Time to get a life?

A Christian Science perspective.

One morning a friend called complaining, “I’m so busy I don’t have time to breathe! I need to get a life.” Ironically, later that same day a businessman, recently retired from a distinguished career, told me sadly, “All of a sudden I have nothing to do. I need to get a life.”

Time – too little or too much – can be opposite ends of the same stick, the heart’s yearning to live a life that’s full but not frantic, happy instead of haphazard, purposeful without stress. Sometimes our days can seem either endless, or like a race around a well-beaten track sprinkled with hurdles to jump, and those hurdles can very well be time concentrated into segments of age. I laughed when I heard it described this way: “Youth looks forward, old age looks backward, and middle age looks worried.”

But Christ Jesus lived a life that wipes out both the pressure and boredom of time restraints. He set the tone for dominion over the tyranny of time by his ministry of healing and teaching – only three brief years, but it changed the world. His love for others gave no hint of either stress or apathy. His work revealed a life of unselfish love and offered an utterly new, refreshing description of life when he declared, “This is the real and eternal life: that they know you, the one and only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent” (John 17:3, “The Message”).

Christian Science highlights this Christly revelation of Life as a synonym for God (that’s why the “L” is capitalized). Life – rich with activity, filled with greatness, and eternally good. It’s helpful to think of eternity not as an endless stretch of time, but as forever now, the absence of time limits.

Then might we think of the catchphrase “get a life” as a call to gain an understanding of what Life really is and what it means to us? Even a spark of understanding that God is Life has a sweet healing effect.

One rainy Sunday afternoon I looked at what my calendar had for the week ahead, and for one sinking moment I thought I couldn’t possibly accomplish everything. I was tired even thinking about it! Oh, well, I decided, first things first – and I began to pray. In humility, I had to admit that if man is the image and likeness of God, as the Bible clearly states, then he must be engaged in the teeming but effortless activity of Life. As I prayed with that idea, I began to feel refreshed. Fatigue dropped away. The week that followed was rich and rewarding. Every commitment, and more, was accomplished with joy.

Putting first things first means putting God first, moment by moment. In proportion as we do, we gain a better sense of infinite Life encircling the universe, embracing all humanity. Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this newspaper, said, “Success in life depends upon persistent effort, upon the improvement of moments more than upon any other one thing” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 230).

The more we “get a life” – gain increasing understanding of Life as a loving God – the more effectively we will find solutions that free humanity (including ourselves) from the grasp of limitation, fear, and suffering. Life, God, is the spiritual love, the agape, that meets human needs. It’s gentle enough to move our hearts with compassion for our fellow man, and powerful enough to bring hope to the world as it did in Jesus’ day when he fed multitudes, healed the sick, stilled the storm, and inspired angels to sing “on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). Endeavoring to follow Jesus’ example with such unselfed love will enliven our moments, generate plenty of fulfilling activity, and replace worry with love for others.    

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