Can I Stop Living Under Time Anxiety? With Jen Pollock Michel [Episode 260]

Stop Living Under Time Anxiety Jen Pollock Michel

GIVEAWAY ALERT: You can win the book In Good Time by this week’s podcast guest. Keep reading to find out how!

Whether we’re trying to find time, save time, manage time, or make the most of our time, one word often shows up when we’re talking about time: anxiety. But, if we want to experience freedom from time anxiety, we have to reimagine our relationship with time itself.

Today’s guest, author Jen Pollock Michel, explains that time is not something to manage, save, spend, or waste. She shares how it’s possible to have a grounded, healthy relationship with the clock to help you move from the treadmill of productivity to the call of fruitfulness.

As we talk about her book, In Good Time: 8 Habits for Reimagining Productivity, Resisting Hurry, and Practicing Peace, Jen will show you how to move from a life characterized by hustle, multitasking, and relentless work to one that resembles presence, attention, and rest.

Doesn’t that sound better?

Contrary to what you may have heard, busyness isn’t a virtue, and time anxiety isn’t solved by doing more and doing it faster. So today, we’re coming out from under the tyrannical rule of our schedules.

It’s time for us to rethink time, so let’s do it!

Meet Jen

Jen Pollock Michel is the author of several life-changing books. She holds a BA in French from Wheaton College and an MA in Literature from Northwestern University, and she is also a student in Seattle Pacific’s MFA program. Jen is a wife and mother of five and hosts the Englewood Review of Books podcast.

[Listen to the podcast using the player above, or read the transcript below. Then check out the links below for more helpful resources.]

Related Resources


Books & Bible Studies by Jennifer Rothschild

More from Jen Pollock Michel

Links Mentioned in This Episode

Related Blog Posts

Stay Connected

Episode Transcript

4:13 Podcast: Can I Stop Living Under Time Anxiety? With Jen Pollock Michel [Episode 260]

Jen Pollock Michel: There's a strong ethic of individualism in time management. It's all about you and your lists and your strategies and kind of the heroics that you can perform in time. And when I really started to think about that, I was like, that's really true, you know. And the assumption is not only that you as the individual can be a hero, you know, overcoming the obstacles of the 24-hour day. Not only that, but really the only way that you can manage time is if you reduce contingency and interruption.

Jennifer Rothschild: Whether we are trying to find time, save time, manage time, or make the most of our time, one word that shows up often when we're talking about time is the word anxiety. But if we want to get free from time anxiety, we have to reimagine our relationship with time itself. So today's guest, author Jen Pollock Michel, will teach you that time is not something to manage, save, spend, or waste; instead, she's going to move you from the treadmill of productivity to the call of fruitfulness. It's time for you to rethink time, so let's do it.

K.C. Wright: Welcome to the 4:13 Podcast, where practical encouragement and biblical wisdom set you up to live the "I Can" life, because you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

Now, welcome your host, Jennifer Rothschild.

Jennifer Rothschild: Hey, our people. Glad you're here, 4:13ers. Me and K.C. here in the closet. Two friends, one topic, zero stress. And the reason I'm here is just to help you be and do more than you even feel capable of as you live this "I Can" life of Philippians 4:13.

And got to tell you people, some of you remembered that a few months -- well, not a few months. About a month ago, right before I went to Italy, I told you that I gave K.C. a gift.

K.C. Wright: That keeps giving.

Jennifer Rothschild: That keeps giving. And I told you I would let you know what it was when I got back from Italy. So I forgot to mention it already, so I'm going to tell you today. The gift that I gave K.C. --

K.C. Wright: This is the funniest thing.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- that continues to give on -- keep giving. Ready?

K.C. Wright: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: Lucy. Yes, my people, K.C. has adopted Lucy.

K.C. Wright: It's true.

Jennifer Rothschild: And I've got to tell you why. So beginning of the year, I was doing a lot of traveling, and K.C. -- out of the kindness of his heart, he and Ellie were keeping Lucy. And we had been gone, I don't know, three weeks or so --

K.C. Wright: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- and we all came to the same conclusion during that time: Jennifer travels every weekend, Lucy's an old lady, Ellie and K.C. love Lucy.

