Our Battle with Time

Originally published Tuesday, 20 September 2022.

You don’t have to justify your life.

I am in my bedroom, about to lay my head on the pillow, thinking about how this was just one more day that felt like so little had gotten accomplished. Or, perhaps, my expectations were warped in the first place? What did I really believe I could get done?

You don’t have to justify your life.

When I hear the Father’s words in my heart, I am disorientated, desperate for recalibration: Productivity. Expectation. Accomplishment. Time.

Father, yes, for most of my life, I have been sacrificing the miracle of the present for the future’s ever-elusive false promise of achievement. The gift of a moment lost when, for the sake of the future, time is something to conquer, manipulate, and control. The cost I’ve paid? Peace. Contentment. Love. To engage with God, I need, of course, to be where He is. I need to be right here.

The problem is that I am here and not here. Often reflecting on the previous moment (the past) or looking forward to the next thing (the future)—I shun the present. I idolize the potential wisdom of history and the gloried vision of what might come. The sacred, holy present is often ignored.

My attitude toward time is complicated—closely tied to my other battle with believing that accomplishments prove my worth. At the beginning of the day, I am excited. Morning wakes me energized and expectant for what feels like unlimited possibilities. The mantra “Anything is Possible!” plays like the Lego Movie’s incessant jingle, “Everything is Awesome!” for a solid four hours in my head. (Well, not really, but you get the idea.)

I try to squeeze as much as I can out of the day—even a walk in the neighborhood with our sweet dog or a stretch in the garden, arms to the sky, and gazing at a flower’s beauty are moments I can equate as values for the moment of the future (exercise is good for my body and will help me relax tonight; fresh air will give me peace and help me focus this afternoon) rather than for the moment of the now.

And then, as morning roller coasters to late afternoon, then evening, I habitually and unconsciously, I realize, turn inward, assessing my completion—or lack of completion—of achievements that day as markers of my personal success or failure.

Oh, yes, Father, I have made myself my own god. Forgive me, I pray.

“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”


I know, in truth, that time, each present moment, is a gift. But even thinking about this fact makes me sad, anxious that these moments, sacred and holy, come, one after another and never stay. One comes and ends and another comes and ends, and I become scared by all that I don’t know and can’t tweak or control.

You don’t have to justify your life.

And I let His words sink in. I have been marinating on them for days. For simply, I am so tired of trying to justify my life—justifiying my life is simply an impossible task. There is no justification for love. There is no way to deserve it. There is no way to it from the past or the future but here, here, here.

These idols, these fears, stem from a deep place within me. A place of unworthiness. Self-loathing. Malcontent. And I am letting Him in to love me here. And in a dozen places this week, since I heard His voice speaking to my thoughts, I have been seeing glimpses of the cross reflecting in morning light and afternoon light and in the gentle sinking of the sun.

Come, Jesus. