A white plastic clock sits on top of my bookshelf. The casing is cracked. It is balanced on the shelf like a gymnast, unsecured. It wants to roll to the right or to the left. It wants to crack again, apparently. A lamp gives it a boundary so that it does not roll off the edge. It needs assistance to stand still. It is on the go unless I tie it down, box it in, and force it to remain still. Even then, it is never really still. Its hands are always on the move, on their merry way to the next black tick. The hands that appear motionless are deceiving, the one that always moves is the most honest.
Behold, the personality of time.
This week I returned to work part-time after an extended maternity leave. My time management needs are changing, my use of time is changing, my need for time is changing. What even is time? I find myself digging in Ecclesiastes 3:2-8. It is a reflection on time. There is a time. There is a season. For every purpose under heaven …
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Stop. Read it again.
What one phrase stands out to you?
What time is it in your life?
Time is one of life’s greatest gifts. It is the thing that measures life from start to finish. It is a mold for valuable experiences. It makes room for us to sink deep or take flight in love. It stretches for relationships, and narrows for tasks. It is the wind at our back, when sinking would otherwise be inevitable. We chase it, and it chases us. It keeps us playing. Time is mysterious and determined, hard-nosed and quick. It can also be relentlessly slow, a master of the crawl! Time can race. Time can freeze. Time can breathe. Time can take our breath away.
Time cannot be controlled or bossed around. It must be embraced. The moment we begin to hate time, it will begin to hate us, and therein we will find ourselves in an unnecessary internal struggle, every single day. Time has no friends or enemies that do not first befriend or unfriend it. It waits to be utilized by the soul who dares to let it be what it is. Wisdom embraces the gift of time, and knows how to keep it acting as a gift.
Whatever your relationship to time in this season, I believe that the God who is outside of time is inviting you and I to get a washed perspective on what time is for. Some of you have been wasting time, watching it drain. Others are in an oppressive relationship with it, driven to exhaustion every day. No shame. It is not too late in your life for a fresh start with time. Imagine unwrapping the gift of time for the very first time. What do you notice about it? What excites you about it? What uses do you have for it?
To the Designer of Time, teach us how to receive time as a gift.
Write & Reflect: What are two beliefs you have about time? Do you want to keep them? Do you want to exchange them? The God who designed time is doing exchanges today on beliefs about time!
Katie Luse is a speaker and writer who is passionate about navigating life with eyes on a hunt for beauty.