Article Display
Email  |  My Account  |  Donate
GreenClock withBorder
On-Time Life
I am "time-challenged." I have difficulty getting places on time. Always have. I believed it was just the way I was. I also thought that people who knew and loved me simply needed to accept that as part of who I am. But that day in the car with my daughter finally crystallized the need for change.

July 2014

“I can’t rely on you!” my daughter told me angrily as she broke the speed limit. “Mom, the whole team has to run if one of us is late. This isn’t just about me being late to practice.” I bit my tongue as I sunk into my seat because she was right. Epic fail as a mom. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the first time. Hence, my daughter’s justified wrath.

I am “time-challenged.” I have a hard time getting places on time. Always have. Maybe I picked up the habit from my mom. (A handy excuse.) Ask anyone who knows me well, on-time for me is usually about five minutes after I am supposed to be somewhere.

I can usually get away with that margin when meeting friends or family. My work schedule is flexible, so not too much of an issue there, either. But that day in the car, my daughter confronted me with the fact that my tardiness wasn’t just a personality quirk, but it was crossing a line and actually harming her and others.

It was time to acknowledge to myself and to God this bad habit had to change.

Ironically, I had just read a magazine article about chronically tardy people. I read it eagerly, hoping to gain some insight into why I struggled so much in this area and how to get better. I learned that people are late for two main reasons. For some, they are just poor at estimating how much time different tasks require. They are prone to the “I have time for one more thing before I go” syndrome. As I read, I immediately recognized myself. “Doesn’t everyone do that?” I thought to myself.

Apparently not.

As a mother with three very active children, I was constantly on the go. While trying to get the kids out the door to go somewhere, it was always, “It will only take a minute to a) load the dishwasher, b) wipe the counters, c) throw in another load of laundry, d) fold another load of laundry, e) fill in the blank-_______.” All those endless, repetitive tasks we all have to do to keep our homes in order.

I thought I was being a good time manager, because I was filling every extra minute with tasks that needed to be done. In reality I was “time optimistic,” meaning I chronically underestimated the amount of time things take. But the usual result was that we would leave the house a little late, and so get to where we were going a little late. Consequently my children got used to always arriving “just a little late.”

According to the article, the other reason people tend to be tardy is they are uncomfortable with waiting, so they arrive late to avoid downtime. Aha! I realized I have that, too. The double whammy! No wonder I struggle with this issue so much! Sometimes if I understand the “why,” it helps me with the change process.

Although this has been a life-long pattern, I believed that’s just the way I was. I figured people who know and love me just have to accept that as part of who I am. My husband, who is a very punctual person, is incredibly tolerant of my bad habit. But the day in the car with my daughter crystallized the need for change.

My tardiness might not bother me, but clearly it was affecting how important people in my life perceived me. It was hurting her. And it was hurting our relationship. I purpose to be a person my family can trust and rely on. And in this area I failed. In her eyes, I was untrustworthy. Ouch!

As I was talking to the Lord about this issue, I heard this verse in my heart, “Pursue those things which make for peace.” (Rom. 14:19) Paul was writing to the Romans about whether or not it was okay to eat meat (either is okay). But the principle he communicated is to actively do what you can to get along with others and not create unnecessary stumbling blocks for them. The Message says to “use all our energy!” I realized it was time to address the time issue.

In pursuing those things which make for peace, I am practicing better time-management habits, like keeping a time journal to learn how to better estimate how long tasks take, planning out my to-dos and allowing enough time for them, and becoming better at time estimation. I am also rewarding myself when I arrive early at my destinations by bringing along a good read as an incentive for change!

With time and God’s help, someday soon I hope to hear the words, “Wow, Mom, you’ve gotten better about being on time!”

Here's an idea: the next time you arrive at your destination a few minutes early, pull up the cfaith website on your smartphone and treat yourself by reading our featured daily devotion. A new one is posted every day, so you always have a good reason to come back!

You could also browse our list of multimedia content or other faith-building articles in our extensive online library. Our content is there to be a blessing to you; therefore, we pray that you take advantage of it as often as you can.

Have you ever considered supporting the ministry of cfaith? We need your one-time gift or
recurring monthly donation in order to finish the good work God begain through this ministry. (Phil 1:6)

Thank you for supporting cfaith. I pray that you are never late in experiencing His love for you!


Martha Hultgren
cfaith staff

Author Biography

Martha Hultgren
Web site: cfaith
Martha Hultgren is a wife, mom, traveler, writer, editor, and, most importantly, a follower of Jesus Christ. Martha worked as a content editor for Martha has three children and lives with her husband Rick and cat Diamond in Maple Grove, Minnesota.

About Us

The online ministry of cfaith has been helping people discover faith, friends and freedom in the Word since 2000. Cfaith provides a unique and comprehensive collection of faith-building resources for the worldwide faith community.

At cfaith, you can strengthen your faith and deepen your understanding of the Word of God by digging into the vast collection of teaching articles, streaming audio and video messages, and daily devotionals. No other website offers such a unique and extensive collection of spiritual-growth resources aimed at helping you grow in your knowledge of the Word.




Support Us

Why support cfaith?

(All contributions are 100% tax deductible)


For every Internet search you make using
goodsearch, cfaith will receive one penny!

GS Logo 250x38

Contact Us

Business Hours:

Monday—Friday: 9 a.m.—5 p.m. CST
Saturday & Sunday: Closed


(763) 488-7800 or (800) 748-8107

Mailing Address:
9201 75th Avenue North
Brooklyn Park, MN 55428


Login Form

Please ignore the “Secret Key” field; it is not needed to log in to cfaith.

Login Change Article

You need to enable user registration from User Manager/Options in the backend of Joomla before this module will activate.