“Calendars can con: there are really only as many days left as you actually really live. In the end, everyone ends up at the length of their lives—but only a few live the whole width of a life.”
How can sixty ticks on a clock face vary so widely (depending on how you spend them)? Stretching this concept over the span of a year, why do some seasons seem to go on forever while others feel like the blink of an eye? In her book The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin writes that “the days are long but the years are short.” For the most part, I’ve found the quip to be startlingly accurate.
Time is a resource we’ll never get back; it’s precious, unique, and a solid indicator of our values. We’ve been given exactly as much as we were meant to have, and there’s just enough to make our contribution to this world before going home. Life is not so much a race against time as it is a continual surrender to the will of God. If the battle is harder for you, don’t worry—the Lord built three days into Jonah’s lifespan to wallow in a fish belly. Of course, you (like the reluctant prophet) might fare better and smell better if you sail toward obedience in the first place, but God will have His way in the end despite how obtuse we can be.
Because baselines are so helpful, head over here to print out the time tracker (or just make your own). Keep tabs on specifics for a full seven days to get a sturdy hold of where your minutes run off to. If you’re a techie, try the Activity Tracker app. Either way, monitoring where your days actually go, as opposed to where you mean for them to go, is one of the most efficient ways of discovering reality.
How we spend our time reveals something about us—what we fear, who we worship, where we withhold from God. Most often, it uncovers some sneaky brand of either pride or unbelief. Do I refuse to rest because of pride (“the world depends on me”) or unbelief (“if I don’t take care of myself, no one will”)? Do I neglect doing my full job because of pride (“I’m above this”) or unbelief (“I don’t matter enough to represent Christ in my workplace”)? As the Lord reveals these places of hard truth, He invites us to a more abundant alternative—always Himself.
According to a biblical paradigm, our role priorities are to be 1, believer, 2, spouse (if applicable), 3, parent (if applicable), 4, everything else. This is the layout of a healthy life the way a loving God designed it, and our schedules point to where priorities are stable or where shifts might need to occur. If your calendar is all kinds of out of alignment, take a deep breath of grace and ask for the Spirit’s help in reorganizing the days you’ve been given.
It’s okay to say no to good things to make time for great ones. And counterculturally, the people of God are encouraged (commanded) to make sabbathing—resting for a full day each week—a part of our regular rhythms. Sure, we’ll probably have to rearrange to create space for this, but it’s a game changer, a banner of faith in the Father who provides. When we turn down opportunities for advancement that we don’t feel specifically called to, when we get off the hamster wheel one day a week, others will notice that something is up. What a magnificent chance for our King to show off!
Jesus redeems the entirety of who we are, including our calendars. As He transforms our hearts from one degree of glory to another, time shifts, becoming one more altar in a life longing to make much of Him.