K.C. Wright: With everything, yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: So we just made this arrangement to have an official adoption. So out of love for Lucy, I gave up Lucy. K.C. has adopted Lucy. So I do miss her. I do miss her.

K.C. Wright: I know.

Jennifer Rothschild: But there were two reasons we did it.

K.C. Wright: Yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: Because I do travel so often and the girl's world was totally disrupted all the time.

K.C. Wright: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: The lady who used to keep her, precious Aunt Beverly, went to heaven, and so obviously, that's not possible anymore. So the other thing was -- and K.C. didn't even know this when we were talking about him adopting --

K.C. Wright: No.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- our oldest grandson, Tripp, is allergic to dogs. So literally, his allergies got so bad, they couldn't even come over. Like, it was that bad.

K.C. Wright: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: And so when we really looked at it all, we were like, well, K.C. kind of offered and --

K.C. Wright: Right.

Jennifer Rothschild: So it has been -- I've missed her --

K.C. Wright: Yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- but it has been the greatest thing ever. And I got to say, you people, K.C. is such a better dog parent than I ever was. Like, such a better dog parent. I said, K.C., you know, she's very lazy. I think her hips hurt. She can't jump. She can't walk. She can't do this. And she is acting like a little puppy now at his house.

K.C. Wright: She is.

Jennifer Rothschild: I think she was depressed at my house.

K.C. Wright: I'm telling you. So we have an Australian Labradoodle, and now we have Lucy. And the Doodle has more or less become Ellie's dog, and Lucy's become my girl.

Jennifer Rothschild: Aw.

K.C. Wright: But, you know, when I first got Lucy, she was acting like a cat. She didn't want you to touch her. Stay away from me.

Jennifer Rothschild: That's what I thought.

K.C. Wright: But now, I'm telling you, she is at home and she's happy. Not that she wasn't happy here.

Jennifer Rothschild: No, but it's a different level of happy.

K.C. Wright: Right. Because Ellie just gives her so much attention. And she's not alone, she has Brennan, our Australian Labradoodle. So anyway, it was a perfect fit. But I'm just still laughing that this happened. I mean --

Jennifer Rothschild: Me too.

K.C. Wright: Hey, listen, we need you to watch our dog for just a month. And then here comes, "Hey, we had a thought. Would you just like to have the dog?" But, I mean, it was a God thing because Ellie -- the only reason that she would want to come over here with me while I record the podcasts was to see Lucy.

Jennifer Rothschild: True. That's so true.

K.C. Wright: Does she love Dr. Phil and Jennifer? Of course. And all the staff? Yes. But the real reason was is she'd part the sea of people to get to Lucy.

Jennifer Rothschild: That's so true.

K.C. Wright: And now Lucy lives in our home. It's like living with a little gremlin.

Jennifer Rothschild: I know.

K.C. Wright: She's so cute.

Jennifer Rothschild: She is a funny little girl. She's got a sassy tail, doesn't she?

K.C. Wright: Oh, she is Queen Lucy.

Jennifer Rothschild: She is.

K.C. Wright: Oh, diva girl.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, I remember when you first were just keeping her, I sent you an email with Queen Lucy's preferences, and I let you know there were certain things you had to do and could not do in order for Lucy to be happy. Because no one's happy if Lucy's not happy.

K.C. Wright: And I got to tell you, that letter alone would make a hilarious podcast. People would roll on the floor if they read the details of this dog's life.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, so maybe we'll have to do a little bonus episode where we talk about Lucy.

K.C. Wright: But sometimes I'll hold Lucy and say, "Do you miss your mama?" And I see it in her eyes that she does miss her mama, and so I just say, "Alexa, play the 4:13 Podcast."

Jennifer Rothschild: That's a good idea.

K.C. Wright: Yeah. And so when I leave -- well, as a matter of fact, right now, while I'm here with you, guess what Lucy's listening to?

