It’s not ‘my time’

I’ve been doing an unprecedented amount of grumbling lately — both inside my head and outside it — about lots of things, but especially about time.

This guy and I have a lot in common these days.

This guy and I have a lot in common these days.

I don’t have time to work out.

I don’t have time to clean my room or do my laundry (and even when I get it washed I never seem to get it folded or ironed).

I so rarely get any time to myself.

The work day takes up so much time and I seem to waste so much of it.

I climbed into my car at the end of the  day yesterday and set off with a sigh, half thinking about my time and wondering where it all goes and why I always feel so guilty about the way I use it, and half thinking about my evening plans and whether or not I’d remembered to pack comfortable shoes. (My toes were pinched in the heels I’d been wearing all day, but I didn’t have time to dash home for a quick change.)

Over the past two weeks I’ve been using my commute to listen to C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters via YouTube recording on my iPhone, and I plugged in the latest chapter and turned it on. For the record, I love listening to books on tape read by British actors. Maybe it makes me feel intelligent, or maybe I just love the accent, but a book on tape is only half good unless it’s read in that sweet, snobbish, slightly ironic accent. 

And wouldn’t you know that the chapter I happened to be listening to was chapter 21 (or Letter 21, if you’re being exact), which deals precisely with demons making their “patients” feel peevish by allowing them to assume that their time is their own. 

It may be odd, but nothing makes me feel better about life, the universe, and everything quite like realizing in my darker moments that God is laughing at me. That all the issues I’ve been taking so seriously and assuming are my own responsibility aren’t really anything at all, and will I please just let go the reins and remember that nothing I have is my own, not even the hours I schedule so carefully day after day and let myself get so worked up about. 

 

My time is not my time. It’s a gift. And I should start treating it that way.

Thank you, C.S. Lewis, for the needed reminder.

-Mabel

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3 thoughts on “It’s not ‘my time’

  1. Well, admittedly, I am confused. What is the conclusion? Time is a precious gift, I agree, but thus…. what? Treating our time like a gift means we should be more organized and get everything done? Or not worry about what we want on our schedule and give our time to others, since it is not ours? To be Marys and not Marthas? Spend more time with friends on the weekend and helping strangers? Going to those parties to which we are invited?

    Please Enlighten Me!!!!

    I’ve actually only more recently (after a move to a better place) for about a month now been able to maintain a more meaningful routine, that includes cooking healthy from the local farmer’s market, washing dishes, 30 min of daily exercise, weekly laundry, etc. and I find I have time left over every evening and the weekend besides (and yes, my laundry is all put away and folded and the floors vacuumed). I don’t really have a secret–one weekend after typically feeling woeful over my shortcomings I made a list of goals, put it in my kitchen, made it clear to myself why they must be accomplished, and now it all gets done every day, even those days when I’m tired and whiney after work and just want to sit in a chair or eat something unhealthy. On days like that, it is more forgiveable to make sure “something worth doing is worth doing badly,” as G.K. Chesterton said, than to throw up one’s hands in frustration and surrender.

    Just keep going, and don’t explain it away! Efficiency is a virtue, and the wasted time it removes from your life is its own reward.

    • Listen to the C.S. Lewis chapter. This wasn’t meant to be a how to on dealing with time, but simply my own brief reflection on a realization I had that I need to change the way I approach both time itself and time management. When you approach it with the attitude of ownership, you’re already coming at it the wrong way.

      What that means in practice will differ from one person to the next, and from day to day.

      The only takeaway I have for you is: pray about it. How does God want you to use the hours he’s given you today?

      -Mabel

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