Where Does the Time Go?

You might have asked that question yourself with bewilderment and even frustration. Our days are packed with activities and we find ourselves wishing for more time to do even more. Not enough time to do all the things we want to do. We feel shortchanged.

Simplify? Cut something out of the schedule? Slow down? We give it a thought (not too long though - not enough time to linger over the questions.) Then, we go back to the grind. We have developed a habit at doing what doesn't really work (health wise, relations wise). And we keep at it, perhaps out of the unconscious fear of having to re-define ourselves (what we want, our values, our meaning in life). After all we may find order, consistency, predictability and emotional security in being busy.

Our busy-ness is a strategy to meet profound needs. Are we linking self-worth and self-esteem to being busy? Are we looking for acceptance ("If I'm not busy, am I lazy?") and belonging ("If everybody is busy and I am not, what's wrong with me?") by being busy? Are my relations to myself (physical/mental health, personal growth and spiritual development) and to others (companionship, closeness, warmth) being served by me being that busy? While some needs are being met, others may go partially or totally unmet. And I and others (especially those closest to me) may suffer in the log run. Although we may not be able to meet all our needs at the same time, are some needs being met at the expense of other needs? Are all needs being held as equally important?

Slowing down is utterly countercultural. Yet, it may afford us the opportunity for important self awareness and growth. Clarity about ourselves and our needs will be the immediate result. Another enjoyable consequence will be better control of our time.

Christians around the world are invited during the Season of Lent to consider strengthening their faith through the evangelical disciplines of prayer, fasting, and alms giving. The slowing down involved with the practice of the evangelical disciplines will inspire us to reconnect with the divine purpose for our life on this planet, and at the same time give us ample breath to enjoy ourselves and our life with others.