Jennifer Rothschild: The 4:13?

K.C. Wright: The 4:13. She's being grounded in the Word.

Jennifer Rothschild: She is.

K.C. Wright: She's learning she can do all things through Christ.

Jennifer Rothschild: She's getting some practical encouragement and biblical insight to help her live the "I Can" life. Wow. And we're getting an extra download or two. Thank you, Lucy.

K.C. Wright: But we had a snowfall here in Missouri that was pretty heavy. We haven't had one like this for a long time. Well, when I let her out the back door, the only way you could locate Lucy in my backyard was that little tail that was waving in the air like a flag. She's a cutie. She's a Shih Tzu.

Jennifer Rothschild: She is definitely a Queen Lucy. She is.

K.C. Wright: A queen.

Jennifer Rothschild: So, anyway, y'all, now that you know that we are co-parenting here with Lucy -- no, actually, K.C.'s the -- he is the official parent.

K.C. Wright: We were going to call her Lucy Wright, but we're not. We call her Lucy Rothschild still to this day.

Jennifer Rothschild: Which, by the way, her official middle name is Optimus Prime. We had a family discussion that did not go well on the naming right, so she's Lucy Optimus Prime Rothschild Wright. I think it's a great name.

All right, that's enough about that. Let's get to the podcast.

K.C. Wright: Oh, my gosh. I'm sorry, I'm still laughing that I have your dog. It's the funniest thing. It's the funniest thing. This is one for the books.

Okay. Jen Pollock Michel, she's the author of several life-changing books. She holds a B.A. in French from Wheaton College --

Jennifer Rothschild: Ooh la la.

K.C. Wright: -- and an M.A. in Literature from Northwestern University. And she's also a student in Seattle's Pacific M.F.A. program.

Jennifer Rothschild: Wow.

K.C. Wright: Jen is a wife and mother of five and hosts the Englewood Review of Books Podcast. Jen, get a vision for your life. Seriously. Reading your bio has absolutely wiped me out.

Jennifer Rothschild: We're exhausted.

K.C. Wright: We're exhausted. No. It is such an honor to know you, Jen. Pull up a chair and get to know two Jens today.

Jennifer Rothschild: That's right.

K.C. Wright: Let's go. Here we go.

Jennifer Rothschild: All right, Jen, I have this friend who confessed over a coffee just a couple of days ago that she is a productivity junkie. And we both laughed about it because I get it. A lot of people get it. Because I'm very satisfied by productivity, efficiency, you know, managing time. Those are, like, things I really care about. And, in fact, a lot of people listening are. But then we've had the last couple of years. Right? And the pandemic, it just kind of flipped our routines upside down and freaked a lot of productivity junkies out. Okay, so we dealt with this for a couple of years. And now you've written this book on time, time management, and it makes me very curious. Did the disruption of the pandemic and how it messed with our sense of time, did it impact your view of productivity?

Jen Pollock Michel: It absolutely did. It's funny that you would actually use the word "junkie" in combination with "productivity," because it does -- there's, like, an adrenaline rush. There's a rush. There's a hit sometimes from getting things done. And I don't know that I knew how addicted I was to that feeling until I couldn't have it anymore, which, of course, was March of 2020 and then the months that were subsequent to the world shutting down.

And I tried to actually manufacture a lot of productivity just within the four walls of my house. I was one of those people who very early in the pandemic was reading all of the articles that now is the time to get other kinds of things done. You couldn't travel, you know, you couldn't take your kids to school and all of their activities and do the maybe normal things that you would use to fill up your calendar, but here are some other ideas. And I was just consuming all of that kind of messaging, I guess. Like, I'll just try for a new kind of productivity. And I was reading, like, new productivity books. I was ordering new things from the library and bookstore. Amazon, actually. I think our library was closed, so it was probably all from Amazon. And it wasn't really solving anything. And I think that was really when I started to realize, what is this? Why am I trying to manufacture urgency? Why can't I just enter into this season and its newness? And, of course, you know, there were lots of anxieties in that season. But I was actually manufacturing, like, a time anxiety, and I think that's when I had to sort of step back and say something's amiss here. And Jesus was very gently inviting me to, you know, some learning.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, this is really good. And I'm resonating personally. I know our listeners are. That phrase "manufactured urgency," wow. I think that's something we need to sit with and wonder, do we manufacture urgency and, if so, why?

