Time?! Time is limited. Sometimes the hours seem to race by or slip through our fingers... and we scramble to hold on. Other days the minutes drag by when we are plodding through a task that we do not like, waiting for something we want, or enduring hard things. Time is a valuable resource, and our schedules reflect our choices.
Do you ever look at your calendar for the coming week and feel joy or dread stir? Notice what you choose to schedule and notice those things on your calendar that you diligently protect. Some of our commitments are named and some are not named. Perhaps it is the doctor's appointment that you made 6 months ago, the family event, the kid’s activities, Sunday church services, date night, or a ministry event. Perhaps you will work through illness, but vacation is sacred. Or the reverse is true. Notice what feels essential, urgent even.
Our unnamed commitments are revealed when we notice what we are unwilling to shift in our schedule. Those commitments can be influenced more by expectations of others or fear of what others may think of me. But when fear or expectations drive me I am not living according to my values... and I am not living by faith in God.
If I pay attention I can choose to align more fully with my values. Our culture values external realities: productivity, activity, and experiences. But there are many internal realities and relationships influenced by my use of time.
What shapes my perspective of time and my schedule? What do I value and are those values shaping my decisions? Do I ask God what is most important in this season; what relationships and tasks should rise to the top of my priority list?
Thomas Keating states, "Growth in faith is growth in the right perception of all reality" (Intimacy with God). When I open my calendar with God can I discern what choices are driven by fear and where the voice of God is drawing me to deeper faith? As I continue to discern what is needed in my own life I am aware that I long to live life by faith intentionally aligning with God's leading. Thus I cannot be thoughtless, I need to pay attention. Sometimes trust is the invitation, and courage is needed. Sometimes diligence is needed, and I lean into God for strength and endurance. Sometimes sacrifice is the invitation, and I lay down my own preferences for the sake of another.
Time. It is a gift. What if we thought of time as a resource that we can steward well, like money. Can we tithe our time, give generously of our time, be wise with our time. It is easy to feel like there is not enough of a resource, but what if our perspective was gratitude rather than scarcity guided by trust in the Giver of all good things. Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us that there is a time for everything.
For what purpose is time given to us in this moment? Discernment is needed, so I ask God for his perspective and his lens.