As I glance over my daily schedule and calendar briefly before eating breakfast, deadlines seem to leap out at me. Every task has a deadline attached to it, whether it’s spelled out in front of me or not. Each one has a time for completion that makes me especially conscious of the ticking seconds and gives me that extra surge of motivation to check it off. It’s true: deadlines are essential helps with work—they’re tremendously useful for keeping us on task, keeping us aware of time, and focusing our priorities and energy. But they also have their own kind of sternness. Who hasn’t felt a twinge of anxiety in their chest when they look at a solid deadline looming menacingly on the horizon? They seem to work like a hard-lining personal trainer—relentless, focused, stern. We are all conscious of the daily, weekly, monthly, yearly deadlines that we face in work, school, projects, etc. But what about the deadlines that loom over us in a larger sense? We may not apply the term “deadline” to something like a child growing up, saying goodbye to a decade of your life, moving to a new home, or spending quality time with your spouse, but when you think about it, every part of our lives has an aspect of completion time. Sometimes the things that don’t seem as urgent are the activities that we should be more intentional about like connecting with God, spending meaningful moments with the kids, scheduling fun dates with your spouse, taking a calming walk in the forest, pondering where our world is headed. It’s important to have deadlines, but it’s equally important to take charge of the deadlines so they are truly beneficial for us instead of letting mundane deadlines run our lives. They’re useful only as long as they actually enhance our lives in a truly meaningful way—making us into the people God wants us to be. Ecclesiastes 3:1 highlights this when it says, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” And the Bible is pretty clear about what the overall purpose that covers all our everyday, smaller purposes is… “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:38, 39) Here’s a tidbit that I’ve gleaned over the years: We can stay on task by putting the everyday deadlines in our calendar, but we can also make sure in all our scheduling and deadline-setting that we don’t lose our handle on the big, over-arching purpose of all this scheduling—to help us become Christ-like disciples that can reach out to others with God’s love.