But you did mention the word "anxiety." Okay? So time anxiety, it's a term. And a lot of people can relate to it, even if they've never used that term before. So describe what time anxiety is and, if we've got it, what can we do about it?

Jen Pollock Michel: Yeah. There are different, I think, manifestations of time anxiety. I think the one that is pretty common among all kinds of people -- it doesn't matter how old you are, what your gender is, where you live -- the time anxiety of just busyness. The sense that my list is too long, the hours are too short, I'll never get it all done, and I feel constantly and chronically behind. And so I think that is a very typical, you know, common form of time anxiety. I don't think it's the only one, though. I think there are other anxieties that we might not initially see as time anxieties, but they actually are very particularly related to time.

So I would say there are lots of time anxieties related to the past. And sometimes that is regret and shame and a sense that something in my past is now forever and foreclosed a certain version of the future. God's never going to do something with me because of this thing or, you know, my future is just always going to be determined by this past event. Or missed opportunity, you know, it could be something like that. So this anxiety about the past. And sometimes that's always just noodling over the past and thinking -- it could be nostalgically thinking about the past, it could be regretfully thinking about the past.

And I think there's all kinds of anxieties -- similar anxieties related to the future. Things we can't control, outcomes that we can't guarantee, things that we may never be able to head off at the pass. We're on a collision course perhaps with suffering. And so I think that creates a lot of anxiety.

And what can we do about it? I think the first thing we have to do is just to really reckon with our lack of control, which feels scary. But I think as a believer, this is the first step towards surrender to Christ. It's the first step toward greater trust. It's almost like stepping -- like, pulling your hands away from the wheel, stepping off of the gas and saying, okay, Lord, I'm really not in control, so can I surrender to you? And then that really allows us to deepen into a sense that God actually is far greater, far wiser, far more powerful than we could even begin to understand. And so I actually don't want to be in control of my life because I can do a pretty good job of either, A, making a mess of it or, B, honestly just dreaming too small of the things that God really has planned. So surrendering to him, I think, is -- and I think that is directly related to not manufacturing false urgency about things, you know, that God's plans are going to happen, and so can I just swim in the current of his love and his generosity and his good providence in my life.

Jennifer Rothschild: Now, as you describe that, it really makes me think sometimes I think our need for productivity or efficiencies, managing all of our time, is really just an attempt to control that which we intuitively know we really don't have any control over. So I think it always starts with the heart. So thank you for sharing that, because I think that's super important. And like you said, during the pandemic time you started reading even more books on productivity and things like that.

Okay. So a lot of those books, they do get it right. They do. You know, it's not like everything in those books is false. Okay, so they get it right. But they leave out this thing called humanness, like just us being frail, right? You know, like if somebody gets sick or somebody dies, and just all the lifey stuff -- all right? -- because they are not in the pages of those books. So how can we as Christ followers look at productivity in view of God's sovereignty and the life struggles we deal with?

Jen Pollock Michel: There is a lot that the books get right. And I think those are just real, like, kind of functioning strategies. I sort of say at the end of "In Good Time" that I'm probably not going to give up reading time management books, because I do like strategies in terms of just managing my calendar and my deadlines and the things -- in some ways I think what they get right is this desire to be intentional about time, that if you want to live intentionally, like, that requires all of you. It requires your time and your money, and your attention actually is a huge thing. So they get that right.

