We live in a rat race of a world. The work is never done. At least mine isn’t. There’s always a dozen more things that could be tackled. The refrigerator contains the one sole loaf of bread in the house, which strongly hints that I have another thing on my to-do list. Right in the middle of planning when to do that I remember about the FB messages from over a month ago that have never been responded to. Or the fact I haven’t practiced piano for three times that long. A look in the ironing basket brings another reminder of yet one more thing to add to the list. And don’t even mention catching up on sitting down and going over income and expenditure. Having spent less than two weeks at home in the last two months doesn’t help, but truth be known, as soon as all those tasks were done I’d realize there were a dozen more. I could go on and on, but I’ll spare you because you probably have a dozen things on your to-do list too.
Yeah, we’re all busy like that. Sometimes it feels like it would take a lifetime to finish even the most basic of tasks.
But is that really what a lifetime is for?
Honestly, I think we would never finish all the work even if we had a dozen lifetimes. And though I by no means believe in shirking responsibility, neither do I believe in living in bondage to a list of tasks unaccomplished.
Somehow we have the idea that each day is a space of time to be used to get tasks done. So often my prayers in family morning worship echo my deep down idea of the day… “help us to accomplish all the things that need to be done.”
Wait a minute. When did life ever start to be all about accomplishing and not about enjoying? How is it so easy for me to spend the day running from one task to another and never take a moment to stop and just enjoy being alive?
It’s not like it’s a new revelation. I’ve been here before. But somehow the rat race carries me away and before I know it I’m living one day to the next thinking that I can’t consciously enjoy life until my work is done. Somehow it always seems like that moment of being able to just enjoy life for the gift it is is around the next corner. When we’re home I think I’ll have more time when we’re traveling and the minute we leave home I realize I actually had more time before.
The truth is, that moment that we think is coming around the corner will never come unless we choose to make it happen right now. Even if we were to stumble across a day where we had no work to do, we wouldn’t know how to cherish those moments.
One of my favorite quotes puts it so clearly… “Life is not an emergency. Life is a gift.”
*And another quote from the blog of the same author says simply… "A well-known pastor— he was was once asked what was his most profound regret in life? 'Being in a hurry.' That is what he said. 'Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I’ve ever gained from being in a hurry… But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing.… Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away.’”
Truth is, life is meant to be lived not rushed. Simple I know… but not quite so easy to put into action.
There’s no better way to start than to take time to just come aside and enjoy being with Jesus. Not coming to Him with all the things I think He needs to give me. Not like a customer. But as His friend. Purely for the joy of being in His presence.
And so I take quiet hours in the middle of my day to let Him restore my soul. All the journaling I wanted to do but pushed aside because I didn’t think I had time… all those quotes I wanted to read… all those old Spurgeon sermons I’ve been wishing I had time to peruse… all those gifts I wanted to count but thought I had more important things to do… yeah, all of that. I’m catching up on that.
Maybe it’s more important to catch up on all those things that really refresh our hearts than to be forever worried about catching up on those school classes that can really wait a few hours… it’s not that they aren’t important. But sometimes the things we most neglect are the things we need most.
What if He can’t restore our souls until we are still long enough to let Him touch us? After all, the man with leprosy didn’t jerk away and say he had an important appointment before Jesus could touch and heal Him. So really, why do we?
After all, how much can we accomplish at our “appointments” when we are being destroyed by the leprosy of busyness? Perhaps what we really need is to be still and let Him catch us up in His embrace until He becomes more real than all the things that distract us.
Because what if it’s only then that we begin to really live?
*quotes from Ann Voskamp
Sometimes I wonder when we transitioned from the carefreeness of childhood to the rushed and hurried lives we live as teens and adults. It seems like every year we get busier... we say we have more to get done, and yet somehow we're always still behind.
For years I'd been one of the people who had an everlasting "to do" list, or so it felt. I had high aspirations of what I wanted to get done, and when I wanted it done by. When I was in grade school that meant I was always trying to see how soon I could have the school year done. I even remember writing myself out a whole schedule of how I was going to get 7th grade done in four months. But for some reason, I always felt behind. I could never get it all done... and often, that really frustrated me.
And then, last year I found myself too sick to do anything for months on end. All my "to do" lists had to be laid down. And now, on the other side of my illness, I found my incessant drive to get to that "to do" list a little dampened. At first I worried that I was loosing my ambition. I'm now realizing that God had a lot more in mind.
I mean, when did we stop seeing life as a journey and start thinking it was a race to see who can get to the end first?
When did we stop recognizing the treasure of now?
And more importantly, how did our "to do" lists become so important that we feel too busy to give God our best?
I've told myself the lie a million times... "I don't have time."
But then, when was the last time you heard a little child complaining of a lack of time? And don't we have the same twenty four hours as them?
Maybe it's a matter of priorities. Of not being so controlled by that "to do" list. Maybe it's about figuring out what really matters.
Because really, we only have one life to live. And I don't want to spend it constantly rushing to the next thing.
I think we all intuitively know that God should be the very top of our priority list... But how many of us really live like He is?
As one of my favorite quotes states...
" God gave us time. And who has time for God? Which makes no sense."
If my God is the one I think He is... the One who breathes out stars... who speaks mountains into existence... how can I think that He will fit into the tiny spaces of my day that I squeeze out for Him? How can it do Him justice?
And how can I think that I will know His presence when all I give Him is a fleeting thought here and there?
So yeah, I've started seeing time in a new way. The work will never go away, but this moment will.
Not to say that the work is not important... but to say that God in this moment is more important than the work will ever be.
Maybe true ambition is not how much I can get done in this little life, but how much of God's presence I can recognize... how much of the almighty God I can know.
So I'll stop to see the sunrise... to head for the woods in the crisp morning air to tell Him good morning ... to pause for a lingering look at the bouquet of flowers in the kitchen... to write a line or two in my journal of gratitude for a God who's always there...
Because I can have as much of Him or as little of Him as I choose.
There is no limit.
Sidenote... I'm taking a plunge in this whole perspective of time and will be making time to update my blog far more regularly. So keep an eye out for much more frequent posts. :)
*Photo credit-- Hannah Rayne
20. Lover of Jesus. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Servant. Fan of the kitchen. Graduate of Masters of Biblical Counseling.
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