Our Futile Struggle Against Time

Time just keeps flying by, doesn’t it? Time is such a weird thing. Sometimes it seems a hour, a day, a week, can take forever, especially when we are waiting for something good to happen. Then other times we say things like “I can’t believe how fast this month has flown by.” And of course, the older we get, the faster time seems to fly by.

I remember thinking when I was a child that the world would end before I was able to get my driver’s license, graduate high school, get married, have kids, etc. Do you remember having those thoughts too? I also remember hearing the “old folks” (who in reality were then about my age now) talking about how time seemed to pass by faster and faster with each passing year. I remember thinking they were probably on the verge of some sort of old folks’ disease that obviously affected their thinking! hahahahahaaha

Now I find myself puzzled with where all the time goes and hear myself say to my other “old folk” friends, “Can you believe how time seems to speed up every year?” And I imagine there is some kid overhearing that conversation thinking we are just confused old folks! hahahahhahahaha

The real issue is that none of us have a guarantee of what tomorrow holds for us. None of us know how many breaths we have remaining in this life. But what we do know for certain is that time is flying by at record speed, and every minute spent can never be recaptured. We say things like, “Can you believe it is 2021?” “Can you believe it is tax time already?” “Can you believe school is out already?” “Can you believe summer is halfway over?” And so go the conversations year after year.

Even though this phenomenon happens every year to each of us, we always seem surprised by it. It is like we think that somehow, we will get ahead of the curve next year. Somehow, we will be able to control the pace of our calendar and get everything done we plan to accomplish. But it never happens. Life just keeps on coming like relentless waves constantly crashing against the shore.

Life happens. Good and bad, great and horrible, average and extraordinary, boring and exciting, complex and simple. Life just keeps on coming at the same relentless pace of 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days a year, 24 hours per day, 60 minutes per hour, 60 seconds per minute…over and over again.

It is so easy to get so caught up in the pace of life that we forget to really live. Our priorities get all confused and we find ourselves “running on fumes”. Jesus would say that our absolute highest priority is to love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind, and that our second highest priority would be to love our neighbor as ourselves. The “rat race” is not our friend. It will destroy us if it is left unchecked and unbalanced.

Every breath we breathe, every minute we spend takes us one minute closer to our last breath and our last minute on this earth. Rest when it is time to rest. Work hard when it is time to work. Play when it is time to play. Laugh when it is time to laugh. Cry with it is time to cry. But always remember that minute spend can never be recaptured. Make every opportunity count.

Trade-Offs Determine Results

Life is full of trade-offs. A trade-off is something we exchange for something else. Obviously, we trade money for the various products we buy, but there are many more trade-offs we make also. We trade time, energy, finances, health, comfort, opportunities, peace of mind, sleep, relationships, dreams, goals, a clear conscious, etc… for what we want in that particular moment.

Yes, it is obvious that our live are full of trade-offs. Trade-offs are determined by our value system, in other words, what we place the highest value on at that time. Our value system tends to change based on our circumstances. For example, I would never pay $20 for a hamburger; that is just not going to happen.

But if I get hungry enough, I would trade a twenty-dollar bill for a hamburger. Those “I’d never…” statements we make seem to be “adjusted” to fit our situation if the circumstances get dire enough, or tempting enough, or luring enough.

There is a great story in Matt 4:17-22 about Jesus calling his first disciples; “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”  At once they left their nets and followed him.  Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him”

Think of all Peter, Andrew, James, and John exchanged or traded-off to follow Christ. They left everything, and they did it “at once”. Now, think about what those four men would have missed if they had not been willing to make that trade.

Our trade-offs determine the results of our lives. As we make the various trade-offs of our everyday life, our decisions are leading us down a path that is paved with the results of the various trade-offs we have made. If the path we are traveling is not taking us to the designation or end result we are hoping for, it is the direct result of the trade-offs we have made.

Trade-offs affect every single area of out lives; our finances, our health, our relationships, our spiritual development, and on and on the list goes. Let’s use a simple example; if we stay up late to watch TV or play on the computer, or talk with a friend, then the next day are falling asleep at work. So we trade sleep for whatever we were doing, then we pay the price for that trade-off the next day. If we continue that making that trade-off, the lack of sleep will continue to affect us.

So let’s say, that we lose our job because the boss caught us dosing off. Staying up late, and losing a little sleep seemed harmless, until it was allowed to continue to the point we lose a job over it. I could pick any area of trade-off to make the same point; trade-offs by themselves are not that harmful by themselves, but when allowed to continue repetitiously, they accumulative result can be devastating.

This week consider trade-offs you are currently making that are either currently having a negative affect on your life or will have a negative affect if you do not deal with it. Next week, I will write about some trade-offs worth making.