But how do we as Christians kind of live into our humanness? I mean, I think the thing that we have to grapple with is our limitations. So as long as you have a day without interruption, I mean, praise the Lord. You know, praise the Lord. Go forth and get through your To-Do list. And hopefully -- I mean, I think the other thing I should say is that there's nothing -- just because you have a To-Do list doesn't mean that it's the thing God wants you to do. So I think, A, always prayerfully discerning. You basically, like, have your Bible and your calendar open at the very same time. And that's actually really a practice for me. When I get up in the morning and I give my first hour of the day to Jesus, like, my calendar is right there. Because I'm sort of assuming that as I'm prayerfully discerning where God's calling me to be involved in the world -- or maybe not involved in the world. Maybe there are things I absolutely cross off my list. I mean, I think it's a both/and.

But I think grappling with human limitation means avoiding the planning bias that often everybody says in the research around time management is that we way overestimate the kinds of things we can get done. So I think looking to downsize some of our ambitions and aspirations. Like, they may get over-inflated. Now, that's not true for everybody. Some people are much more likely to say nos than they are yeses. And so I think there's something that's very particular about this, and this is why your calendar is something that you manage in conversation with Jesus. Like, it really is a discipleship issue. So you might over-plan and you might under-plan, and you might say too many yeses and you might say too many nos, and you might need to grow in courage and you might need to grow in humility. And all of us need to grow in wisdom.

And that's what we know from Psalm 90. "Teach us to number our days, that we can gain a heart of wisdom." I think that's what we're grappling with when we really consider our limitations. Because at the end of the day, one limitation is just the span of a human life. And it will be too short, probably, for all of our taste, even if we get more than the 4,000 weeks that Oliver Burkeman has said we might get. And yet as Christians, we know that God's plans really -- while on the one hand God invites us to participate in his eternal plan of redemption, it's not hanging on in the balance and it's not hanging on our shoulders.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, thankfully. Thankfully. All right. That is such a good word.

So let's move to your book. Okay? Because you really set us up well here. And so you did mention that in most time management, et cetera, books, that one of the things that you get from it is this idea that -- the gift of intentionality. Okay? But since you've read so many, I would love to know what you think, like, the common thread of most productivity time management books is -- what's that common thread? -- and how is your message in your new book different from that, or even maybe even counterintuitive?

Jen Pollock Michel: One of the things that we don't see automatically in time management -- I have to confess, I did not see for 30 years until I read another book that was helping me uncover some of the assumptions -- and that book is called "Counterproductive," and I highly recommend it for people. It's an academic book, so it's not going to be for everybody. But if you're interested in some of the history of time management and the assumptions of time management, it's really good.

But one of the things that Melissa Gregg, the author of that book, says is that there's a strong ethic of individualism in time management. You know, it's all about you and your lists and your strategies and kind of the heroics that you can perform in time. And when I really started to think about that, I was like, that's really true, you know. And the assumption is not only that you as the individual can be a hero overcoming the obstacles of the 24 hours day. Not only that, but really the only way that you can manage time is if you reduce contingency and interruption. Which means you got to turn off your phone and you have to shut your front door and you try not to get in conversation with your neighbor, who's especially talkative, and certainly don't, you know, be on the hook for needy people. And I think as Christians, we kind of know uh-oh, you know, like, that's actually not the way that Jesus lived.

Now, on the one hand, Jesus -- he knew his purpose, right? And I love how the Gospel of Luke, for example, really shows us the resolve of Jesus. Like, the whole narrative is constructed around Jesus is going to Jerusalem, and he's not going to be distracted from that purpose. And yet there's all these ways that Jesus allows himself to be, quote/unquote, interrupted. A large crowd can surround Jesus. One person, one woman can reach out to touch the hem of his robe, and he can stop, like, even though he's on the way to Jairus' house to heal his daughter. And, in fact, because he stops, like, Jairus' daughter dies. And so there are these ways that Jesus moves through the world with love. Not just I'm on mission and, you know, I can't be distracted, but, like, people and love are my mission.

And I really do feel that I've been challenged by that. I've been challenged to kind of re-examine this just real task-oriented mentality. Which, I mean, in many good ways it's allowed me to get books written.

Jennifer Rothschild: Right, right.

