Looking out the window I smile as the snow gently covers the beautiful pine trees that line my backyard.
I smile because of its radiance but also because it serves as an excuse for me to stay in my pajamas all day and go nowhere.
It seems to take something unforeseen and perhaps even out of our control for me to stop and just do nothing. Throughout the history of time, I can't recall a generation that sought to accomplish more within the very same 24 hour period than our current one.
Although the quality of what they accomplished in times gone by may have been greater could the same be said of the quantity?
With the innumerable amount of gadgets designed to help us keep our busy lives scheduled, organized and on track, at the end of the day, do you feel like you've really accomplished anything? Our bodies are overworked, overextended, exhausted and incapable of handling all the demands that are placed upon them.
These demands come in various forms and in various ways. Some of them are outside of our control while others remain within our ability to control. Someone recently shared a thought with me that I've continued to chew on, so to speak, since that time.
"If you were to write down at day's end, all the things you did that day, I would be able to see exactly what is important to you."
What would our list look like? For most of us our jobs, occupy a significant portion of our time. As a homemaker, contrary to the belief of one of the twins, I do work.
Last week I inquired about a sad look upon Joshua's face. He went on to state, "Mommy, when I grow up I don't want to go to work. I want to stay home and do nothing, like you!"
Then, there are those moments in the span of our 24 hour day that are free. I know of so many families where even their "free" times are so scheduled with this activity and that activity leaving little if any time for rest. Have you ever been out to a nice dinner with your family and looked around at the tables next to you? I have and what I see deeply grieves my heart. The children have their heads down and their fingers glued to their phones. To my astonishment so many times the parents do too. When I go to the grocery store I see many of the young people with their media players on, headphones in and they are usually unfriendly. Even in times of supposed rest (and yes, any mother of young children will attest that a trip alone to the grocery store is rest) we drown our minds with stuff.
To what end?
My list indeed reveals what I love, what I value and what really matters to me. Is quiet time with God on the list? Is quality time with my children on this list? A conversation with my spouse? A visit to my parents, in-laws, my neighbor or a sick friend? How many things on my list gratify myself? How many seek the good of others? How much time is spent watching television or playing a video game? On the phone, on the computer or on the tablet?
I fall so short.
Can this four letter word, love, be used interchangeably with another four letter word - time?
What we love we give our time.
If you know my story, you know my heart is the one thing I never actually gave God or anyone else for that matter. How then do I make absolutely certain that I am doing that?
How can you really know someone you never spend time with and how can they know you? As a recovering Pharisee I am cautious when others say, "God" said this or "God" said that. I said that countless times in my 32 years of hypocrisy when the truth was one of following two scenarios.
Either I asked God and never waited on His reply or, I never asked Him in the first place.
Scripture instructs us in Ephesians 5:15,16 to "see then that we walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil."
The word redeem in its Greek origin means to buy up, ransom or to rescue. To rescue means:
to free from confinement, danger or evil : save, deliver, to take (as a prisoner) forcibly from legal custody to recover (as a prize) by force to deliver by force or arms
As I read this I see the clear implication that time will not redeem itself. It does not happen automatically, it must be taken by force. That means we have to do something to take control of the time we have been given. Of one thing we can all be certain, time will pass and like a vapor we will be gone. Ask a mother whose children have left home and she will be very fast to tell you how quickly time passes. Once passed it cannot be returned no matter how badly our hearts may ache for it too.
When I think of time I think of Psalm 46:10.
"Be still and know that I am God."
I never really knew God because I was never still enough to get to know Him. I allowed everything else in my life to take precedence. Sadly, the same could be said of those in my own family. I didn't give those whom I professed to love, the time it took to really love them.
The same God who created the world, who perfectly fashioned our bodies and who strategically placed our solar system gave us all the same 24 hours in a day. Apparently that is enough. The problem isn't how much time we have in a day but what we do with it.
Teach us Lord, I humbly pray how we may redeem our time and be a living example to future generations of what really matters.