Wow! The last time I wrote this blog was August 2014. It certainly doesn’t feel like five months ago. During that five-month span, work was accomplished, travels were completed, holidays were celebrated and goals were achieved. But 2014 is all a blur now and I am amazed to realize it is already the end of January 2015!
Each day, I intend to start with some alone time with God, in prayer and reading the Bible. But before I do that, I check my email and try to clear a few of the smaller items on my “to do” list, and the next thing I know, the day is half gone. Then, I want to exercise and the same thing happens – the clock races insanely to 11:30 PM and I experience another day without exercise. I really do want to leave a positive legacy and to focus on and listen to the people in my life, but I continually find myself thinking and doing something else, and missing the opportunity.
Even while I’m typing these words, I’m thinking about other projects and deadlines, and how far behind I am, and why did I ever agree to write this blog, and how fast the clock is running! I keep trying to get more done each day, staying up later, finding it hard to fall asleep and waking up worn-out, only to start the process all over again.
As the White Rabbit said in Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carol, “the hurrier I go the behinder I get!”
Bottom line: I’m self-focused, rather than being focused on God and others as I want to be. I’m “too busy” getting things done but left wondering if they were the right things. And, while taking a strange sense of pride in my “busy-ness,” I’m afraid to stop long enough to figure out what needs to change!
How nice to have the opportunity to write this blog and to “examine” these important “life” questions! I’d like to focus my examination on two key areas: first, gaining a better understanding of time and our ability (or inability) to control it; and second, the critical need to stop this insane 24/7 pace and rest.
Why am I so anxious about deadlines, and falling behind, and how fast time flies by? Because I want to be in control and I realize that I am not! I have too much to do and never enough time. And although the idea is appealing, I can do nothing to add another hour in the day or another day in the week. But my anxiety is not just about the lack of control, it is also about the opportunities that I know are being missed.
The Greek language, which is often richer and more specific than our modern English, has two words for “time”: chronos, which refers to the clock and the calendar, and kairos, which refers to opportunity and is focused on how the time we have is used.
Face it, we have no control over the clock and calendar. God has complete control of “chronos” – our days are numbered, the seasons come and go, and the planets and stars follow their courses. We can do nothing to change or affect the chronos. But control of “kairos” has been yielded to each of us and we can choose to make the most of every opportunity.
According to American author, speaker and pastor, John Maxwell:
“There is no such thing as time management. The term is an oxymoron. Time cannot be managed. It cannot be controlled in any way. No scientist — no matter how smart — is capable of creating new minutes.
So, what can you do? Manage yourself! Nothing separates successful people from unsuccessful people more than how they use their time. Successful people understand that time is the most precious commodity on earth.
As a result, they know where their time goes.”
A continued focus on activities, things, circumstances and chronos time not only makes me anxious, but also makes me exhausted and drained. But when I’m able to focus on people, relationships and leaving a positive legacy – the kairos or opportunity – I experience the peace and satisfaction I’m longing for and I’m invigorated and energized, too.
Making the most of every opportunity is about people and relationships and it’s ongoing; there is always more to do tomorrow, and every day of life we have on this planet! The answer is not to go faster and work longer. Rather I need to focus on making the most of every opportunity I have today, and when I’ve done what I can today, I need to stop and rest. The big lie: I need to get all my work done, my “to do” list checked off, and all my emails answered before I rest. The truth: I will never get all my work done, will never get all caught up, and so I must “pause” from my work and rest.
Think about this: God does not need to rest from his work, yet he rested and designated a day of rest each week intended for our restoration. We need to consider our need to regularly pause and rest from our work, and to trust that in resting, we will be better prepared to invest in the ongoing nature of our “opportunity” work.
As Paul wisely wrote in his letter to the church in Ephesus:
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16 NIV
Stop racing the clock. Focus on opportunity each day. Pause and rest.
We will continue to help our clients to learn and grow and succeed at life by making the most of every opportunity. If you have ideas or experiences to share on this topic, please post them so others can benefit.