The Gift Of Time

Shawna Schwaninger

Shawna Schwaninger

Life has radically changed over the last few weeks. Within a matter of days, my normal schedule has flipped upside down and everything has been canceled. Work is now remote, schools have closed, store shelves are bare, restaurants are dark and church services are only online. The normal non-stop schedule has come to a screeching halt. Life now ticks by at a snail pace contained within the four walls of my home.

I have always been someone who enjoys being busy, thriving on having something to do or some obligation to fill my time with. Even during my days off when my schedule is lighter, I usually find a reason to do something, to go to the store or to start a new project. Now don’t get me wrong, I have always enjoyed the occasional day to binge watch a TV show or do nothing. But sometimes slowing down has felt like I’m being idle and not being effective. I tend to think that I could be doing something more impactful with my time.

As much as I love being busy, I fully understand the value of slowing down. No one can run at full speed all of the time. Rest is crucial to our well-being. Having a rhythm of rest in our lives is imperative physically, emotionally and spiritually. Whether we abide by that philosophy or not, we are now in an unusual season of life where many of us don’t have a choice. We have been forced to slow down. Our new daily rhythm is now more spare time than anything else.

So how will you and I use our time during this season of life? What if we looked at this extra time as a gift. My response to this extra time not only changes my outlook and perspective on life, but could also impact who I am and who I could be.

We can approach this gift with thankfulness for the extra time with family and God. Time to dwell in God’s presence. To wait and to be still with Him. To spend time with Him and not rush off to the next part of my day. but rather to just be with Him. To find comfort, strength and peace by being still in His presence.

“Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.” Psalm 37:7

It’s a time to focus on His word. To dive into verses and passages. To let the words that I read from the Bible sink deep into my heart, to study them, to reflect on them, and to act on them. To let His words guide my thoughts, actions and what I say. To let His word be a light and a hope in my life when it feels as though the world around me is full of darkness and despair.

“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105

It’s a time to listen. To attentively listen to God’s voice. To hear from Him, to really listen to His heart and reflect on what He is saying to me. To calm my mind and my heart and to focus on Him in the stillness. To ponder on His voice.

“Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.” Proverbs 3:6

It’s a time to wait patiently on Him and to trust in Him. To hold tight to His promises that He is good and that He will not forsake me. That He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is in control. He is all powerful. He is my fortress and my provider. He is my hope and peace.

“The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him.” Nahum 1:7

It’s a time to talk to Him. To call on Jesus’s name and to know that He hears me. A time to tell Him my heart, my worries, my fears and my joys. To commune with Him in conversation. To thank Him. To praise Him for He is worthy. To sing to Him and to give Him all the glory.

“I will sing of your love and justice, Lord. I will praise you with songs.” Psalm 101:1

In this season of extra time where there is so much unknown, where there is pain, unexpected fears, worries and heartache, I am choosing to focus my mind and my heart on God. As life has come to a slower pace, I am determined to dive deeper into my relationship with Him. I choose His joy, hope, peace and love. And no matter what may come, I choose to praise Him for He is still good.

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updated June 23, 2021

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