Our kayak bounced and bobbled near the buttressed, craggy cliffs of the ancient Mediterranean island. We paddled as far as we could from the port’s busy sights and sounds, then rested our oars and dangled our feet into the crystal clear waters. The tidal ebb and flow, the soft splash of waves against the coast bordered by massive boulders and volcanic rock lulled us into quiet rest.
Time slowed. The mist cooled our lungs.
Stop for a Moment
Just take in one deep breath and exhale slowly.
Time is a gift—we didn’t create it, we don’t control it, and we certainly don’t have a clue how long we will be confined to it here on earth. It’s easy to forget that Scripture reminds us who is in charge—and it’s not us—thank the Lord!
During our Mediterranean cruise, in the quietness of the open sea, I pondered the concept of time, especially the present moment, which I so often miss.
Do you sometimes miss being in the present too? Ever wonder what you’ve missed by not being aware of the present? Perhaps you have missed the chance to enjoy God’s presence when you needed it most, because you hurried off to “fix” something He already has accomplished. What’s really holding you captive? We often feel held captive by time when, actually, it’s not the clock or calendar that enslaves us . . . it’s something else.
For the rest of our Mediterranean trip, I reflected on the concept of time: its purpose, use, and how much power I give it. Using each letter of the word T I M E, I asked myself some hard questions.
I offer them here for you to ponder, S L O W L Y.
Trust: Do you trust in almighty, sovereign God? Have you trusted Him with your life? The Lord gently prompts us to give our all to Him—including our worries, problems, and the desire to control everything. Isn’t it time to let go? What are you resisting? It’s easy to be tempted to manipulate outcomes in life. How you use (or abuse) your time reveals how much you trust the Lord as your God.
Interests: Are you really interested in daily living as a Christian, or is the Christian life like an emergency credit card you pull out when in a bind? When you have trusted Christ, your interests ought to reveal this trust. Are you as interested in cultivating a Christlike mind? How much time do you spend cultivating a godly character? Do you respond with humility and service—volunteering, getting into what is uncomfortable like Christ did when He came to earth? What are you reading? Whom do you spend time with? Stop and evaluate what your interests and behaviors say about your beliefs.
Motivation: Why do you do what you do? Are you a people-pleaser? Do you fake a smile at church on Sundays but then mean-mug your way through the rest of the week, judging and hanging on to resentment? Why do you serve at your church or local community group? If you were never sent one thank-you note, never recognized by an audience, would you still engage in the activities you have chosen? If you are a caregiver, do you love and serve as if you were serving Christ? I know the demands are endless, but they are less demanding when you offer each task as an act of worship unto the Lord. Is that enough to motivate you to do your best?
Experience: What does experience have to do with time? Almost everything! It’s not experience alone; it’s your response to experience that reveals the maturity of your soul. How have you responded to the experiences God has allowed? Are you bitter? Doubting His goodness? Resentful? If the walls could talk in your home, what would they say? Do you respond with anger, indifference, respect, or compassion when you interact with your family? Are you enjoying the good gifts God’s given you? Have you thanked the Lord for His grace toward you lately? Have you shared your time with someone who isn’t as gifted as you? Have you offered to help someone in need—without judgment? It’s not your job to evaluate God’s plan and then decide if it’s up to par with what you want. It’s your job to surrender to His plan—which includes every experience you encounter.
Let Me Hear from You
I have reflected upon the T.I.M.E. model repeatedly since that sacred afternoon on the sea. The Lord is showing up in many ways I would have missed before. It’s my guess that you want the Lord to show up, to be present, too. Well, the good news is He’s already here, willing and waiting—have you taken the time to be present too? Pick one or two of these areas of reflection, and let’s talk about this in the days to come.
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