Tag Archives: Time

Jocelyn R. Plett: Breathing Room

by Jocelyn R. Plett

The other day on social media I posted in amazement at all the things I was able to accomplish in a day. Unsurprisingly, our friends in Madagascar responded, “Could not do all that in Tana. Traffic would have tripled the time.”

Indeed! Over the years living in Tana, the frustration of repeatedly failing to accomplish my “to do” list finally taught me to release it and focus on “merely” accomplishing one thing a day.

My blogging over the time we lived in Madagascar documents a trend in our observations of life in Canada during our furloughs: since life is much easier and “efficient,” people can do many things in a day and therefore they think they should do them. This creates a society of very busy people.

The unfortunate irony of these observations is that now that we live in Canada as “normal” people, not just visitors, we find ourselves in this same vise: the ability to do many things because our former inhibitors of traffic, cultural differences, language barriers, and infrastructure are no longer there. In Canada we are no longer forced to live a slow lifestyle. The relief in having this freedom is immense, but it comes at a price: being busier than we have ever been as a family.

Sandra Stanley’s study “Breathing Room” highlights areas of life where North Americans have shown they need to work hard at creating increased margin: time, finances, and relationships. (Andy Stanley’s series “Guardrails” is a similar study geared for men. Josh highly recommends it.) It was a well-timed reminder of common areas where we all need to practice discipline.

Sandra points out that 100 years ago “there were limited options for how people spent their time. Most days, they stayed within a one-mile radius of home. When it got dark, everyone went to bed. Instead of struggling to figure out how to limit what they did with their time, they struggled to figure out what to do with their time. Today we have endless options, which is simultaneously wonderful and terrible…It’s great having choices, but filling our days with all the things we can do crowds out time for the things we’re called to do” (53).

Jocelyn R. Plett

Putting up guardrails for my time is proving to be hard work. I find that it requires some serious pride (and fear) slaying within my heart as I make tough decisions. I want to be sure my kids are getting all the chances other kids have to experience the things that are available for them. I want to be involved in my church, as well as connecting with friends, family, and networking for my business.

The bottom line, however, is “My time is limited, so I must limit what I do with my time.” How, exactly, do I do that? I’m realizing anew that it starts with being attentive to the Word and the Spirit within me, Who will guide and direct my path if I am willing to listen and obey.

Diana Peters: Normal Time Is Not Wasted Time

by Diana Peters

Sometimes I begin to panic. Why? I have no idea what I’m going to be when I grow up. I have no idea what I’m supposed to do with my life, what my purpose is.

My remaining years stretch out before me, a blank canvas with the pools of paint on the palette beginning to dry. Life is passing me by. I’m already twenty-seven years old.

You may laugh. I know it seems ridiculous, as I’m still young. But if you think about it, society seems to indicate that a person should know what his or her life is going to look like, especially in regards to career, by the time he or she graduates from grade 12. Tell me, how many of you knew exactly where your life was going when you were 18?

Oh, I thought I knew what some of my future would look like. And I did some of that. And I most definitely had dreams. I still do. But things change.

So here I am, 30 on the horizon, and I sometimes feel like I have nothing to show for it. I’m not in an established career. I am not married with two children and another one on the way. I do not own my own house with enough yard space to have a few cats and a dog. Though I am happy with where I am, I don’t feel like I am truly adult-ing yet.

My thoughts turn to Jesus. What was he doing at my age? We don’t know exactly. Our guess is that He was probably working in carpentry and helping his Mom with raising his younger siblings.

He was still three years away from when He actively started His ministry. If this is so, it means He was a single young adult, living at home, working in His Dad’s (earthly) business.

I don’t think that these years, years that made up the majority of Jesus’ time on earth, were wasted years. He was still doing His Father’s heavenly business.

He was living in the normal day-to-day portion of life, as we all do. He calmly bided His time, a time of purpose and preparation. And when it was time, He was ready. Ready for the glorious and the terrible.

If I put myself in my complete humanness and with no divineness into Jesus’ shoes, I think I would panic even more than I do now, especially knowing I only had six more years and three of those were already mapped out to an extent (not all pleasant). All of a sudden, my panic in my own reality seems unfounded.

I do not know how much time I have left. It might be six years. It might be more. It might be less.

I do not know what my remaining years will look like, what I will all accomplish, what dreams I will fulfill. But here’s what I’m learning as I look to Jesus: I am about my Father’s business in the here and now, the normal.

Every day is a completion of God’s purpose for my life for that day and a preparation for God’s purpose for my life for the coming days.

Diana Peters

And because I know all this I can live trusting in the Lord to guide my path, as He has guided me here. In Him I have peace.

Diana Peters (EFC Steinbach) serves as an administrative assistant in the EMC national office.