“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered – how fleeting my life is.” – Psalm 39:4, NLT
Ever noticed how fast time goes by? How quickly the days turn to weeks, the weeks add up into months, the months into years and the years into a lifetime? I could swear time speeds up the older you get!
We don’t quite appreciate the value of time. Time is precious because it is so fleeting. We often pretend that our lives will go on forever but our shelf life is limited and there’s a “use by” date indelibly stamped on each life.
Time is one of our greatest resources and yet, we are often such poor managers of it. How much of our time is wasted on meaningless pursuits, on things that matter little in the great scheme of life, on things that will soon be forgotten? Most people never live their best life because they spend their time majoring in minor things.
Busyness in itself is no measure of value. Our days can be filled with activity but are we making a difference, are we growing, are we improving, are we moving towards our goals? Busyness without a greater purpose is just another form of meaningless activity. At the end of the day, it leaves us with that gnawing sense that we could have done more, that so much of the day was wasted on minor things. It casts a shadow over our past instead of a sense of fulfillment.
Can it be that the Spirit of God is trying to tell us something? Can it be God is urgently reminding us that the sands of time are quickly running out on us?
How do we take back the time and spend it on things that really matter? How do we master our days and make it serve the purposes of our heart? Unless we take back the time, we are never going to get things done — that dream will never become a reality, that ambition will never find fulfillment, that goal will never be reached.
Time is the currency we must pay to accomplish the things we want done in life.
Everyone is given the same amount of time each day: 24 hours, 1440 minutes, 86,400 seconds. Some invest it to build endearing relationships, lay the foundations for business empires, write books, make great speeches, learn a foreign language, play a musical instrument, get a degree, improve themselves, serve others, accomplish great things for God, etc. The average person uses it only to get by, to earn a living, to complete their tasks, to be entertained. Time unwisely spent gets you mediocrity; time wisely invested can take you to the heights.
Most people demand too little of themselves; they don’t hold themselves to the higher standards they know they should be measured against. We need to be a lot harder and more demanding on ourselves if we are ever going to reach for our dreams and be the person we know we can be.
Michelangelo warned that “the greatest danger for most of us is not that we aim too high and miss the mark but that we aim too low and hit.” Isn’t it better to aim high and fail rather than aim low and succeed?
Every single person is born with amazing gifts, talents and callings but most never even discover the true potential of their gifts because their gifts are starved of the time that is needed to prosper and grow. Time is like the water, the air, the sunshine that our gifts, talents and callings need to take root and grow and reach the heights of achievement.
People often ask how do they take back the time, manage it better, put it to work on things that matter, but that is the wrong question. Our libraries are full of good books on the subject. A simple Google search will throw up a multitude of helpful suggestions, methods and programs. All that is missing is the will, the determination to live differently, to live for purpose, to make the most of our days.
And for that we have to look within. We have to have a long and frank talk with ourselves. What’s our purpose? What do we want to achieve with the days that are left to us? What do we want to leave behind? How much do we want what we want? What price will we pay for the goals we set before ourselves? From that will come the drive to take back our days and put it in the service of our purpose. Out of that will grow the urgency to seize the day, Carpe Diem, in Latin.
“Once the soul awakens, the search begins and you can never go back. From then on, you are inflamed with a special longing that will never again let you linger in the lowlands of complacency and partial fulfillment. The eternal makes you urgent. You are loath to let compromise or the threat of danger hold you back from striving toward the summit of fulfillment.” ~ John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom