A woman holding sand running out of her fingers by Ben White via Unsplash
Who Are You

The tyranny of time made beautiful

“Time is waiting in the wings.” – David Bowie

“Hold fast the time. Guard it!” – Thomas Mann

I have always felt like I’m running out of time. I know this is normal for adults, particularly in the internet age, but it started when I was a kid.

I hurried from place to place, not just with my body, but in my mind and heart, always jumping to the next thing and the next and the next, cramming as many activities, thoughts, and feelings into 24 hours as possible, spurred on by an unshakable conviction that time was slipping from my grasp and I had to catch up.

My mom once drew a picture of me that looked liked like this:

As you can imagine, this laid the foundation for some interesting cognitive stuff.

The ruts of time-panic got deeper, manifesting in perfectionism, control, pride, depression, anxiety, and a smidge of bipolar as I went into adulthood. I frequently melted down over not having accomplished “enough” or being “too old” to do so (this at 20, can you imagine). My inner critical voice—the Evil Auctioneer—wore a giant wristwatch that he tapped with a sinister smile every time I took a break. Medication didn’t help. Productivity didn’t help. Nothing I did (or didn’t do) could break the dragging leash of the ticking clock.

That was my life for 35 years.

But God.

I won’t say that I met Jesus and suddenly I understood that time is a construct, relative in its passing to our perspective, and that I grasped the immensity of having not just one mortal life but the fullness of eternity to learn, grow, and do. Because I didn’t. And anyone who says they did is selling you something.

What I will say is that, in the last two years, I’ve noticed slack in the leash. That my pace has slowed in order for me to savor the time rather than collapsing from exhaustion trying to beat it. That, while I still have a sense of nebulous urgency, I can close my eyes and let it pass through me for Jesus to hold until it’s needed.

I also now see time as a companion rather than a competitor always outpacing me. I can look back on years, projects, relationships past and instead of regret or shame for not having done or been more, there is precious appreciation rather than bitter self-damnation.

Carefully and quietly, God has taken my lifelong curse of temporal, existential fear and transformed it into eternal, unhurried joy.

I still have rushed days—all parents of small children do —but they’re less. Less frequent, less manic, less destructive.

More days, I see time passing and smile, storing up in my heart what is precious and letting the rest go by, savoring what I cannot keep for its transient nature and remembering that this life is not forever, it’s just for now. That Heaven waits with even better rewards.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart.” [Ecc 3:11 NIV]

This post is part of Five-Minute Friday. This week’s prompt is HOLD. If you’d like to join in the fun, click here!

10 thoughts on “The tyranny of time made beautiful”

    1. Aw, thank you! It’s been an interesting picture that God’s shown me about time. It’s something we get to experience while we’re on earth, unique to this place and not found in Heaven. When I can look at it as a gift rather than a countdown, it makes everything so much more friendly and peaceful!

  1. Here are my favorite things from this oh-so-beautiful post:
    time-panic … But God.
    Love love love this. Blessings upon blessings to you. Visiting from FMF, #28

  2. Thanks for sharing your story! Knowing that God is in charge of time definitely helps us learn to slow down a bit and savour the moments.

    1. Absolutely! It can be very hard to remember when you’re waiting or hurting, but it’s a core tenet of the universe that God’s time is the only time that matters. That makes it easier to slow down a bit, for sure.

    1. Yes, same! I especially love that healing can happen in the background, rather than POW all at once. It makes it easier for me to trust that it will happen somehow.

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