Whose time?

Not long ago, I confided to a friend that I felt overwhelmed with stress and anxiety over my work. She suggested that I spend more time meditating on God’s goodness and studying His Word as an antidote. “But I don’t have time!” I protested.

“What do you mean, you don’t have time?” she queried with a twinkle in her eye.

“I mean that I don’t have buckets of time on my hands!” I retorted, annoyed and puzzled.

“Oh, so you don’t own enough time? You may as well say that you own sunlight. But you’d never say that, because you know that God made the sun. Why don’t you think of time as a gift or a loan from God, rather than viewing it as something that you own?”

“Well, no … it’s just that …” I was stumped. I’d never realized that I had been thinking of time as something that I “own.” But it was true. The idea of God lending or giving me time seemed absurd; rather, I was accustomed to thinking that I sometimes generously gave Him precious portions of my time! The more I thought about it, the more I saw how deeply ingrained this idea was in my subconscious. How often had I said, “He (or she) wasted my time!”

The next day, my friend and I talked some more. We discussed how having a possessive attitude toward time had led to my focusing solely on my own ideas, goals, and desires, effectively pushing God out of my decisions. Without His help to streamline my schedule and lifestyle, I was struggling to keep up with my work. No wonder I was stressed and felt that I didn’t “have” time for communing with my Creator.

Over the next few days, I noticed that my flawed reasoning about time had also been influencing the way I viewed my family, job, possessions, and many other areas of daily life. The word “my” had soaked into every corner of my heart. Rather than being thankful for and generous with all that I had been given, I was selfishly grasping all that I felt I was entitled to. Whenever God did not seem to be answering my prayers and granting my desires, I’d fume over why “my God” wasn’t doing what I wanted, when I wanted it—as if He were my “Errand Boy.”

It hasn’t been easy to rewire my mindset, and it’s far from finished, but I am learning to say with the psalmist, “Everything in heaven and earth is yours.”1

  1. 1 Chronicles 29:11 NIV