God established the day and the night and placed the sun and moon in the sky to help us mark off this thing we call “time”. God gave the Israelites the Sabbath to mark off a week’s time and annual Feasts to help them regularly remember His miracles and sovereignty. God set time in motion…so why do we often feel like we are in a battle with time?
Out of sheer curiosity, I looked up the Greek “god”, Kronos. I was amazed at the brief description given: “the Titan god of time and the ages, especially time where regarded as destructive and all-devouring.”
That’s it! Time so often feels all-devouring and destructive…never enough of it to handle everything on our plates. (Check out the first post in this series: Picking My Priorities to see how we often pick up what God never meant for us.)
In a psalm of Moses, he says, “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Ps. 90:12) As of today, I have about 18,150 days until I’m 80 years old. Now, the women in my family have a tendency to live long lives well into their 90’s, and I’m not at all trying to predict when my time to pass through death’s door will occur…it may be tomorrow…it may be when I’m 108…there’s no way for me to know. But even just putting the number of potential time remaining for me into days gives me a fresh perspective. When today is over, a day ticks away. What did I do with today?
“Today” easily gets swept away in the tyranny of the urgent: the bill that MUST be paid today, the phone ringing that I just can’t stand to ignore, the onslaught of emails and Facebook updates I feel obligated to handle immediately…and so on.
But, gradually, I’m learning the lesson of choosing the great over the good. Of course there are things that are just the stuff of life we have to deal with. But in dealing with those things, we need to set up boundaries to keep those things from spilling over onto the time the great things require.
This is where it helps immensely to be tuned into God’s voice, sensitive to His leading and calling on your life! For example, if I know that in this season of my life, that homeschooling my kiddos and writing are His priorities for me, then I can be at peace in saying no to some good offers that come my way. I would absolutely love to volunteer here or there, but I know that even though I may have a desire to work on that good thing, it would steal time from the great things!
How are your great versus good things determined? What do you tend to choose? What are time-devourers for you?
The good news for me is that my God is the true God of time. We do not have to bow down to Kronos, to the tyrannical urgent! God is a Giver and not a destructive devourer. He gives me exactly what I need in time and resources to accomplish those great things He has set in my path, in His timing.
Steve proposed to me on the way up to Mount Evans in Colorado. The setting was breathtaking – surrounded by pine trees, with a touch of snow on the ground, and an amazing panoramic view of snow-capped mountains nearby.
We revisited this spot on our recent vacation. The trees were taller and some new campfire spots had emerged – and of course we had our kids in tow this time. After we spent time there taking about a million pictures, we took the road further up the mountain. The very top was closed due to snow, but we were able to climb (in our van, of course) up to 12,800 feet in elevation.
It’s a strange moment when you rise above the tree-line and what was once lush and thick and green becomes merely small, dry shrubs. The wind moves with greater ease and makes the temperature feels so much colder without the trees to block the air flow. Leaving the familiarity of life behind to enter a sacred, quiet place. It can also be pretty frightening climbing up, up the twisting road with the treacherous cliff just beyond the car window.
The desolation up there was simply beautiful
…away from the demands of life
…out of cell phone or internet range
…the nearest trees a thousand or so feet below
…seeing to every horizon, miles and miles away.
Right now, by contrast, I’m sitting in a cozy chair at a bookstore, overlooking the highway and parking lot at my “lofty” second-story window. There are trees below, but smaller and mostly intentionally planted by men. Electrical lines and street lights, bustling cars and semis, laptops and cell phones, music playing overhead…the solitude seems so distant.
What was so captivating about the beautiful desolation above the trees? What was it that stirred me? In the stillness, away from distractions and constant accessibility it was easier to listen. Rather than the surrounding whirlwind of noise and demands, a blanket of calm enveloped me. I could take a moment to simply be and rest in knowing that nothing else was required of me.
So now, since I’m aware that trekking up Mount Evans every day is simply not going to happen – living in Texas makes that a bit difficult – I wonder, how can I capture even a few moments of that beautiful desolation in the midst of my day? Where can I go away from the bustle and the expectations and noise? Where can I go and relax and simply listen? Because, quite honestly, I’m desperate for the important to rise up and for the urgent to fade away.
I haven’t got this one figured out…I’m still on my journey which will look different in a few months and a few years and a few decades.
Lord, thank You for providing Yourself as a place of rest and the Sabbath day as an appointed time of rest. Help me come to You in that place in time and see opportunities for little solitudes throughout the day.
“He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.” Psalm 107:29-30
Where do you discover solitude? When do you set aside distractions and the noisy onslaught to focus on resting in God’s presence?
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