Jen Pollock Michel: But, you know, there are other things God has for me to do in life, not just write books and hole myself up in a house. That's not a bad thing. I think that's a good thing. But I actually have an aging parent right now. And so I tell the story in the book about moving back to the United States, after living eleven years in Canada, to care for my mom, who has a health diagnosis. That's like opening the barn doors, you know, to what it means to be human, and to not only have needs myself, but to actually be open to carrying the burdens of other people. And that really is the vision that we're given in Scripture, is that neighbor caring for neighbor, and this is the way that we bear witness to the love of Christ in the world.

Jennifer Rothschild: You really are just speaking what the Gospel is. We don't think of time management as part of the Gospel --

Jen Pollock Michel: Yeah. Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- but it is. Because it's this surrendering of self and trusting Jesus with it all. Yet what you've done in your book, Jen, I appreciate. Because you take the beautiful theoretical and you turn it into a very practical, which is where we live. And so I appreciate that. And so in your book, which is -- we're going to obviously -- our listeners, don't worry, you'll have a link to it on the Show Notes. But "In Good Time" is the name of the book. You get into eight habits. Okay? And so we're not going to talk through all of them, but I just want to hit two of them. All right. So the first one, it seems quite simple, quite obvious: Begin. Okay. Yes, it seems obvious. But why did you start with Begin?

Jen Pollock Michel: Begin was allowing me to really set up the structure of faith. Like, the only way you move out of time anxiety is to move into time faith. And so what I do in this chapter is I say, you know, time management experts want you to begin. They really want you to decide. So I read this book that said, you know, here's your three options: you could drift in time; drown, just get overwhelmed; or you could decide. And so that whole kind of thread of deciding, I think, is an undercurrent in time management. Like, you decide, you begin. But actually what I say in this chapter is, like, you let God begin. Set your hope and your sights on the One who begins. And not only begins, but completes and finishes every good work that he begins.

And so this is really a chapter about faith. And it's a chapter about hope as well, because a lot of things -- times again related to that time anxiety of the past. Sometimes we think we're stuck and there's no beginning, there's no beginning again. And I want to say, well, if Jesus Christ is raised from the dead, and if he is the firstfruits of the resurrection that is awaiting us and the world, then what could God not begin in us? What could God not begin?

Now, there are things that I do believe -- I tell stories of grief in that chapter, things that end in a very final way. You know, my dad died when I was a freshman in college, and my brother committed suicide when I was a year out of college, and so I've grappled with things, like, that feel very finally ended. And death is certainly the most kind of, I guess, vivid example of that. But even in my stories of loss, I have been amazed to see the things that God begins. You know, even my writing, I think, is a beginning out of stories of loss and woundedness. And I think all ministry and -- you know, the ministry of comfort begins because of loss. And so I really want people to think about what God begins, and to really put their hope in their -- yeah, the entirety of their hope in God's character as a beginner.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, it's a paradigm shift. And, of course, the Philippians verse is resounding in my mind as you say that, that he who begins this good work in you will carry it to completion. And I also see Jen in her office or kitchen table with her calendar and Bible opened at the same time. I mean, you're literally beginning your day with that same sense of beginning.

And so then here's a side question. Okay? Because people may be hearing this and they're going, oh, that's so beautiful, and I can hear, you know, Handel's Messiah playing in the background because it's so beautiful. But here's my thing. Like, I don't have enough time, Jen. You don't understand. I don't even have enough time to sit down with my calendar and Bible and begin. Okay? So if somebody is saying, I don't have enough time, I need more time, what do you say to that person?

Jen Pollock Michel: Yeah. I want to say that there are seasons of our lives where busy chooses us, and then I think there are seasons of our lives where we choose busy, and so I'd say something different to two different kinds of people.

If busy is choosing you -- now, that would -- I would say you're caring for young kids, you know, you're getting yourself through some rigorous program to prepare for the vocation God's called you. You know, you're caring for an aging parent, you are underwater financially and you are working three jobs to pay for the roof over your head. Like, busy is choosing you. And I want to say to you, in everything that you do, God is with you. You do not have to spend three hours a day in prayer to be close to God. You could pray to Jesus, who is with you on the bus ride to your first shift. God is with you.

