A few weeks on our podcast, Alan interviewed our friend and recording artist, Tim Timmons, on the theme of 10,000 minutes. That’s how many minutes we have outside of church each week. Tim’s point is that it can be easy to connect with God in those 80 minutes gathered on the weekend, but what about the 10,000 minutes we are not?
Many years ago, I overheard a very interesting conversation while returning a DVD at Blockbuster (remember when we used to rent movies from a store?). Behind the desk, there were two clerks bantering about the computer system. Evidently, every time they used the computer, some promotional pictures came up and they had to wait for them in order to get the customer information they were accessing.
One of the young guys said, “Yeah, it takes like 15 seconds to get to the screen you want. It sucks.” I chuckled to myself. The clerk said that sentence in earnest. 15 secondswas an imposition.
Last Sunday, Alan and I were at IKEA. The clerk was helping us order some items on their computer. As she began the process, she apologized for how long it was taking for the screen to load. Can you guess how long it actually took to load? About 15 seconds. Okay, maybe 20. But do you see how we have been trained by technology? 15-20 seconds seems like an eternity when you expect something in 2-3 seconds.
These are two prime examples of our cultural issues with hurry and speed. It seems to be getting worse. With our computers, phones and tablets we expect things to happen lightning fast. I still sometimes find myself saying things like, “What is taking this page so long to load?” and “Can’t this file download any faster?”
What kind of a life is it if I can’t wait 15 seconds for something to happen? I fight that inner hurry almost every day in my own life. I don’t enjoy that feeling. I also don’t really consider myself to be a Type A person, and yet I struggle with that need to “move forward to that next thing.”
It’s one thing to have this expectation with technology. It’s another if we expect things to happen snap-snap in our soul. It can take a great deal of effort to not let the culture and the information age determine how things work.
We talk here often about the pace of grace. We move at the pace of grace and we change at the pace of transformation. What is that pace? How long does it take to grow an oak tree? If you want to grow a squash, that’s one thing, but a sequoia—that’s another.
In Alan’s book, An Unhurried Life, the last chapter is entitled, “An Eternal Life.” In it, Alan says, “If we have eternal life in Christ, then we have unlimited time…. I’m talking about the “eternal life” perspective that exposes the lie that “I just don’t have time for this, that or the other.” How many times do we say no to good things because of this mistaken belief that we don’t have time? Every time I say the words “I don’t have time,” I am strengthening the hold that hurry has on me. The reality is that all of us on this planet have the same amount of time day by day, and, in Christ, we have all of eternity. Put differently, in Christ, I have all the time I need for whatever God is giving me to do or inviting me into. And that is an eternal-life—an unhurried-life—perspective.
What I really want is to enjoy every moment…to truly be with the person I am with…to listen well…to be content…to not feel stressed inside. And I want to be a sequoia, not a squash. How about you?
Today, why not let this be your prayer:
“In Christ, I have all the time I need for whatever God is giving me to do or inviting me into.”
That would be 15 seconds well spent.