Sunday, 9 March 2014

The funny thing about time

Colossians 4:5 ESV - Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.

Time. It’s too much or it’s too little. We wish we could move forward or backward or just stand still. We complain that it’s going too quickly or we’re bored and wish it would speed up. But no matter what, we never seem to have enough of it.

Speaking to a friend about our lives the other day and how busy we are, she asked a very true thing. How do we make ourselves less busy? In today’s age, we are surrounded by distractions: work, friends, sport, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Imgur, Reddit, Google +, LinkedIn...take a breath. Our phones are an extension to our bodies and there is just so much to do that time seems to pass us by without us even noticing. And I wonder why I struggle to fit in my quiet time. Am I the only one?

In the morning I’m too tired to set my alarm that 30 minutes early and in the evenings I fall asleep mid prayer. How is that okay? How is it okay that I can justify cutting time on the most important part of my life just so I can fit in 30 minutes of other worldly stuff? Because that’s really what it’s about: Sorry God, Facebook is just too interesting for me to spend some more time with You. Or I can’t switch that TV off before I’ve watched my favourite show and so now I’m too tired for what really matters. If I sound harsh it’s only because I’m trying to get harsh with myself – the time for excuses is over.

My day is noticeably better when I start it off with some time with my Maker. His word plays in my head all day and I feel focused and connected. But it isn’t just in my quiet time that I feel I need better time management. It’s everything. God has placed things in our hands for a reason; He has entrusted us with parts of His Kingdom building and too often we get too busy worrying about how we could possibly accomplish this or that or we allow ourselves to be distracted by the ‘easy’ options available to us (like browsing through a Twitter feed for that spare 20 minutes rather than use it productively). And so we sit there, complaining that we do not have enough time but not making the most of the time we do have.

I often think about what I could get done if I just removed all the distractions from my life. Wouldn’t that be grand? I took a break from Facebook for a month last year as I felt God leading me to, and it really made a difference in how I spent my time. I’m not suggesting we need to delete Facebook and throw our phones away; it will be impossible to separate ourselves from all distractions and temptations. What I am saying is we need to learn to manage our time better for the sake of Christ and what we’re called to do.

Over and above the work aspect, there’s the time we put aside for our relationships too. How often are you with a friend or loved one and are sharing their attention with their phone? I know I’m guilty of doing this even though nothing irritates me more that trying to have a conversation with someone who is so distracted by whatever Sepia picture has made its way onto Instagram. I love these apps, I use them. But we really need to stop letting them get in the way of us having meaningful conversation. We are here for such a fleeting moment; our life is literally a short breath compared to eternity. And I know time aint going to matter in heaven but shouldn’t we be making the most of our time with people here; loving them and showing them Jesus’ endless love for us? Put the TV remote and phone down, friends. Give others some of your undivided attention.

Our time is God’s time. If we think like that, how would we spend it? Make sure that God gets a good chunk of your day because in the end, that’s what will help you be successful and fulfilled. Not checking that newsfeed or updating what you had for lunch today. This is what I’m challenging myself to do – will you join me?

Psalm 39:4-5 ESV - O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah

Let go and let God.


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