Today most of us will change our clocks to mark a new season, a new way to approach time as the sun shifts southward and temperatures rise.Maybe now is a good time to reflect on time, our approach to it, and our stress and anxiety as we interact with it.
- Am I hurried?
- Am I impatient?
- Do I feel stress and anxiety as I run from place to place?
- Do I have time for people over tasks?
- As a follower of Jesus, is this how life was meant to be?
- Is it possible that I treat time from a scarcity mindset, when in reality I have an unlimited supply (abundance)?
How can I evaluate the value systems with which I live my life? How can I know if I am, even as a christian, living through the grid of a secular humanist value-system as if God does not exist, even as I claim Christ and transcendence?
One way is to examine whether or not I am living with a scarcity mindset concerning things that, as a christian, I have an infinite supply of. A scarcity mindset sees a very limited amount of something, and leads to hoarding. An abundance mindset sees an unlimited amount of something, and leads to sharing. How do I approach my time? Is it limited or unlimited? How do I approach time? Do I hoard it, acting as if it will run out soon (impatience, hurry), or do I share it?
Here is the issue: I may say that I will live forever, but my actions and emotions scream otherwise.
“If there is no transcendence, there is no eternity. And, if there is no eternity, then chronological time is all that is left to us.” Time, then, becomes a commodity. There is an urge to quantify and control it, in order to achieve something in the limited span that we have at our disposal.” – J. Andrew Kirk
If, however, there is transcendence, then there is eternity. And, if there is eternity, then in a certain sense we are not bound by chronological time. Time, then, is in unlimited supply. There is no urge to quantify and control it. In order to achieve something, I now have an unlimited span at my disposal.
Just think about that. If I have an unlimited span at my disposal, then I no longer have need of cheap shortcuts. I can work hard, but without the stress. I can run fast, but not feel rushed.
“Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” – Dallas Willard, Soul Keeping
Dallas is not saying that I do not work hard or fast. What he does mean is that my soul is at peace. I know that the particular deadline I am facing is not the end-all. My success or failure at my current task does not add to nor diminish the amount of time I have access to. Whether I succeed or fail, the amount of time I have access to is still unlimited. This frees my soul.
- I can choose to forego a task in order to invest in a person.
- I can leave my cell phone in the car.
- I can welcome people when they “interrupt” me in my office.
- I can smile and hug my kids when they get home from school.
- No more yelling (or flipping people off?) who only drive the speed-limit, because my daughter is late to her ballet practice.
“As I sipped my iced tea at that first meeting, Dallas asked me about my family and my work. The phone rang-this was before cell phones and answering machines-and he did not answer it. He didn’t even look as if he wanted to answer it. He just went on talking with me as if there were no phone ringing, as if he actually wanted to talk with me more than to answer the telephone, even though it might be someone important. I had the odd sensation (I have talked to many others since then who have noticed the same thing) of having my own heart rate begin to slow down to match his.” – John Ortberg, Soul Keeping
Breathe. Deeply. What is begun, can be completed. There is enough time. There is transcendence. One day, as a christian, I will breathe deeply on the new earth. I’ll chuckle at my impatience in my younger years, back when I was only a few decades old. A mere pup.
But for those who follow Jesus, this does not mean I am not productive, that I do not push hard to fight against injustice, to establish good systems and projects, to accomplish dreams.
“Your eternal destiny is not cosmic retirement; it is to be part of a tremendously creative project, under unimaginably splendid leadership, on an inconceivably vast scale, with ever-increasing cycles of fruitfulness and enjoyment–that is the prophetic vision which ‘eye has not seen and ear has not heard.” – Dallas Willard, Soul Keeping
Hurry and impatience? They just disappeared. Patience is drawn out, limitless.
Stress and anxiety decline dramatically.
I can work hard. I can move quickly. I can fight the odds. But the hurry has disappeared. My love for people has room to and grow and flourish in ways I couldn’t even imagine before.