Some of the best faith lessons I’ve learned since becoming a parent have been the result of reading from the children’s Bibles or family devotionals we’ve used with our kids. And some days, let’s face it! That’s as close as I get to having any time in the word!
I always enjoy our family devotions, but there are some days when the lessons are exceptionally poignant, even for the grown ups in the room. Today was one of those days for me.
This morning, we read from Jesus Calling for Kids.
The devotion was titled I Am Timeless, and it said, in part:
“Time is a protection for you. One twenty-four-hour day of life is enough for you to handle. But time can also become your master–making you its slave–if you think about it too much.”
Can I hear an “Amen?”
I am a recovering over-achiever. No doubt there was a time in my life (not so long ago) when I would look at the task list for my day, and the butterflies would begin to flutter in my stomach like they did before a gymnastics meet when I was a kid. And I would say (and really mean), “If only there were more hours in the day, I could [fill in the blank] . . .”
But truth be told, no matter how many hours there were in a day, there would still be too much to do. And I wouldn’t be able to get it all done. And if I did get it all done, I’d come up with something else to do to keep me busy. And that would send me over the edge. And I would go to bed at the end of the day defeated. Or exhausted. Or both. It’s a sickness really. And it’s plagued me most of my life.
But the events of the last year have dramatically impacted me. They’ve changed me. And in this particular respect, I think they’ve changed me for the better.
Moving across town, buying and selling houses, changing jobs, searching for schools, learning our way around, and getting acquainted with the people in our new environment has been time consuming. And exhausting. And overwhelming. And as a result of all of that, I’ve had no choice but to let a lot of things go. Things that I would never have left undone before.
At first, it frustrated me to the point of tears. I would sit in my house alone, amidst a sea of boxes, and cry because I was so overwhelmed with trying to help my family transition into this new life, while at the same time, trying to manage all those things about life that never let up. The job. The groceries. The cooking. The bills. The appointments. The laundry. And the kids. All at the same time. And I would think, “if only there were more hours in the day . . . .”
But as time wore on and the reality of how long this transition was going to take began to set in, I had no choice but to let some things go, if for no other reason than to survive. And it felt really good. I felt lighter. I felt happier. I felt less defeated. Even though the very things that defeated me before were still not getting done.
I viewed this transition as one big exercise in letting go. Of lowering my expectations. And of gaining some maturity. And it was all of that. But as I read today’s devotional with my family, I saw it all from a different perspective.
Today’s devotional reminded me that it isn’t just about me letting go. It’s also about acknowledging that God knows what’s best for me. No doubt, the limits of time are a gift from God. A way in which God protects us. A way in which God uses the order of the universe he set in motion to force us to stop. To rest. To take a break. To get some sleep. And to lighten our load. It’s a good thing that the day begins and ends and that there are limits on what we can accomplish in a 24 hour period. And I now have some perspective to thank God for all of that!
So these days, what do I do when my task list is really long, and I know I don’t have a fighting chance to get it all done? Instead of releasing the butterflies in my stomach, I now take a deep breath, spend some time in prayer, and ask myself these questions:
What’s one thing I really need to get done today?
What can wait until tomorrow? Or the next day? Or maybe, be taken off the task list altogether?
Praise God that the limits of time are forcing me to make these choices!
In what areas of your life, might you need to acknowledge the limits of time as a gift from God?