Time is an interesting concept. As a teacher, my day is run by the little wristwatch ticking over the seconds and the minutes to the next phase of the lesson, the next class, the next meeting; on my whiteboard is the classroom clock which torments my students with how long they need to suffer for or how close they are to freedom.
The College Calendar also notes the passing of time in days and months, terms and semesters, and major life events are planned around this calendar – my upcoming wedding for example.
As I approached the end of the first teaching term and the copious amounts of marking that flooded my desk in those last two weeks, I heard myself saying to people that, ‘There aren’t enough hours in the day to do what I need to do…’ – a sentiment I’m sure we’ve all experienced at one point or another.
Where does all the time go?
How we prioritise time is also a fascinating study. Whatever we categorise as being important in our lives often receives a greater allocation of time and this can be confronting. Working 70 hours a week and forgetting to be home by 6:00 to have dinner with the family?
Neglecting university assignments and important study because you’re too busy having a social life to care about your future? How we spend our time, what we allocate out time to, reveals so much about what we value.
The big reveal
In a staff meeting a couple of weeks ago, I was reminded of a true and powerful reality. A beautiful and respected woman, a matriarch of the College, was asked to close in prayer at the end of a regular morning staff devotion, and as she prayed this one sentence has remained with me, ‘Thank you Lord for reminding us that we are only guaranteed today…’.
In that moment I was reminded of a simple truth – I had received the breath of life to wake up again that morning and this was no indicator, no promise, that I would have that same experience the next day.
This spoken statement, this single sentence and its implications, churned in my mind for a long time afterward, because if you view each day as -This is one day I have guaranteed to me - then that should drastically alter how you use the time blessed to you in that day.
Please note, this is no promotion of the idea that we should all leave our jobs and responsibilities and live according to our passions and desires – it should encourage us, as believers, to live purposefully and intentionally. Simply: we are living on borrowed (blessed) time. At the end of my day, if it’s going to be my last day, I want to know that God has been pleased with how I’ve used the time blessed to me.
There are certain realities of life that are inescapable, for example, we all need to work and that is a natural part of this natural life.
If today is going to be my last day, then I want to make sure that whatever it is that I am doing (whether it happens to be teaching, or doing housework, or preparing dinner for my future husband or family) I want to ensure that I am doing that task, that activity, with my best effort, aware that this is the day that the Lord has made – this is the only day I have guaranteed to me until (if) I draw breath again the next morning.
Reflecting on what it is that I have just written, this does have the potential to sound puritanical, maybe even self-righteous, coming across perhaps as a desperate plea for everyone to live in heightened spiritual enlightenment?
It’s really none of those things. In spite of this huge revelation in my own life, I almost instantly forget how I’m now trying to live my life as I get caught up in the down and dirty of just dealing with everyday life and the inevitable frustrations that go along with being in the world but not of the world.
Personally, this is a reminder from my heavenly Father that while He has placed desires in my heart for me to pursue, He also has plans for my life in how my life is going to lead others to Him, in the way in which I am going to be a good witness for Him, and the time in which I have to fulfil His plans has an end date.
Where to now?
So, how am I going to sustain this new mental and spiritual shift in my approach to each day? By remembering the blessing God has given me to have another day and ensuring that what I do in that day - my interactions with others and the attitude in which I approach each task – is motivated by love and not by fear.
Let’s be frank: anything motivated by fear is unsustainable. If I am going to live each day to the glory of God it is going to be because I love that He loved me first and not out of fear that if I don’t, I no longer fall under His love and blessings.
Janna Mills is a 29-year-old Christian and educator from Queensland and is excited to be marrying the second greatest love of her life in July, 2018! Her interests include reading, writing, eating, the beach, travel and connecting with young people who are trying to walk out their love and relationship with Christ in a Middle School setting.
Janna Cutler (nee Mills) is a Christian and educator from Queensland who married the second greatest love of her life in last July,. Janna's interests include reading, writing, eating, the beach, travel and connecting with young people who are trying to walk out their love and relationship with Christ in a middle school setting.
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