Time. It’s a gift. And it’s not guaranteed.
I’m always so surprised when I schedule things out two weeks or a month away and usually find myself saying, “How can it be April already?” It’s always so bittersweet when I look at pictures from years ago and wonder, “Where did those sweet little boys go?” As a mom, many of my days fly by, leaving me wondering how it’s already bedtime and I still haven’t completed my to-do list. And then there are the tragic accidents when lives end way too short and we think about the time we had with them and the time that’s been lost.
About a year ago, my husband and I started to look at the way we were using our time. Where our moments were going, who our hours were given to, and how many were left at the end of all that. It was convicting to see how much of our time was spent on ‘us.’ Our family doing what we love, activities for our kids, hours given to our work, hours spent in front of a tv – whether together as a family or individually – watching what we want.
Our weeknights were mostly full and many weekends filled with activities – none of which were bad or evil. And so if our concern was using our time with good, healthy activities, we might have been ok. But for us, our concern was different. The Spirit of the Lord kept bringing needs to our attention. People and families were being brought into our lives who needed help with their marriage, loneliness, spiritual insight, help with practical daily tasks and encouragement. They were all needs that would minister and build relationships, which could then make disciples of Jesus Christ. They were all needs that required our time.
And when our schedule (that we created) required us to turn others away when coming for help …
Things. Had. To. Change.
We decided to slow things down, which is hard to do in a very fast-paced world. Our culture tries to trick us into believing that we have to live life at a certain pace. Or that we are somehow missing out if we don’t go to this event or enroll in that activity. But Jesus – the One who has overcome this world – left us with a very clear command; to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
So in an effort to follow His command and slow down, we cleared our calendar.
We said “no” when we were tempted.
We didn’t look at all the available opportunities.
We didn’t listen to the comments of others who wondered why.
We just chose to wait.
We believed that if we cleared our calendar to honor the Lord’s time that He would fill it with what He wanted. And He has.
This week I am able to eat lunch with a wonderful woman who is still deeply grieving the loss of her daughter (and my friend) after a sudden accident last year. I asked her how I could help (I offered a meal, do her grocery shopping, etc.) but she wanted … time. Just time to talk and have someone listen.
We are watching our friends’ little kids one night a week, so that a struggling marriage can have the gift of … time; away from kids, to walk through a marriage study and reconnect.
We have had neighbors suddenly need help getting to the ER and others who need a place to stay for a night. There are days when parents need help taking / picking up kids from school. There are stories each week, needs that knock on our door, opportunities to live life with people and it’s such a joy to be able to say “yes.”
Proverbs 16:9 says, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”
To give our lives to Christ means to let go of controlling and planning every part of our lives. God can move differently when there are moments to move. When there is space to come, He shows us His presence in powerful, unexpected ways. I hope that you are able to evaluate your time today and consider making a change. It is a powerful witness to this world when we choose to live life at a different pace.
And as you step into that ‘different pace,’ may you receive His peace that comes in and watch His joy flow out!