(This is a reposting of a Facebook Note from November 1, 2009)

WP broken clock

Where I work I spend most of my time in two rooms, the kitchen and dining room. They are open to each other. In those two rooms there are four clocks. Should I venture into either bathroom there’s a clock there, too. I never have to wonder or worry about what time it is.

Time. When we think about it we wonder what time it is. We wonder if we’re late or early. How much time do we have? What do we do with our time? We’re accused of wasting time, marking time, stretching time, and watching time fly by.

I used to rush through my days. I was proud of how much I could cram into a day. More was always better and therefore, resulted in a better me. When I gave up sleep to focus on saving the world (or at least my little corner), I made some of the stupidest and most dangerous decisions, decisions that nearly cost me everything, including my life. I finally came to the conclusion that there is a reason that God rested and a reason that he commands it of us, as well.

This morning was the time to change our clocks. It was time to “fall back.” While others were relishing an extra hour of sleep, I was awake and at my computer. I was reveling in the quiet. All I could hear was the rhythm of the clocks ticking around me. Now maybe if I only had that to listen to 24/7, it would become tortuous, but sitting here this morning, it was a Centering Symphony.

I was up “early” because someone imposed a time change on me. Isn’t that just how life seems to go? We grouse and complain because our time is not our own. Someone always seems to be demanding our time.

Recently, I was a t a retreat where the leaders took the watches and phones of the participants. The surrender was to free those attending from the tyranny of time. The thinking was/is to let the staff “worry” about time and schedule. Good as it was, the staff always had someplace for the participants to go or something for them to do, so there was no sense of “free time.”

Compare that to the experience of our house guest. We have a couple unoccupied rooms in our home, so we opened our space to a pastor friend who was between jobs with no place to stay. The first couple weeks she was with us, all she did was sleep, eat, and watch TV. Our interactions were minimal. Slowly, opportunities and necessities began to reenter her life and she began to go out with friends and go to some meetings. One day she came through the living room where I was reading. She sat and we chatted for a while. At the end of our talking, she shared how much she appreciated the opportunity to just be there with no expectations, just able to rest. It was the refreshing that she needed at every level of her being: heart, mind, soul, and strength.

In the great Shepherd Psalm (Psalm 23), we find so much of the care provided to and for us. One of the things we may overlook is that he who knows us and our needs makes us lie down. Thinking of this reminded me of my grandson. I can always tell when Asher needs a nap. Some days so can he. Don’t make the Shepherd bop you on the head with his crook to get you to rest. We were not created to go 24/7.

One day as Jesus was ministering, he looked out at the crowd and was moved to compassion when he saw how weary and out of synch they were. He offered them rest, to restore their rhythm. To receive this gift they needed to come to him and learn from him. Don’t you think it’s time to listen, to learn, to rest?

Too Busy

Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
    Remind me that my days are numbered—
    how fleeting my life is.
You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
    My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
    at best, each of us is but a breath.” Interlude

We are merely moving shadows,
    and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. Psalm 39:4-6

On the way to work the other morning, I was running behind. Technically, I wasn’t late, but I sure felt rushed.

Too rushed.

WP school crossing

When I got to the school crossing I nearly blew through it. At the very last second I saw the crossing guard’s car door open. I glanced across the street and saw three elementary aged children nearing the curb. I slammed on the brakes. The guard nodded my way. I breathed a prayer of thanks.

I was still running behind, but I had a clearer sense of my surroundings…and the need for it.

A couple blocks down the road I came to the Senior Center crosswalk. Rarely do I encounter anyone crossing the road, but on that day it looked the bingo crowd was heading in! I stopped, smiled, and waited.

I was probably 10 minutes later to work than I wanted to be. But I was surprised by how peaceful I felt.

WP appreciating the sun

I felt good about not rushing. Slowing down. Taking time to notice…appreciate…to just simply see the things around me.

As I walked to the building, I noticed the blue sky. I heard a bird song. I felt the breeze. All things I would have missed if I raced to the door, fumbling with my bags, and searching for my key.

I know in my head rushing may get me to the destination, but I don’t enjoy the going.

And the scripture is clear: all our rushing gets us nothing.

We certainly can’t see God, nor experience life fully, the way he intended.

So what will it take to slow you down? A crosswalk was a good reminder for me.

WP no time to rush

Advent 12: Countdown

Well, we’re halfway there. Advent is half over and Christmas is just a couple weeks away.

Are you feeling the pressure yet? Has your holiday spirit suffered from the hustle, bustle, and too much to eat?

How’s your anticipation quotient? Are you slipping from excited expectation into dread and loathing?

We are just a handful of days away from turning the calendar page into a whole new year.

Where has the time gone?

As I pondered this, I was reminded of Paul’s words to the Colossians: Make the most of every opportunity. (4:5b, NIV)

It’s really hard to do that if we’re not living intentionally. If we have allowed ourselves to get swept up in the current of the culture and buy into the prevailing mentality of fast is best and the one with the most on their calendar wins.

Christms comes every year, right about this time. And typically when it’s all over I will finally take a deep breath and thank God for getting me through another one.

I hate feeling that way. I don’t think it really pleases God either.

So I have taken Paul’s words as my mantra for this season. Every opportunity, every moment, is a gift that God has given me and I’m going to make the most of it.

A very funny and dear man has described this as holy appointments and divine interuptions–or something like that. Essentially every moment is a God-ordained opportunity to be salt and light, to touch the lives of others with the love and grace of God. God has something for us and for us to do and be.

Don’t run out of time. You’ll never run out of opportunities.

Advent 2013: In the Fullness of Time

My life used to be much fuller. I worked two full-time jobs. I had two teenage daughters. I was a wife. I tried to keep house. For a while we also added foster children to that mix.

Life was busy. Full of things. Broad, but not deep. My motto might have been, “so much to do, so little time.” That is if I had stopped long enough to consider a motto.

Life has swiftly moved on. My daughters are now mothers–both over thirty. The movement has been a journey and a process. In the process, I have slowed down. And as a result, life is richer. I find moments to be treasure-worthy. It’s not all good, but it’s good.

Earlier in my life, when I read the Christmas story and came upon the phrase: in the fullness of time, I took it to mean full in the sense of crammed to the brim–and I lived my life accordingly.

I was wrong.

The phrase means: when the time was right, or ripe.

I don’t fully understand what made that time “right” in God’s eyes. What I do know is in my own life, God is never early nor late. I may want him to come sooner, do something sooner. change things now–but I have come to trust two things completely: if things don’t happen on my time table, then God is still working things out; and he is absolutely trustworthy.

When things come together we often say the time was right. We are often in the right spot at the right time–or not. It’s the right time to get married, to have a child, to buy a car. The stars align. The market is favorable. We can identify physical markers and emotional leanings–so why would we be surprised when God says, “It’s time.”

And that’s how we are invited into this Advent season. However full or empty our world seems, it’s just right for God to work. With the same child-like excitement that builds toward opening Christmas presents, let’s anticipate the gift God has for us.

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