A friend of mine asked me last night what I’ve been learning about time. He asked because he said he has had a less stressed out week this last week because he made a decision to be less concerned with time, and more focused on the task at hand, and the people he was with. Basically, he has been practicing presence, and looking at his watch less often!
Many of us tend to get caught up in, or weighed down by time. We have incredible anxiety about the future that keeps us from giving our full attention to what we are DOING RIGHT NOW. This is a stressful, even unhealthy, way to live, but most of us live this way anyway.
My wife and my two teenage daughters take a lot longer to get ready to go out than I do. Somewhere along the way I had to decide that I wasn’t going to let the time that I spent waiting for them stress me out. I can’t even tell you how I did it. Maybe it was simply a gift of patience from God, but whatever it was, it was a great stress reliever for everyone concerned.
Jesus encouraged us not to worry. He said look at the birds, and look at the lilies of the field; they don’t strive, or get stressed out, and yet God takes care of them. He goes on to say that if we seek him first all then other stuff will be taken care of. For Jesus, faith and anxiety don’t mix.* I encourage you to go outside and actually watch the birds, or stare at a flower or a tree for a while. See what insights you come up with.
Around 300 years ago, Francis Fenelon said,
“Make a habit of bringing your attention back to God on a regular basis…and you will undoubtedly find him with peace and joy.”**For me, this is the key to overcoming my anxiety about time. When I find myself getting stressed out, it’s a sign, or an invitation even, to bring my attention back to God. If I do this often enough, the peace of Christ will rule my heart (Col. 3).
None of this means that we don’t put in a good hard day’s work. It speaks to the “how” of everyday life. My friend that I mentioned above had a very productive week, he just did it differently. By being less concerned with time he did what he had to do with a lot more inner peace.
Learning to pray: TRUSTING GOD is a huge issue for many of us, and can go very deep, even to the core of who we are, and what we believe about God. What is keeping you from trusting God with your time and your future?
*”Everything Belongs” by Richard Rohr
** “100 Days in the Secret Place,” compiled by Gene Edwards