I know. We hear all these trite clichés about time, don’t we? “You have all the time in the world.” or “Time is fleeting.” or “Take your time.” or “On your death bed you will never wish you’d spent more time at the office.” Benjamin Franklin said “Lost time is never found again.” What do we believe about time? Do we really believe that time is a non-renewable resource? There are 86,400 seconds in a day. I find it curious that I remember that fact, when I’ve forgotten so many others that are more important, but when I learned it, it stuck. Attending to that 86,400 seconds reinforced the importance of using our time wisely so our projects wouldn’t overrun their allotted time. We all have the same amount of time every day, 86,400 seconds.
I’m not a time management expert. The truth is, I don’t even believe we manage time. We manage the activities that use up our time. These months, November through January, are busy; days are full and those 86,400 seconds are fleeting, and in the famous words of Dr. Seuss, we wonder “How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” Maybe I’m the only one who wants more out of life than a continuous string of things to do and the satisfaction of crossing them off the list. I want the story of my life to be more than checkmarks next to completed tasks. I don’t have it mastered, and I certainly don’t have it all together, but my life is a continuous thread until the spool is empty and God says to me, “Remember those seconds you were given? Well, they’re over now. You’re coming with me.” Until then, I still have time to work on life and you do too.
I choose to bookend my days with spiritual strength and commitment to finding joy in situations. We have to go in search of joy because it won’t come find us. Begin every morning with thanks to God for this new day, opportunities to breathe, and the gift of more time. Getting started with a new habit is tough so maybe Psalm 119 will help in forming this bookend to your day. Verses 17-18 “Be good to your servant while I live, that I may obey your word. Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.”
I’m a very visual learner and an obsessive list maker; in fact, even my lists have lists. I have memory issues and find it necessary to write everything out so it’s where I can be reminded of things I must do and things I want to do. Am I spending my time – using it up? Or am I investing my time – creating something useful or growing memories? You don’t need to be a list maker to divide your time into slices of meaningful events and useful activities.
Make a conscious effort to include things that feed your imagination and create heartwarming experiences. These stories of our days are filling up the times of our lives. What do we want to be recorded? How do we want them to turn out? I read a book by Barbara Bush a few years ago. It was full of heartwarming experiences. In it she said, “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent.” What are some simple investments you can include in your day that will add joy, encouragement and significance to your life stories?
The final bookend to each day – end with thanks to God for your seconds and for the gift of this day. Psalm 34:1 is a good reminder. “I will praise the Lord at all times; my mouth will continually praise him.“
This morning, I got up early, much earlier than normal – and I did it on purpose. If the story of my day is going to be transcribed the way I want it to be, I have to be attentive and have the investment mindset. I’m a guest in the home of relatives for the next several days. As you can imagine, there will be a lot of family time and holiday spirit. This is a challenge to make the main thing, the main thing. How will I invest my time?
November 25: Today I am thankful for the gift of time.
And whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17