I’ve been doing a lot of thinking of late about the purpose of a day. We’re all given them. But do we really know what they are for?
Honestly, when I think of a day I think of a period of time to complete work. I think of projects, deadlines, and schedules. We’re given days to accomplish things right? I mean, if that’s not what they’re for, what is our life for?
Somehow though, those of us with this mindset don’t ever tend to feel like our work is done. Days and projects come and go and somehow we’re always convinced the end is in sight, but find that when we stumble on it, it’s only a mirage. One thing finished always seems to lead to another to be accomplished.
I’ve long since known that busyness is one of the biggest things I need to guard against in my own life and I’ve spent years trying to change my tendency to pack my days to overflowing. In some ways I have been successful. I’m learning to say no and not cram my days so full that I have no time for the things that are really important. But the truth of the matter is that if you ask me how I’m doing I’ll still respond with the same answer I’ve been fighting for years. “Busy.”
Really, my days are not as packed as they could be. Sure, I still have an unaccomplished to do list in the back of my head, but I’m starting to realize that maybe busyness is not the root of my problem anymore.
Maybe it’s a mindset— a misunderstanding of what a day is for.
I look around me and I sense that I’m not the only one battling this mindset. It’s predominant in our culture and it’s taking thousands in it’s grip.
There is an element of society that sees each day as playtime. The very thought of studying and working is irksome. Why work when you can goof off? Normally though, such mindsets are not esteemed too highly in our accomplishment driven society.
I wonder if a lot of us have swung to the other extreme. What if our days weren’t about accomplishment after all?
When the first man was given his first day, was it really all about accomplishing things? I’m sitting here trying to imagine Adam running around the garden of Eden in a mad panic because he hadn’t named every animal yet, or mowed all the grass on the hills, or picked enough different kinds of fruit. Seriously? It sounds absurd. Almost sacrilegious.
And yet we think it’s ok for us.
Maybe Adam was not given the gift of a day to accomplish. He was given the gift of a day to love and learn and grow and give himself to relationships. It was all about being a companion of God… about enjoying the beauty God had surrounded him with and learning as much as he could from the world around him.
When did that change? Or did it?
Sin came in, but I’ve never read anywhere that the purpose of a day changed. We were given work as a safeguard from evil— as something to healthfully occupy our hands and draw our hearts to God.
I can’t help thinking how different that sounds to the kind of work we do now. Aren’t we the ones who are always talking about how busy we are and how it’s hard to have time for God?
Wait a minute. If our work was given us so that we wouldn’t slip from His side in an evil world, is it possible that we have turned one of our greatest blessings into one of our greatest curses?
When we say we define our days in terms of busyness we admit that we have forgotten the very purpose of those days. When we say we are so busy working that we don’t have time for God, we prove that we no longer understand why we were given work in the first place.
I’m preaching to myself here. I can’t say I’m an expert at uprooting a mentality that has gone so deep into our society and my own soul. Most days I don’t know where to start. But I think I’m starting to get a taste, and the more I taste, the more I want.
Maybe the most important thing in our day is to be a companion to the One we were made to love. Maybe the very thing we were created for never changed. Because really, where did taking walks with God in the cool of the day become replaced by studying or working long into the night?
Maybe what we learn in a day is worth ten times what we accomplish. Maybe stopping to listen to that person who is hurting or reach that need placed in our path is a hundred times more important than our to do list.
Maybe we can’t plan every part of our days out. Maybe true joy comes from spontaneous conversations with God and the people He places around us.
I can’t help wondering how different we would be if we saw our days as He does. Would we then take time for long and deep conversations with God at unexpected times? Would we learn the lessons He’s been trying to teach us for years but we never even heard because we were too busy to listen?
I don’t want to keep wondering. I want to know from personal experience.
Because really, maybe we’ll rush through all of our jam-packed days with empty hearts until we learn to lay our busy mindset down and empty our days before Him so that He can fill them with Himself.
Something tells me it is then we’ll taste the true blessing of work… then that we’ll experience the real companionship with God that we were made for.
Maybe it is only then we will taste the real purpose of a day… and slowly the days will add up and we’ll find the real purpose of our life.
To be friends with God.
Every day. Every minute. Every second.