Where Did The Time Go?
When I was a child, I would hardly walk anywhere. I would skip, run, twirl, cartwheel, or roll, but hardly would I go from point A to point B by casually walking. I have no idea where I acquired all of that energy or where it went, but I chuckle when I look back on that time in my life. Now, as an adult, all of that physical energy has been wrangled and shoved to my head where it bumps and scrambles about, unable to be settled down except for the night. I have a love, hate relationship with this commotion. I love that it keeps me moving even when I’m sitting still, but I hate that it arrests me from tasks and projects I aim to complete. I’m sure some of you can relate. Consider this example: I walk into the kitchen to clear the counter and wash the dishes (the inevitable pinball game in my head begins). I remember that I should grab some more toilet paper for the upstairs bathroom before I forget again, so I go to the other room where the toilet paper is kept. On the way to get the toilet paper, I pass the clothes washer, which reminds me that I need to put the clothes from the washer into the dryer. I don’t want the clothes to wrinkle, so I go ahead and make the switch. At about that time, my phone buzzed, reminding me that I was waiting on a necessary response from a friend, so I went to the kitchen to check the phone that I had laid on the counter to begin clearing and washing dishes. It’s not a message from a friend but another reminder that I have an appointment in the morning. This distracts me for a moment, then I realize it is a little later than I thought, so I begin clearing the counter and resume my first task of washing the dishes. Later, someone (probably me) would be disappointed that the T.P. never got replenished. This is a little snip pit of a good day. On another day filled with similar setbacks, I finally threw out my tea and gave up on drinking the thrice-warmed cup after forgetting it twice in the microwave. It can be a daily challenge.
Why Do I Struggle?
It’s hard enough being wired this way, but living in an on-demand world hasn’t helped. This minute-by-minute fast-paced life we live has everything vying for our attention, leaving us divided, anxious, lonely, and exhausted. It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily grind that we forget we must stop and breathe. We forget that we should not only take care of ourselves physically but our mental and spiritual selves need attention too. It wasn’t long ago that we were forced to stop it all. We had no choice but to slow down and rest. Listen and be still. I look back on how things were in my life a couple of years ago and miss that extra time. The thing is, my life really didn’t change much as many others had. I changed the way I did things in a response to my environment. I think we get wedged into a particular way of thinking that we forget we can do things differently and it won’t end our worlds. I got up early to spend time in prayer and reading my Bible. That alone made a huge difference in my daily walk and perspective on life. I made sure that I spent time in silence to hear from the Lord. I often did, and I treasure His words. But, as it happens, I stopped getting up so early and pushed that quiet time to a little later in the morning, which has gotten shorter. I filled my quiet time with podcasts and t.v. shows. I started letting a day go here and there, maybe two, before picking it up again because there were “so many things to do.” I let the pinball game distract me from the most essential task. This has always been a challenge for me. Even as a child, He would remind me of the great importance of His kingdom and my part to play in it, even if I didn’t understand yet what that entailed. I was an intuitive child who was open to the spiritual realm at a very young age. I remember a poem the Lord gave me in a dream which I wrote on the inside cover of a Bop magazine.
As the night turned to dawn and slowly drifted into day, I stood still only to listen carefully to hear my Lord say, “Dear little one, is my work for you done yet?” I said No, Lord, for I have been doing other things besides your wonderful work. But, please, Lord, forgive me for I have disobeyed you. And my Lord said, “Yes, I will forgive you for I love you, and I always will.”
Even at that young age of eleven or twelve, I knew that there was a special connection there. I’ve always known there is more to life than what I can see. I’ve been brought back to that poem from time to time for a reminder. Not only to remind me that I have a purpose to fulfill in His kingdom but how patient, merciful, and loving, He is. How many years He has been waiting for me to be obedient to His will in my life. How many more years will He be patient with me and my distractions? When will I make good on my promise to do His work? I believe He is waking me up to make good on my promise all those years ago.
What Did I glean?
In the startup of my business, I recall spending a lot of time on the inner workings of the business and continuing renovating our home on the weekends and wondering how I managed to get all of those things done while spending more time with Jesus than I do now yet I have more “free” time now than I did then. I was considering this as I was mowing the lawn and praying. These are the times when I get to spend an extended amount of time with Him while I am doing repetitive work like digging out the basement, pulling weeds, or driving. As I am contemplating this, He reminds me again of the poem I shared above as I teared up. “Go write this down,” He said. Mind you, I am in the middle of mowing, and my flesh wants to finish before I do what He says. I hear within me, “leave it, it can wait. I am more important.” So I leave it and go inside to start this post. I am not sure when exactly I started to understand the importance of obedience, but I have been getting a lot of lessons in this lately. Preparations, I’m sure, for what He is bringing me into. So, here I am, still hopelessly devoted yet helplessly distracted and daily repentant, and I hope that anyone reading this will be comforted to know they aren’t the only one struggling to balance life and faith. Please know that you are still completely loved by our Heavenly Father through the struggle.
What I Now Know
I am learning that the more I make time for Jesus, the more He makes my paths straight, and when I give Him my “to do” list and lay the swirling head mess at His feet, He somehow slows time so that I can get what needs to get accomplished done. He will always provide for me and pave a way as long as I am in His will, and He will always love me unconditionally even when I continue to fight distractions. He stills my anxious thoughts and fills me with unspeakable joy. I know that even as a child, He was there encouraging me to stay steadfast in Him and the things that matter; His kingdom, not the things of this world. I will lay myself down daily, as His Word says, to do my part to bring about His kingdom. And when I stumble, I know He will lend His hand to steady my gaze once more. Knowing and doing can be challenging to marry, but I am diligent in the task of my attention being arrested by God and my motives to reflect obedience to a loving and merciful savior. This continues to be my prayer.