fitful planning, irregular reading, ill-assorted hours, perfunctory or unpunctual execution of business, hurry and bustle, loitering, and unreadiness, these, and such like, are the things which take out the whole pith and power from life, which hinder holiness, and which eat like a canker into our moral being.” Horatius Bonar
(Desultory means: marked by a lack of definite plan or regularity or purpose, jumping from one thing to another.)
This quote, which I have posted before, inspired me to be better about planning and “regularity of purpose”. I keep a learning log for the children which has the days of the week across the top and the subjects down the side. It has been very motivating to see what they have or haven’t done in a week, and it helps me see what still needs done. So I thought I would try it for myself, since I have tried scheduling out my days very specifically, e.g. on Tuesday at this time I will read this type of book, and I have found I get very overwhelmed by a rigid schedule.
With a learning log I am able to keep track of everything I read or do and it helps me to be more disciplined in the use of my time. If I am tempted to read a biography again, but I can see I haven’t practiced music, I am more likely to put the biography down and go play the piano.
My catagories are: Bible reading, study, memorization; Sermons, Theology and Christianity; Music and Art; World, Church and American History; Biography, Literature and Poetry; Journal, Write and Blog; Practical Homekeeping skills and crafts; Education and Family Relationships; Maths, Science and Language; serving/service projects (this helps me see whether or not I am thinking about others or just myself); Exercise; and Chores.
I keep a journal with me at all times, so I can write down everything I am thinking and learning; also quotes, what the children are doing and saying, sermon notes, and so on. My mom used to quote the Chinese proverb “Weakest ink is stronger than strongest memory” and it has stuck with me. My memory is definitely not the strongest memory! I do better when I write everything in one journal than when I try to keep a journal for each subject. I gave myself permission to do this when I read about Jonathan Edward’s “Miscellanies”; a journal in which he wrote on many different topics.
I keep the books I am reading on my nightstand because in the past I have been undisciplined in my reading–often starting, but not finishing, books. When I want to read, I only read the books on my nightstand. This way I am slowly working my way through each book. When I finish a book I will add another one from the shelves. I have found it is better to read several books slowly than one book really fast. I remember more from each book, and I have time to mull over what I am reading.
I intentionally included the chore, craft/homekeeping and exercise blocks to help me have a well-rounded, productive day. It is too easy for me read all the time, and, as important as reading is, other things are just as important and must get done. In biblical/Jewish thought, study was seen as a form of worship [of God] and much time was devoted to it. But a father was considered to be an infidel if he did not teach his son a trade as well as the word. An example of a well-taught Jewish man who also had a trade is Paul. He was trained as a pharisee and as a tentmaker. Even rabbis, who did not have time to practice a trade other than teaching, learned a trade.
So I am seeking to grow in diligence and self-discipline to both study and to learn new skills–for the glory of God, and the benefit of my family and the body of Christ. My purpose in learning is not simply to feed my curiosity. I want to be equipped to serve more fully.
In Safely Home, Tom Eldredge writes, “Knowledge is, therefore, to be prized only inasmuch as it enables us to better love and serve the Lord, our family and our neighbors. Knowledge that does not lead to wisdom (that is, seeing things from God’s perspective) promotes pride–not glory to God. . . .The proper role of knowledge is to nurture our relationships with God and other people. Knowledge of the gospel [and faith to believe it] brings us into a relationship with Jesus Christ. It has been said, ‘To know Him is to love Him, and to love Him is to serve Him.’ The greater knowledge one receives, the greater the ability and the responsibility one has to use that knowledge to serve others. This principle encompasses not only ‘religious knowledge’ but all knowledge.”
This is why I am trying to be more purposeful in what I am learning, instead of allowing myself to selfishly and lazily only do what I “feel” like learning or doing.