Today, my state, Indiana, joins the rest of you in scoring some extra daylight. For reasons unclear to 99% of us Hoosiers, we have stubbornly bucked Daylight Saving Time until this year. As a result, we've never been sure exactly what time it is within Indiana because we've been enjoying three time zones! Regardless, if you want to honk off a Hoosier, especially a farmer, ask him how he feels about DST. And then take a few steps back.
Personally, I like the idea of springing forward. the Christian life emphasizes forward momentum, "forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead," as in Philippians 3:13, and finishing the race, as in 2 Timothy 4:7. We never want to stagnate, and daily we search hopefully for signs that we are becoming more and more like Christ.
Sometimes, though, instead of a healthy forward momentum, I feel I'm living in three time zones. That is, I fill my days with lists of tasks, responsibilities and service, and at the end of the day, I realize how little time I've engaged the Lord. Do I really believe that God is more concerned about who I am than what I do?
For instance, I'm part of a "Read the Bible in a Year" campaign. I'm actually ahead of schedule, but that's because I've been galloping through Numbers like Seabiscuit out of the gate. Instead of speed reading, I should be researching why God included so many details and figures. I should slow down to ask, "Lord, what do You want to say to me today through Numbers?" But then, I'd have to actually slow down to listen.
In an effort to nurture relationships, I have lists of names to call or email, but sometimes, I find myself clock-watching after just a few minutes. Maybe I should just ask the Holy Spirit, "Show me who needs attention and love today." Once again, I'd have to stop and listen.
And then there are the yes/no demands on my time: the caller asking if I can help with a special school project; the bulk mailing at work that didn't get completed--should I work an extra hour? My daughter is asking if I can help her bake a new dessert; the clean laundry wrinkling in the basket even as I write this is pestering me--and what about tonight's dinner, my newspaper column, my little dog?
Do you feel guilty if you're not "doing," not constantly springing forward toward the next task?
I'll bet you know the scriptures as well as I do about being still and knowing He is God, about His yoke being easy and His burden light, and about how Jesus withdrew from crowds to pray. But it's hard to break the hold of what some have called "the tyranny of the oughts and shoulds," both internal and external. We so want to get this life "right."
If you are a compulsive "do-er," consider handing over your plans today to the Father by focusing on the two great commandments of Luke 10:27, loving God with your entire being and loving your neighbor as yourself.
This doesn't mean God won't ask anything of you; He says if you love Him, you'll obey His commands, which I also interpret to include those commands he speaks to you personally about your day. However, you don't have to busy in a God-pleasing activity to please God. You please him by treating Him as the highest significant other in your life.
Instead of making sure we're hitting the details of 20 nonessential tasks per day and planning tomorrow's superfluous 20, maybe we should focus on what God gives us for that day, or that hour, and do them with passion and excellence. And that may mean devoting an entire evening to helping your 5th grader create a solar system model--a great opportunity for intimate sharing between you, your child, and the One who molded the spheres and released them spinning. You can't top that for meaningful multi-tasking!