By Kristen Leigh Evensen
I confess: I didn’t have the time to write this article.
In fact, I believe this article really should have been entitled “Confessions of a Crazy Person” because that would more clearly express how my life feels as of late. Crazy. Deeply rich and very blessed. But crazy nonetheless.
I confess that, without even realizing it, I sometimes act as though I have total possession over my time. My grip can become even tighter when I have less time to allot to each task. I begin operating under the assumption that I own my time; therefore, any interruption of it causes irritation, defensiveness and increased stress within me. Take this past week as an example: I found myself stumbling over my perspectives as I thought, “My time is being disrupted right now by circumstances that I never saw coming. How dare my time get interrupted!”
There is an obvious problem with the above statement.
You see, I would consider myself to be somewhat of a hyper-planner. As an exercise, I thought it might be insightful to define these two terms (especially for those of you who might consider yourself to be a similar personality):
Hyper: seriously or obsessively concerned; fanatical
Planner: A scheme or method of “doing,” developed in advance, for a specific project or purpose
Okay, fine. So what if I am a seriously, obsessively fanatical schemer when it comes to planning? I like my time.
Oops. There it is again.
The only problem is that my time is not mine. And your time is not yours. We need a serious perspective adjustment! We need to see that our attempts to produce an orderly manifestation of our craziness can get reduced to nothing if our plans are graciously reordered by God’s hand.
And they will be re-ordered—because time is not ours, it is His.
A conversation goes a bit too long. Your once-a-week date night gets cancelled. Sickness takes you out of the running for a day. An opportunity to share Christ with a friend arises. You don’t get the job. You must stop to pray.
I confess that I so easily forget the truth that time is the Lord’s. In dealing with time, I get consumed by my own little world. I believe that the reason I overlook certain fundamental truths is because I am too busy getting my ducks in a row, creating a hyper-planner’s paradise in the form of my overly booked schedule, harried endeavors and sleepless nights.
But there are ways to remember what is true about our time, our lives, and the glory of God. Hyper-planners, we need to hear some fundamental gospel truths each and every day! So let us not forget:
The Lord reigns! I confess I do not fully grasp, especially when I am frantically clawing to get my hands on any free 15-minute time slot in my planner, that God does not exist to serve me. My life is not about me. Your life is not about you. We must get over ourselves to declare worshipfully that the Lord Almighty reigns (Psalm 99)!
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything (Acts 17:24).
God exists to glorify Himself. He does not exist to glorify us, or our schedules, or our plans, or even the good deeds we perform, which are but dirty rags in light of His holiness. Only God is perfectly great, and He rules creation by His abundant power and steadfast love. He rules our time!
Remembering this truth is an incredibly humbling breath of fresh air, especially for all of us hyper-planners. God’s holy rule is a necessary reminder, not only for a lost world consumed by self-orientation, but for His children who are not yet perfect. In His grace and wisdom, our God continues to sustain the foundations of the world despite what we do, say, think or plan.
Our lives are here today, gone tomorrow. Every detail of our earthly craziness can seem so pivotal in the moment. As I hyper-plan my weeks, my heart starts palpitating at the thought that I might let people down, not complete certain tasks, nor have the time to slow down at night and breathe. After all, we only see in part—and the part that we see is tainted by sin, because we are not home yet.
Think about the fact that your body eventually gets so tired that you must surrender to sleep (despite your resistance!). This is a relinquishment of power, as you silently succumb to your physical limitations. Consider that God never sleeps nor slumbers—proving that only He is eternally aware and in control (Psalm 121:4). Our physical limitations are but a metaphor for our spiritual depravity, and this should humble us greatly, especially when we find ourselves declaring time as our own:
For he knows our frame;he remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more
Jesus owns you. That’s right—He owns you. If you are a Christian, then every part of you belongs to the Great High Priest who sacrificed Himself on the cross, absorbing the wrath of God for your sake. Though once we were slaves to sin, now we are slaves to righteousness—meaning that Christ’s very identity has become our own, and we no longer live for our own selfish desires and plans. Living selfishly is actually contrary to our new nature; it does not suit us! Paul admonishes the Corinthians for their immoral ways and then reminds them of this glorious gospel truth:
You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body
(1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
I confess that my flesh rebels against Christ’s ownership of me at times. I wanttime and plans and decisions to be my own—until I recall that the Son of God has a claim on my life, because He purchased it with the price of His life. He is not only infinitely wise but blesses those who earnestly seek Him with broken and contrite hearts (Psalm 51:17). What freedom there is in surrendering our time to a all-knowing, providential Lord!
The God of grace knows our limitations and sees that we are dust—yet He is mindful of us, His unique creation, giving us the grace to be transformed in our perspectives. The next time you feel yourself taking the slippery slope to self-indulgent thoughts regarding time, remember it was never yours to begin with. He is Lord! So let’s glorify Him—even with our time.
Kristen Leigh Evensen is a writer, blogger and singer/songwriter. She writes on faith and identity at The Identity Project and keeps a column at WHOLE Magazine. Her desire is to see women transformed by the Gospel! Follow her on Twitter @kristenlevensen and on Facebook.