Take Time to Be [Insert Your Aspiration Here…]

Recently, I wrote about making certain parts of my life sacred. You can read that here. As I was pondering that topic at a Saturday evening church meeting with my wife, the local choir stood to sing the hymn “Take Time to Be Holy” by William D. Longstaff. The lyrics of that hymn really struck a chord with me (did you catch the dad joke?) and I wanted to share with you my thoughts. You can listen to the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square sing this hymn in the video below, and read along with the lyrics.

Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, performing “Take Time to be Holy” by William D. Longstaff.

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

Lyrics: Longstaff, William D. (1882).
Music: Stebbins, George C. (1890).

Too often in life, we get so busy just being busy. We don’t really accomplish much of anything that way and when I find myself in a rut, 99.999% of the time it is because I am too busy. I love the overall message of this hymn to “take time to be.” I pulled a few of the main phrases from the hymn that really hit home for me.

Speak oft with thy Lord

Taking time to communicate with Deity has had a profound effect on my life. However, my prayers are less about me on my knees, thanking God for blessings and petitioning Him for more. Rather, as I have learned and experienced more in my life, my prayers have become more meditative, where I spend time reflecting on my blessings and feeling grateful for them; where I focus on my needs and desires and feel them in my bones. Some of the most powerful experiences I have had with meditation and prayer have been as I focus on Jesus Christ and his infinite, atoning sacrifice and feel the impact it has had in my life to guide and direct the choices I make.

Feed on His word

Study is such an important part of life! I love how Robin Sharma is always encouraging people to become world-class at what they do, and to become world-class you have to continuously improve! What better way to do that than to always be reading from the best books, especially those books associated with your craft. Reading has become a passion of mine – reading everything from scripture to self-improvement to philosophy to good parenting to history to the occasional high fantasy series. When we seek learning from the best books, we grow ourselves into (as Sharma puts it) “genuine masters of [our] craft.”

The world rushes on; Spend much time in secret…

When I make the time to spend with the Savior and striving to become like Him, I find that my light shines brighter. I want my children to be examples in the world; to be leaders, innovators, and successful humans. If I am unwilling to put in the work to become that myself, how I can expect my children to listen to what I have to say?

I spent a lot of time in the early hours of the morning, striving to become my best self. I exercise, pray and meditate, journal and study. I read from the best books, expand my skill sets, and strive to be the best husband, father, and human-being I possibly can be. With all the activities and events my kids are involved in, the only time I have available to “take time to be” is those early hours. I am always amazed at how good I feel when I look back on what I accomplished in the morning before anyone else was awake!

Take time to be holy

As I sat in that Saturday evening meeting, I was pondering a lot about making parts of my life sacred, like my morning routine, study time, family time, etc. So sacred, in fact, that nothing is allowed to take their place. It doesn’t serve me or anyone else to rearrange my sacred routines to make room for the other stuff; rather, I now rearrange the other stuff to leave my sacred routines alone.

It is all about making the time and making that time sacred. Make it holy!

What are some areas in your life that you have had to make time for? What have you made holy or sacred in your life? What phrases from the hymn strum at your own heartstrings? Please let me know in the comments!

Jonathan Haws

I am a devoted family man and enjoy going on adventures with my wife and four children. My deepest desire is to be the best husband, father, and friend I can be by inspiring a love for life, a connection with nature, and a willingness to let God prevail.

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