No matter you use it, time is always an issue. Andrea Bear delves into the ways time is used and how intentionality plays a role.
Depending on the seasons of our life how we spend our time changes. As young parents, most of our time is spent in a constant mode of busyness, catering to our kids' wants and needs, whereas when they get older, driving them around to practices and activities tends to eat up most of our time. But there are moments where time feels eternal, as if it doesn’t go by fast enough—such as visits to the doctor, waiting for test results, or setting goals to achieve some kind of success. And then there are moments where we try to pass the time, with games of Candy Crush or mind-numbing activities because we can’t sit idle. No matter how one moves the clock handles, we are always centering our world around time.
But how much time do we have? Most of us see our lives as this eternal watch. The younger we are, the more we think we can put things off for another day. It’s only when we age or our health deteriorates that we are concerned that time is running out and become more intentional.
As a history teacher, I often ask my students “If today were your last day on earth, how would you spend it?” I don’t ask this to be morbid (mostly to connect to historical themes) but to gauge what’s important to them. And the answers always vary from buying an expensive item like a car to eating their way through a fancy restaurant. Some would amend things with their family, while others would do something wild and reckless. Regardless of the answer, the common response indicates this urgency to complete things.
Yet no matter how long or short, or even how aware we are of the amount of time we have on earth, our time is not exclusive to ourselves, but belongs to God. How we act or don’t affects others. Recently I ran into an old high-school classmate and he asked me a question about my mother who had passed four years prior: “What would your life have been like if your mom hadn’t died? Would you be on the path that you’re on now?”
This made me think about how I was using my time. What has life been like these last four years without her? Had she lived, I don’t know if I would’ve changed much in my life. I'd already had a connection to my faith, but my mom’s death pushed it into high gear. I began to write, I began to pray more intentionally, I began to look for a deeper purpose and work on the things internally that were holding me back from God. I have the goal of seeing her again one day in heaven. I don’t know if I would have come to that place or at least as soon without her passing. As Venerable Fulton Sheen once said, “Sometimes the only way God can get your attention is to break your heart.” What my mother’s death taught me is that our time on earth is short and how we spend it matters.
When my classmate asked me that question, it made me think: How am I using my time? It was more than a bucket list or goal-producing question. Is our purpose to have the most successful career and to make tons of money? Is it to be accomplished, with degrees? Those things are good in their right place, but if they don't help us or others to grow closer to God, then what purpose do they actually serve? One day we’ll no longer be on this earth, prestige and accomplishments won’t make a difference.
Very few of us will make it into the history books or have a memorial named after us; even our relatives will one day no longer remember who we are, but how we spent our time will have made all the difference. Did we bring others close to God? Did we act with love and charity, or with our ego? Or did we simply exist because the world tells us that career, fame, and material things are what we should strive for? A friend once said to me “God’s time is perfect,” and that made me realize that even in the difficult moments (like my mom’s death) time is intentional and we are made to draw close to Him.
Watch carefully then how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise, making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not continue in ignorance, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord. (Ephesians 5:15-17)
What can you do to draw closer to God? How can you use this time to lead others close to Him in your own actions?
Copyright 2022 Andrea Bear
About the Author
Andrea Bear is a wife, mom, and teacher in Stockton, California. In addition to CatholicMom.com, she also writes for HerLife Magazine and Catholic Stand. She recently completed her debut novel, Grieving Daughters Club. When she's not writing or taking her kids to volleyball practice you can find her sipping coffee from the neighborhood coffee establishments or tasting wine from the local vineyards. Visit AndreaBearAuthor.com.