“I don’t have time.”
If you have ever met me, I’ve probably said this to you at least once (if not a hundred times).
I saw time as a taskmaster that stole precious moments. I never had enough, and what I did have was never used to its full potential. Everyone can relate to this. I crammed my days so full that I didn’t have time to breathe. I only had a short amount of time on earth, and I wanted to use it as best I could. But even though I accomplished so much, I was left empty and desperate for more.
We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. – Psalm 39:6
It’s only recently that I’ve come to realize how incredibly wrong I was. I want to share a quote with you from 1000 Gifts that changed my perspective on time.
“This day is not a sieve, losing time. With each passing minute, each passing year, there’s this deepening awareness that I am filling, gaining time. We stand on the brink of eternity. In Christ, don’t we have everlasting existence? Don’t Christians have all the time in eternity, life everlasting? If Christians run out of time – wouldn’t we lose our very own existence? If anyone should have time, isn’t it the Christ-followers?”
All those days I spent in a hurry, rushing to save time – I didn’t realize that instead of “saving time”, I was throwing it away. I rushed, scattered and harried, focused on that one thing (or multiple things) but shutting out the world around me. All in the name of being efficient with my time.
My senior year at Grove City College, I took a global business issues class. One of the readings we were assigned talked about how different cultures view time. Many Mediterranean cultures view time as linear – like the US – but instead of measuring it in equal minutes and hours like Americans, they measure it in how well-spent that time was. And if you were late for something? Well that’s OK, because you were obviously doing something important.
They see life as dessert – too brief to hurry. You have to slow down and savor every moment.
Time controlled my life and I didn’t even realize it. I didn’t pay attention to every moment and I didn’t take control of my time. I didn’t even realize there was any other way to do it. How are you supposed to control your time? The author of 1000 Gifts says, “I can slow the torrent by being all here. I only live the full life when I live fully in the moment.”
For much of college, I can’t tell you how many times I was still, thanked God for my time, and lived in the moment. I can’t tell you because it wasn’t many times.
Since this book is about recognizing the gifts we’ve received, and cultivating a spirit of thankfulness… you can guess how you’re supposed to gain time. That’s right – giving thanks for everything. Actively giving thanks forces you to slow down, to take that breath, to notice beauty, to receive grace.
“I redeem time from neglect and apathy and inattentiveness when I swell with thanks and weigh the moment down and it’s giving thanks to God for this moment that MULTIPLIES the moments, time made enough.”
Now as I sit on my couch in Lancaster writing this, I’m not praying for more time to accomplish the things I’d like to do. Instead, I’m asking God for just enough time to do what He needs me to do.