Time-that elusive thing that makes us feel as though we have plenty of it and then slips right through our fingers. Time-one of the most calculated, monitored, and powerful resources that gives us the same number of seconds each day but then suddenly runs out with almost no warning. Today’s entry in Jesus Calling (May 30), says “Time with Me cannot be rushed….Push back the demands pressing in on you; create a safe space around you, a haven in which you can rest with Me. I also desire this time of focused attention and I used it to bless you, strengthening and equipping you for the day ahead. Thus, spending time with Me is a wise investment…”
I personally have a love/hate relationship with time. As a wife, mom, and business owner, I find myself very hard-pressed to find the time to do almost anything. Most of my time is spent changing diapers, answering phone calls, and attempting to get a few items checked off on my endless to-do list. There never seems to be any spare time in the day to take care of myself (exercise, cook healthy food, etc) much less any time to take care of myself spiritually. There are many days I find myself asking, Okay Lord, how exactly am I supposed to do this? I’ve tried pushing back the demands of a screaming toddler, turning the ringer off on my phone and hiding my to-do list, but the safe space doesn’t seem to show up. I’m still wondering what my child is getting into or what makes her come to my door and scream like a scary monster has come out from under her bed (it’s usually that she changed the channel on the TV and she can’t see Moana) or how many business calls I’m missing that could have meant money for me to pay my bills and put food on the table, and I actually have my to-do list memorized, so even though I can’t see it physically, it’s still there. Yes I know that was an extreme run-on sentence, but that’s how it feels in my mind: a never ending train wreck of things needing my attention. So, how do I make more time for the Lord? Yes, I know the usual responses: get up earlier, watch less TV, stay off of Facebook, etc. and yes those are things I could do, but I don’t get enough sleep as it is, and the TV and Facebook don’t require me to work mentally (which sometimes it feels like I have to do in my time with the Lord). What if even when I do sacrifice my sleep and screen time, I don’t feel strengthened or equipped for the day ahead? Am I doing the wrong thing in my time with the Lord, or am I putting too much pressure on myself?
I’ve discovered that the answer is neither. The answer for me is actually that I have forgotten who God is and what that time with Him is supposed to be for. God for a long time was an item on my to-do list-a mandatory time constraint that I often rushed through to get on to the other things in my life. I have a bad habit of compartmentalizing God-I know that the Bible says He’s always with Me, but I tend to treat Him as though He is only present when I open my Bible. I believe God would rather have me ask Him for help in dealing with my screaming toddler, the right words to say when answering the phone, and guidance on sorting my to-do-list by importance level than he would enjoy hiding in my closet with me as I fall asleep with my Bible for a pillow. The focusing of my attention should not be so much a “forget everything else in the world and only look at me” thing (maybe I can do this more when my kids are older), but a “focus your attention on the fact that I’m right here with you, and we are going to walk through this chaos together” kind of thing. Acknowledgment. Believing He is with me, without Physically seeing Him. Saying thank-you when something good actually happens. These can be a sacrifice of precious time as well….let me know your thoughts on this and what you’ve done to make your time with God work for you!