Time Crunch

Alarm is going off - alright it’s time to get up.
Noon? Already?! Well that’s impressive.
Since when did the sun start setting so early…wait, it’s that late?

Where in the world did my time go…

It’s kind of funny how a second today is truly the same length as a second yesterday or last year and yet, how often those seconds seem to pass at drastically different paces. We all have those days that seem to fly by in a moment’s notice just like we all have those days that simply seem to drag on and on.

Time is a complex topic.It’s a topic and an experience each one of us has, so naturally there are countless thoughts about “where” one should be in their life at a particular time and even how one should and maybe shouldn’t spend their time. So when the pathways of our lives don’t seem to fit those normal expectations of what can often feel like every other person on the planet, well, then what? How do you explain your present reality to curious, although friendly, acquaintances? You don’t have a full-time job? You’re not married? You’re not in a relationship? You’re not even sure if you want to be in a relationship right now? Hmmm.

You know, each and every day we are all blessed with the same 24 hours (or 1440 minutes) (or 86400 seconds) to spend. Yet, how those valuable hours/minutes/seconds are thought of and treated by each individual are often as different as summer and winter in Wisconsin (and if you don’t live here, I can promise you those are two VERY different things).

See...VERY different things.

See...VERY different things.

Why? Why do some treat the passage of time so casually while others view the ticking clock with anxiety as the present turns into the past? Why is time thought of as both a blessing (I get to spend more time with my grandparents) and a curse (I have to wait to find out the results of that test from the doctor)?

Time is a complex topic.

I struggle with patience. And waiting. It’s hard to “not know.” It’s hard to trust. But while I am certainly no expert, I think so much of contentment and satisfaction comes from perspective. Perspective. You know, that lens through which you view the life your living and why you do what you do.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.           -Psalm 90:12-

The prescription of my perspective lens has had a drastic revamp over the past few years. A revamp that has allowed me to question and seek what is truly important in the days I’m blessed to live on this earth. To evaluate the way I spend those precious seconds I’m given and the people I want to share them with.

I’m pretty convinced that time is one of the most underappreciated gifts God gives to us.  You really can’t put a price on time and there is a beautiful mystery in exactly how much any of us will receive in our earthly time savings account.

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.       -James 4:14-

No one knows what tomorrow will bring, but I do know exactly what my amazing God has brought me right now in this moment. He has brought me the opportunity to spend time with Him in HIS word, allowing me to strengthen my relationship with him before concerning myself with a temporary earthly relationship. He has brought me the ability to sit outside and enjoy the last few days of summer sun with a refreshing iced coffee. He has brought me so many remarkable (and often simultaneously challenging) experiences and lessons that have refined my perspective of life and love for which I will be forever grateful.

This time we have been given is a gift, no matter how stressful or anxiety ridden it can sometimes feel.
Spend a moment, an invaluable moment, to reflect on this time you’ve been given.
This time God allows you to choose how to spend in his magnificent creation.
This time to simply treasure and enjoy.
This time to glorify our great and loving creator.

Are you thriving? Got relationships?

Who is your go-to person? Who is that person that you want next to you in your darkest, most gut-wrenching hour? Go ahead, please picture the face of someone before you proceed…

Why did you choose this person? Chances are your answer had something to do with: loyalty, dependability, solid Christian guidance and counsel, trustworthiness, honesty, faithfulness.

I would also posit that the person you chose is someone you have known for a while. We typically don’t learn that someone is loyal, dependable, wise, trustworthy, honest, or faithful until we have been through some of the hills and valleys and battles of life with him or her.

Sociologist Brene Brown’s research suggests that the only way to build connection with someone is to spend time together. And over time we become vulnerable, and through these vulnerable experiences we learn that we can trust this person. Then we have an authentic, solid connection.

Authentic relationships with solid connections cannot be rushed…they take time to build.

In our sometimes busy, hectic world this can be challenging. We feel guilty if we take time to play a board game with family or friends on a Sunday afternoon when there is laundry to be done and dinner to be cooked. Who has time for a slow, meandering walk with a loved one? Let’s walk briskly, get our steps for the day in and then move on to the next item on our list. Relationships take time.

We are a self-sufficient, independent society. We are supposed to be able to float our own boat; we shouldn’t have to need anyone. And yet, that is not how God designed us. In his Master plan we are all one body with many parts, and those many parts are inter-dependent. Like it or not, we need each other, we were designed that way.

In our flawed sin-filled world those relationships we crave will be imperfect. People will let us down and we will certainly disappoint others. That’s when we can be vulnerable. We can say, “I’m sorry, please forgive me.” And similar to a broken bone that becomes stronger after it is healed, our relationships get stronger as they weather the storms and trials of life.

Some of the world’s happiest people devote significant time to relationships. The research on thriving repeatedly supports that people who are well and thriving have authentic relationships with others. 

I often reflect on my time in poorly developed, third world countries. I am in absolute awe at the happiness and contentment of people who have so little. Most often these very happy people who have so few material possessions or comforts of life are overflowing in relationships. They have faith, family, and friends.

If relationships only grow and get stronger as we spend time with people and learn to trust them through our vulnerabilities, this same truth exists when we consider our relationship with our Heavenly Father. We can’t rush this relationship, either. It will fail to thrive and grow stronger if we don’t spend time on it. In this relationship we can be vulnerable, confess our sins, and trust that a loving God has already forgiven and forgotten. We need this assurance every day, not once a week, or twice a year.

Over the next month, I encourage you to find five minutes in your day when you can tune out the busyness of the world, snuggle up in your Heavenly Father’s lap with “The Good Book”, and just read. Read the message he wants to share with you and His world. I suspect you will find it difficult to stop after five minutes and you will long for more time to spend nurturing your most vital relationship.