I always remember when I was a young mom and busy was choosing me, because I had five young kids all under the age of seven, I remember that the end of Psalm 90, which is actually a timed psalm, and it says, you know, establish the work of my hands, establish the work of my hands. You know, favor me, bless me and do this. And so when you're -- the work of your hands, when your hands are full with life, God is with you. And the work that you're doing, you can do in his strength and with his help, and you can seek him in the very busy moments of your day. And that won't feel enough. It won't. I remember that. And if busy is choosing you, look to your community. Try to find some ways where you can just receive support and help.

But to the person who chooses busy, I want to say to you that there is a more urgent good that -- and it won't be chosen for you. I think about Mary and Martha, you know, and how beautiful it was where Jesus said, "Mary has chosen the better portion and it will not be taken from her." There was a way that Martha was choosing a good, but then somehow that -- the good of serving Jesus and loving him and hosting him and, you know, probably his entourage too, and cooking them dinner, that was a beautiful good. But somehow that good kind of became outsized. Where she just deprived herself of Christ's visit is actually how John Calvin talks about it. I think we can be doing good things and I think they can just somehow start to eclipse actually God from the picture. And we need to just find ways to be urgent about the real good.

I think that you look at the research about the time that people spend on their phones. Like, that's the one way right there you could make more time, is to start deleting apps on your phone and cut down on the ways that you are connected through your media. Some of us just need to clear out the clutter of our schedule. And that is not just about, you know, what do I mark off the calendar, but how do I get the real courage? How does God grant to me the real courage to say no to some things? Because the reasons why we say yes are often motivated by I need somebody's approval or I need -- yeah, I need people to think well of me. I mean, I'm only speaking hypothetically, right? This has nothing to do with me.

Jennifer Rothschild: No. I have no idea what you're talking about. But, yeah, for those other people, yeah. Right?

Jen Pollock Michel: Exactly. So if busy is choosing you, trust that the Lord is going to get you through the season. Look to him for help. And if you are choosing busy, I would encourage you to choose repentance and to look to Christ for ways that you can kind of return him to his rightful place in your schedule and in your calendar, just as you would in your finances and in your relationships and any other area of your life.

Jennifer Rothschild: That Is so sound and so good, and very cleansing and clear. And I appreciate that word, Jen, I really do.

Okay. So I know that I, just like my listeners, I'm very anxious about your book. I can just tell how practical it is. And so we're going to end with -- this will be our last question. We're going to end with one of your habits -- because I'm not going to tell everybody all the habits. We need to read the book. Okay. But the seventh habit that you talk about in the book is Enjoy. Not something I typically think of when it comes to productivity and time management. Okay. So this is a two-part question. So where do we see this habit of enjoying in the Bible, and why is it important for us who are listening to this conversation today?

Jen Pollock Michel: Joy is one of the huge themes of the Bible. Like, God is always delivering his people from sin into the spacious place of greater joy. I think we miss that about sin. A lot of times we think, oh, all the joys and, you know, maybe the, quote/unquote, freedoms I might have if I didn't have rules or restrictions or didn't have to surrender my will to the Lord. But actually it's the opposite. It's like sin is the most cramped place of slavery in our lives. And so God is always delivering us into joy. And we just could even see that, like, through the -- the story of the Israelites, I think, is just this very vivid picture. And what's so interesting is that the Israelites often pine for Egypt, you know. They're like, "I wish we could just go back to Egypt. It was so much easier." Like, they have this nostalgic vision of slavery.

So I think that we have to learn how God is inviting us into his joy and really start to say, Lord, I struggle to believe that your ways are the ways of joy, but help me to learn that. I mean, Jesus even says -- on the night that he's betrayed as he's having his final meal with his disciples in John 13, 14, 15, 16, he's talking to his disciples at this last meal, and one of the things he says is, "I'm inviting you into my fullness of joy."

