I’m one of those people who is really into saving time and being as efficient as possible. Wasting time drives me crazy and deciding what to with my time sometimes does too. I’m a multi-tasker and a list-maker. I have one of those time-tracking apps to help me see how much time I spend on certain things and to challenge myself to be faster.
I suppose my obsession with time started when the realization that time is limited first hit me. I don’t just mean time in a day or work week. I mean time as in our lifetime.
In 2015, the average life expectancy in the US was 78-79 years. Approximately 28,470 – 28,835 days. That doesn’t sound so short at first, but then ask yourself how many years you have to subtract from your given 78 or 79. How many years, how many days are already gone? That’s when it really hits you. Time is limited.
When I realized this, I changed—I became obsessed with time. How I should save it, capture it, use it, make the most of it. I thought I was being wise. But now, I’m wondering if I was wrong.
In all my time-saving, efficiency-searching frenzy, I let the little clock on my phone screen begin to dictate my life. I let a fear of losing time begin to control my heart and mind. And rather than master my time, time began to rule me.
Time can seem so cruel. We talk about how it flies, how it tells, how it runs out. It seems like a tyrant, boxing our lives up and putting an end date on it. But what if there were a way to break time, open the box, and let our lives spill out?
I ran across this idea while reading Ann Voscamp’s The Broken Way—a very thought-provoking read. She suggests that there may be a way to multiply our 78 years—”to break time’s hold.” And it begins with a totally different perspective on time.
Here’s what Ann says:
For Jesus, time was not something you seize as much as something you sacrifice. How had I always, all my life, thought of time as this highway robber that steals life, until we ultimately die? But all through Scripture, Jesus speaks of time as the highway by which we have come to die – so we can ultimately get to more abundant life. Time is…not something to grab; it’s something to give.
She goes on to suggest that every moment we spend giving, sacrificing, and loving is multiplied and and spills over into eternity. As we die to self, we “have twice as much life.”
In C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters, he says that time is one big “unbounded Now.” We can live in each day, each now, not worrying about when it will end. Because when we realize as Ann did that “Time is made for dying in a thousand ways,” we no longer to have to fear time’s limits.
Death stops time for us here…but maybe when we die to self, we break time here and our sacrificial love breaks into eternity, going on forever…Isn’t that exactly what Jesus did to break time’s death grip on us? He died, and His death broke a hole in the wall of time…and [made] a new possible door for us all to escape out of time? Maybe temporary time is made for dying to self – so your eternal self can really live.
-Ann Voscamp, The Broken Way
Time loses its power over us when we begin to “listen with our whole heart to the tick of God’s timing,” rather than obsessively check the clock.
If God truly made time so we can die in a thousand ways, then we can truly live “every day like [we’re] terminal” and “every day like [our] soul’s eternal.” We can live freely and fearlessly and discover the beauty and joy that comes from multiplying our time for the sake of others.