…there is a time!
In Ecclesiastes 3 (I hear The Byrds: Turn, Turn, Turn every time I read this passage!) it is written…
A Time for Everything
-Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (New Living Translation courtesy of http://www.biblegateway.com)
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.”
I so often forget this. In a society that prizes productivity, and in a being that has learned to adopt this perspective very well (me), it is so easy for me to forget that taking the time to rest, time to be quiet, time to cry, time to throw away, time to quit searching, time to heal — that taking the time for each of these is incredibly important.
Interestingly enough, the first step that Bridges proposes (in Transitions: Making the Most of Life’s Changes) is: take your time! He writes, “…our lives can change in an instant, but the inner reorientation…takes time. This does not mean that everything must come to a total standstill while you wait for self-renewal…it means that you cannot rush the inner process…”
So what does this look like? Again — for all of us it’s different. For me it means being more patient with myself, being more patient with life, and more patient, especially, with God.
True Story. I recently joined a Women’s Bible Study, and our latest theme is faith. As an exercise to get us going, we were asked to “blindly” select an item from a bag, pull it out, and take the time to reflect on how that item is an illustration of faith, our own faith journey, or what we currently feel about faith. I pulled out a clock. Of course.
In many regards, I have no connections whatsoever with instruments of time. I don’t wear watches, often don’t pay attention to them when I do, was a horrible History student (all those dates), and even in my own life — can rarely tell you when events have taken place (am pretty good with birthdays and anniversaries — those are the biggies). As I sat staring at this wall clock in my hand I was seriously thinking, “what in the world am I going to do with this?” I prayed, asked for some openness, as well as some wisdom. Then I got to thinking.
I am a life-planner. This is beyond goal-oriented — this is trying to control with a capital “C”. I often pictured that I’d graduate high school, graduate college, be married by age 25, having my first child by around 28 at the latest, and graduating with a Master’s by 30. My 29th birthday was a real shocker — let me tell you — unmarried, childless, and not even enrolled in a graduate program. Yikes! Life has thrown me a few curve balls and I’m learning to deal. So, as I was sitting there, wall clock in hand, I realized, although I am not tied to the clock in the “need to finish writing this post in one hour” sense, I am very much connected to it in the “my life will reach this point by this date in time” regard. And, obviously, it doesn’t work that way.
So how does this impact my faith? It’s at these epiphanous (like my new word) moments in time when I have to take my life out of my hands, move it off my clock, and put it back in the hands of my Creator, and trust in His clock, and in His time. This does pretty much guarantee lots of uncertainty, many more twists and turns, and life going very unexpectedly, but if the hindsight back on my life is any sign — good things lie ahead when I do so.
So if this means, taking a day to lie in bed and grieve, allowing myself to cry at random moments, ignoring my phone for some quiet alone time, or even spending an afternoon in escape with Drop Dead Diva (thank you, friend, for lending these), then so be it — for every purpose under Heaven, there is a time!