Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What is This Moment For?

Happy New Year! After a wonderful and reflective Christmas holiday, I am back and full of new thoughts...

Last year was the year after the Wedding. It was also a year filled with running. I think it started with the adrenaline rush of planning an event as big as a wedding and spilled over into the small tasks of daily living. I began to live for list-making and list-crossing-off. I read tons of motivating productivity blogs, like Simple Mom, Fly Lady, and LifeHacker. I wanted to streamline every process, eliminate waste and clutter in daily life. ..and every closet, car trunk, and cabinet. I tried to plan each minute and coordinate them with my big red planner; efficiency was the ultimate goal.

It was thrilling, I will admit. By the time Christmas rolled around, I had a mostly organized home (it's hard to maintain perfect order) and a well-planned new year, but my heart was speedracing through the Christmas Eve service. For no reason. Here we were, all the way in South Carolina to celebrate the holidays with family, nothing in the world on my plate to stress me, and my heart was pounding so loud and fast during the solo that I looked at Dean to see if he could hear it.

Something was off. For a right-brained person like myself, learning the skills of organization and running an efficient home are worthy goals...these things don't come naturally to me, as to others (My dear friend Kelley is a Professional Organizer!). But shouldn't there be some balance? Shouldn't I know how to work when it's time to work, and play and relax and enjoy life when it is time for those things?

Ecclesiastes 3:1 - "There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven."

So I picked up a highly-recommended book, The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath, by Mark Buchanan.

In it, he describes time this way:

"Embedded in the Greek language were two distinct words for "time." The first word is chronos --familiar to us because it's the root of many of our own words: chronology, chronicle, chronic. It is the time of clock and calendar, time as a gauntlet, time as a forced march. The word derives from one of the gods in the Greek pantheon. Chronos was always consuming, never consummated...Chronos is the presiding deity of the driven....

The second Greek word is kairos. This is time as a gift, as opportunity, as season. It is time pregnant with purpose. In kairos time you ask, not "What time is it?" but "What is this time for?" Kairos is the servant of holy purpose." (page 36)

What is this time for?

When God created us, He designed our moments with a clear purpose in mind for each one.

Imagine asking yourself, not "Do I have time to go to the gym before Lost comes on?" but rather facing the clock, or better, asking the Lord in your heart, "What is this moment for?"

As I have begun this simple practice in my heart, I hear such clear directives. Sometimes, I want to read, and He has told me "this moment is for you to rest. Take a nap." And sometimes, He has nudged me and shown me that this moment is perfect for sweeping the floor.

Each moment has a purpose.

A moment to decorate a home for the holidays.

A moment to bask in the glow.

A moment to entertain friends.

A moment for exercise.

A moment to try a new recipe.

A moment to share with others.

A moment to love.

A moment to come home.

This new year is already one of deeper breaths, of slower steps, of less lists and yet more accomplished. In the days to come, I will share with you my journey of learning to slow down, to listen, and to celebrate the Sabbath.


emily freeman said...

Amen! I'm standing on my ottoman, applauding this post. Thank you for thinking it just like I have...and thank you for writing it so I don't have to.

Also, thank you for your encouragement on my post today. I actually have been wanting to pick your brain about this project I'm working on. I'll keep you posted :)

Heather said...

So well said, KC. It stirs my own thoughts -- and wouldn't you know that just last week I also picked up a book on Sabbath rest by Marva Dawn (something like "Sabbath Rest for God's People.."). I haven't found the time (ha, ha) to read it yet ... but once I do, let's chat. I love the encouragement to ask "what is this moment for?" v. "do I have time for this?" THANK you for leading my heart to rest on a day/week/month/season where I much need it.

Unknown said...

Katherine! Hi! I hope you are doing well. I found your blog through Facebook and hope to keep up with it in the future. I really enjoyed this post. The challenge before us all - balance - now this is the blessing and curse of living in a prosperous country, isn't it?! We have so many opportunities and so little time. I am constantly confronted with information overload and the desire to be doing a million things... truly a "martha" I am!

God has given me four children in five years, and if that isn't a big huge 'SLOW DOWN' sign, then I don't know what is! You would think I would have it down by now, but every day I fight my schedule and the urge to cram as much in as possible. God whispers to me 1 Sam. 15 - "Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams..." If I could stop more and listen to His voice instead of my own agenda, how much more "productive" (for the kingdom!) would I be!

Having small children has forced me to re-prioritize in so many ways. I would LOVE to have a perfectly neat and clean house 24-7 (and my husband knows I would make it happen!), but it is almost impossible with 4 little ones. There is always one corner, or the garage, or the van that is messy or needs attention. I try so hard, but often there is an unwanted trade-off, like irritable children, tired husband, or a wife who hasn't showered in 2 days! It's good that God is teaching you these things now before you have children because You will surely be a better wife and mom for it and have more balance and peace in your home!

This is long! haha - All that to say -- good word! Thank you!

I haven't read the book you mentioned. I also want to read "Margin/the Overload Syndrome" by Richard Swenson; my pastor alluded to it during a sermon last year.

I will be reading - keep in touch!!!

Kelley said...

i love you!

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