I struggle with time; how to have enough of it, and to use it well. Deep down I know that God is giving me enough time to accomplish all that he wants me to do; and to do so in a loving and gracious way. So when I’m falling down on love and grace, I wonder; is there something I shouldn’t be doing? Should I be moving slower? And how do I free myself up to do that amidst a busy life?
I still haven’t answered these questions, but in recent months I have found some helpful words to ruminate on further and help me remember that time itself is a gift. Every minute God gives us is an amazing gift.
“The Benedictines insist there is a time in each day
for prayer, for work, for study, and for play.“
Isn’t it encouraging to find the word “play” included?
The passage prompts me to wonder about the role of a schedule to guide our hours. It is both a discipline and a freedom to have a schedule to follow I think. I have been scheduling my days and my work much more routinely this summer and when I stick to it life does run so much more smoothly. By planning ahead of time I keep focussed, and I don’t waste my my concentration working out what to do next, or worrying that I won’t get round to something else.
Micha also highlights that Saint Benedict mentions “hurrying” only twice in his rule. The monks are to hurry to the work of God (prayer) and they are to hurry to welcome the stranger, (not to anything else). A good schedule that brings freedom needs some margin in it to guard against a temptation or need to hurry.
Secondly, in Max Lucado’s A Love Worth Giving:
“Heaven has no months. Heaven has no time.
Or, perhaps better said, heaven has all the time.
It’s we who are running out.
Ours passes so quickly that we measure it by the second.“
This is a great reminder that we are only passing time here on earth, and should focus on storing up our treasures in heaven. We should not rush as we do this, but take time to do each thing well. This helps me to prioritise where I give my time when I have to make a choice.
In his book, Epiphanies of the Ordinary, Charlie Cleverly quotes Carol Arnott (The Purpose of Soaking in His Love, Spread the Fire summer 2001):
“There must be time for him, just to love him and have him love us, no other agendas, no lists of prayer requests. These may come later, but we need to put loving him first because only as we are filled with his love do we have love to give away.“
Even in our quiet time, we need to slow down and allow ourselves to do nothing, except be.
Especially in our quiet time, we need to slow down and do nothing except be.
The Bible has many references to time. A particularly well known one is in Ecclesiastes:
For everything there is a season,
and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
Sometimes there are seasons of particularly hard work; like the monks in the abbey at harvest time. But every week there is Sabbath refreshment, and later there will come a time for laughing or resting, perhaps by winter fires.
I would love to hear your thoughts. As you juggle daily the jobs of raising children, home-making, and working what have you learnt in this area, and what do you still struggle with?