So you think you need more time ...
A Christian Science perspective on daily life.
The lazy days of summer have passed, and autumn schedules are revving up. For many people, there seems to be more to do than there is time to do it. It's a rare person who hasn't cried out for more time at one point or another. But are we really held hostage by time?Skip to next paragraph
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Time keeps us orderly in the daily scene. It helps us know when to take the food out of the oven, when the train leaves, or how fast we ran a mile. Those things and others like them are useful. It's when time tries to tell us what to do that we run into problems. That's why having a right sense of time is so important.
Mary Baker Eddy, who founded Christian Science, included the word "time" in the glossary of terms she provided in her principle work, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." She described time in this way: "Mortal measurements; limits, in which are summed up all human acts, thoughts, beliefs, opinions, knowledge; matter; error ..." (p. 595). "Mortal measurements, limits" are not something most of us really want more of. So instead of asking for more time, perhaps we need to restate what most of us may really be looking for instead – more accomplishment.
How do we get more accomplished? One step in the right direction is simply to give one's consent to do the work at hand. Anyone who has had a child in the household, or remembers being a child, knows the scene in which children moan and groan about the work in front of them. They'll spend 40 minutes complaining about the work itself, how unfair it is, or how unprepared they are to do it. Yet, when they actually buckle down to do the work, it may take only 15 minutes. This sounds familiar in the adult world as well. However, giving one's consent to do whatever work is at hand, and doing it now, is very helpful in being more productive, and this consent enables us to use our moments wisely instead of wasting them with complaint.
The Bible captures the tone of this higher attitude: "It is the spirit that quickeneth" (John 6:63). The spirit of willingness is a reflected quality of Spirit, God, the "I can" attitude that comes from the Great I AM.
Another means of accomplishing more is found through learning to continuously listen to God, divine Mind, for what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. This spiritual listening is communion with the great heart of intelligent being and action. Divine intelligence guides us to harmonious and purposeful being. It also supplies the needed course corrections that are necessary throughout the day. Developing the ability to listen for God, as well as its complement, obedient follow-through, removes the pressure of feeling we have to come up with all the answers. It alleviates the tendency to bulldoze one's way through the day and makes us feel almost as if we're waltzing with God, moving smoothly with the source of all-harmonious action itself.
This combination of listening and obedience is most effective when it becomes a continuous communion, and not just a now-and-then experience. Again, the Bible writers must have had experience with this very point. The book of Isaiah states, "Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left" (30:21).
Learning to listen to God moment by moment for what to do, then obeying the instruction, brings productivity and joy. It also eliminates self-criticism over not having "done more." Having listened to divine guidance and then following it, we can rest, knowing that whatever was accomplished was inspired and sufficient for the day. Divine Mind does not allow us to forget or neglect what's necessary.
Yes, we all can accomplish more. But we don't have to work ourselves ragged to prove this. Purpose-filled days don't need to wear us out; instead, they can uplift and enliven. We can rise above the drudgery of complaint or dread, and feel the lightness of being directed throughout the day by a wisdom and accuracy that can be found only in our forever oneness with God.
To hear a recording of a live chat on this topic, visit www.spirituality.com.