Anyone who knows me will tell you: I like to be productive. Relaxing isn’t really my thing. It’s hard for me to “turn off”. Dawdling? Lingering, dallying, taking one’s time, being slow and idle wasting time – no, not for me. Definitely no.
Ecclesiastes 3 teaches us,
‘For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time.
I like it. I like everything having a specific time. I like routines and procedures and hard work and accomplishments and completion. I like a beginning and an end. Getting to check an item off my to-do list? Yes! “Oh rapture, oh bliss!” (sorry – obscure Gilbert and Sullivan reference there. The three people who got it enjoyed it!)
Well, the other morning, in the middle of all my routines, I surprised myself. Michael and I had been on vacation (cabin in the middle of nowhere, no cell phones, no wi-fi, no TV, it was glorious!) and were set to leave the next day. I know how long it takes me to get ready: 1 hour, 45 minutes. It takes me that long every day, and trust me: the queen of routine has it timed down to the last minute. Michael decided we would leave at 5:00am, so we would miss traffic in both of the major cities we’d hit on the way home. Okay, so quick math: I need to get up at 3:15 if I’m going to be ready. Yikes – 3:15? Even for an early bird like me, that’s crazy. If I skip my makeup and flat iron, maybe I can shave a few minutes off. Who am I kidding – I can skip make-up, but the flat iron is a non-negotiable. Alright, I’ll set the alarm for 3:45 (still crazy, but less crazy, right?) and if I’m not ready, I’ll put make-up on in the car when the sun comes up.
The alarm went off at 3:45. Lord Jesus help me, the alarm went off at 3:45. Well, no time to dawdle (and I don’t like to dawdle anyway, right?), so I better get going. Shower. Blow-dry. Dress. Flat iron. Don’t know what time it is, but Michael isn’t up yet, so I’ll start make-up and get as far as I can. All done! Made it in plenty of time – Michael is still in bed! Pack my morning stuff in my bag, suitcase is already packed from the night before. Walk out to grab my phone and check the time.
It’s 4:15. Yes, 4:15am. Seriously – I did ALL of that in 30 minutes? How is this possible?
While I was waiting out 45 minutes I had to spare, I considered the difference between this morning and every other morning of my adult life. Today, I used my time to shower-blow dry-flat iron-make up exclusively. What did I do yesterday and every other day? Well, as it turns out: I was dawdling and loving it! Every other morning: I get up, and think about my day. Pray. I exercise. Pray the workout would be over (not my most spiritual moment, just being honest). I go to the shower, and sit on the cool tile checking Facebook while I wait for hot water. I find a show on Netflix and read closed captioning while I blow dry. I read a little bit, I pray a little bit. I eat breakfast (either a banana-spinach smoothie or Special K red berries, same every day). I put make-up on. I cuddle my puppy (she has no delusions about herself like I did: she loves a dawdle and has no shame about it!). I look at the time – once I get to this point, I need about 10 minutes to dress and flat-iron, and I have plenty of time actually, so I read a little more, check a little more Facebook, pray a little more, think a little more, gather a little more quiet.
I love those first hours of the day – there’s no schedule and there doesn’t have to be. There’s no student or friend or family member with any demands on my time. It’s not time to clock in at work yet. It’s a wonderful time to dawdle and apparently I love to dawdle at the right time! There is a time for everything, even for dawdling – what a surprise!
What surprises you about your personality? Ask the Lord to reveal to you something you didn’t know about yourself – something enjoyable you didn’t know about yourself. He delights in you – did you know that? He is here to offer correction, but He is also here to enjoy a relationship with you, just the way you are! Realizing that I like a daily dawdle was a nice surprise – and I’ll enjoy it a little more now, no shame!
Knowing that I can actually get ready in 30 minutes doesn’t make a difference: I’m gonna get up early tomorrow morning and dawdle all over again. I’m going to be thankful to the Lord for the realization that this time is a luxury, an unaccounted for gift, a “time to keep” like Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 3. Bonus for me: because I’m getting started early, I have lots more day left to enjoy and accomplish!
A “time to keep” is a treasure! No matter what your routines, I’m praying that you find a time to slow down and enjoy the presence of the Lord!