For the third Saturday in a row, our family is overbooked. We start with a soccer game, then a tea at the church, and then the May Fest at the girls’ school. And, while each event will bring its own measure of joy, I can’t help but wonder about how the cumulative effect may diminish the enjoyment of the day.
Like most people today, I have discovered that I’m engaged in a battle with the busy-ness of life. I sense this struggle at home, where competing voices call us to do things or be places, thus creating a dizzying swirl of activity. I experience it at the church, where we face the daily struggle to fit meetings or study or fellowship into an already over-booked congregation.
I think that’s why I’ve been thinking of a song about time by Beth Neilsen Chapman lately:
All the time in the world Climbs the walls, swells the door
It goes flying out the window All the time in the world…
These precious days we live throughThrown away like tissue
I wish that I could give you all the time in the world
Of course, I’m prone to think that having more time might just create more opportunities to fill it with even more activity. No, what’s needed is a greater ability to recognize things of true importance. What is missing, I think, in our fragmented culture is any sense of how to choose between good things which call to us.
A couple of weekends ago, a young child in the congregation where I serve gave me a glimpse of what this can look like. Tyler is an exceptional athlete who is playing soccer in the same league as Rachel this year. On one Saturday, he had been invited to attend a birthday party at Pump It Up–a place whose siren song calls loudly to children his age. (Not to mention the cake and ice cream.)
Tyler was faced with a difficult decision of deciding which good and pressing thing he would do that day. Here’s what he told his mom, “I have to go to the game, because I’ve made a commitment to my team.”
It’s not all the time in the world that we need to give each other. I think the real gift of value is the one Tyler displayed–the ability to discern where time and priorities and commitments meet. And, when the moment of decision comes, to choose wisely.