So productivity, when we think of it as related to just work, work, work, work, work, work, work, like, that is not joy. And God has given us actually a better rhythm of work and rest in Scripture. Again, Israel, when six days you shall labor, and the seventh you shall take your rest. And we have two stories related to that in Scripture, one being the story of creation. Look at me, I'm God. I worked six days, and the seventh I took my rest. Imitate me. But in Deuteronomy, that story -- that command is actually given with the story of Israel in Egypt. Remember who you were in Egypt? Now you're no longer slaves.

And so I think this idea, like, can I enjoy my life? Can I? Like, do I not have to have my foot on the gas pedal at all moments to achieve something, to prove something, to secure my future? Which was very important, too, because rest means you trust that God's going to provide. As you can. Now, again, this is for -- I'm talking to people who have the privilege and even the opportunity to choose rest in their lives. And I know that, again, if you're that single mom and you're working through jobs, you know, you're wondering, like, is this a pie-in-the-sky vision? I hope that church communities can come together so that we can enable every person to enjoy rest.

But that really is a theme in the Bible, that God is calling us into his fullness of joy. And it might mean that, yeah, you do say no to some things that -- it might mean you don't get the promotion. And it might mean that you don't afford the wonderful vacation you were working so hard for, but maybe you go camping instead. Or maybe instead of just thinking about that one week of vacation, you actually have the seventh day of rest every week and you start to actually live a little bit more humanely.

The cool thing -- I guess I'll just say this last thing, Jennifer, is that the cool thing about our experience of time -- we know this from research -- is that your fullest moments of time, where you just feel like time is so plentiful, are actually your most joyful moments. So if people want more time, then I'd say pursue more joy.

Jennifer Rothschild: I just have to repeat something that Jen said, that research says that your fullest moments of time are your most joyful moments of time. Interesting, right? So if you feel like you don't have enough time, well, then take a few minutes, or an hour if you can, and do something that brings you joy. Time's going to slow down and hope's going to spring up.

K.C. Wright: I really like that.

Our friends, God is inviting us into his joy. Joy is my word for the year, by the way. That is Jesus' invitation to you right now. God has given us a better rhythm. You don't have to spend speeding through your life, right?

Jennifer Rothschild: Yep.

K.C. Wright: You don't have to be speeding through life. Rest means you trust God. He's going to provide. He's El Shaddai, the God who's more than enough, and he absolutely will meet all your needs.

So get ready to go to the Show Notes to read this transcript and get connected to all of Jen's life-changing books, including this latest one called "In Good Time." Actually -- winner winner chicken dinner -- you can win one right now on Jennifer's Instagram. Simply go @jennrothschild right now, or the Show Notes will have a link to that Instagram link at

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. Y'all, this was such a good conversation today, wasn't it? So ask God where this message meets you and then respond. You can, because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. I can.

K.C. Wright: I can.

Jennifer Rothschild: And you can.

K.C. Wright: You can.

Jennifer Rothschild: By the way, is Lucy still eating all that cheese?

K.C. Wright: She is.

Jennifer Rothschild: That's her favorite treat, is cheese.

K.C. Wright: Oh, hilarious. Now my Australian Labradoodle, Brennan, he has to have his daily string cheese.

Jennifer Rothschild: Everybody has string cheese.

K.C. Wright: Lucy eats string cheese, one a day and that's it, and she goes crazy.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. She loves it.

K.C. Wright: She, like, eats that like a piranha, man. I'm telling you. But you know what? I'm going to correct you, Jenn -- and I never do this -- you are a fantastic dog mama.

Jennifer Rothschild: Aw.

K.C. Wright: The basket of goodies you gave me for Lucy is evidence that you love that baby girl. Because that thing was filled with --

Jennifer Rothschild: It was filled with goodies.

K.C. Wright: -- every dog toy, every outfit. This girl has outfits.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, I don't know if I'm a good dog mom or just a good dog enabler.


Go deeper into this week's question in my Bible Study Bistro Facebook group. There's a community of 4:13ers waiting for you!