This past Monday was Memorial Day. We had been having a beautiful weekend weather wise and enjoying time with family and friends. Come Monday morning I was up early before everyone else, feeling rested and ready to enjoy another beautiful day. I made my way into the kitchen and opened the window by the sink for some fresh air. I put some tea bags into a container and set it outside in the morning sun. Next I had some prayer time and reflection with Jesus. The smell of coffee and bacon baking kept me company as I then began to wash up dishes from the night before. Having forgot to set the time for the bacon before I stuck my hands into the soapy water, I spoke out loud to Alexa to set a timer. I was SO enjoying this morning, this quiet time with my thoughts. Outside the window the beautiful morning sun was illuminating the ferns and woods. Hummingbirds were flitting back and forth to our feeder. The rhododendrons blossoms were bringing forth their amazing color.
Then I looked at what little dishes I had left to wash and wondered how much time was left on the timer. Could I be quick enough to finish these dishes before it went off? What would I do next? What could I squeeze in before everyone else got up and I was making breakfast and then later getting ready for the family we had coming over for lunch?
Whoa! Why was I feeling the need to know how much time was left? It would go off and let me know when the bacon was ready. Inadvertently I turned it from a bacon timer to more like a stopwatch for myself. The morning I was so greatly enjoying was going to evaporate if I didn’t make the right choice to be in the moment, participating in the day instead of anticipating it.
Has this ever happened to you? Have you been enjoying your vacation when all of a sudden it hits you that you “only” have two days left and so then you start dreading the last two days because it will be over rather then soaking up each moment? Think about the meals you eat. Are they done hurriedly so that you can move on to the next task or are you enjoying the meal before you and the company around you?
I am not suggesting that time shouldn’t matter and that we shouldn’t have schedules for our responsibilities. Rather I am suggesting we pause and decide what schedules and responsibilities matter most in our lives. Are we cramming so much in we aren’t able to enjoy any of it? Are we so tired from “doing” that we don’t even have the energy to “be”? I am just as guilty of this myself.
When looking for some guidance in scripture several individuals came to mind. First there is Martha and Mary, two sisters who were friends with Jesus. Read their story in Luke 10:38-42. Basically, Martha is slaving away in the kitchen while Mary is having all the fun in the other room. Martha complains to Jesus about her needing some help with the to-do list. “But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.’ ” Those dishes will get done, the house will be cleaned, the bills will be written but that friend visiting or our children growing up won’t last forever.
In other instances we are doing pretty good with knowing that some things take time like saving for a house, starting a family, etc. But we just know it will be SO good we want to get there faster. Abraham and Sarah experienced this while waiting to become parents. They eventually took matters into their own hands with not so stellar results (Genesis 15:1-6, 16, Genesis 21:1-21). King David himself rushes things when he decides to move the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem but without the care God requested. Someone lost their life because of it (2 Samuel 6:1-15).
Consider how preparation time is built into our lives. Babies are given nine months to develop before they’re born and the same time is given to the parents to prepare for the change in their lives. Let’s look at the brain. Neuroscientists say that our brains are still developing at least into our mid-20s. “Someone who is 18 may make riskier decisions than someone in their mid-20s in part due to lack of experience, but primarily due to an underdeveloped brain. All behaviors and experiences you endure until the age of 25 have potential to impact your developing brain.” (https://mentalhealthdaily.com/2015/02/18/at-what-age-is-the-brain-fully-developed/). I am going to guess that we all can probably recall choices we made in our 20s for which we weren’t mentally ready.
So what did I do that Monday morning? I resisted the urge to ask how much time was left on the timer. The dishes got done, the bacon was ready to be devoured, and I was available for my family when they awoke to join me. Next time I hear the timer clicking away or am tempted to keep looking at it I will be reminded of God’s time and look to Him for guidance.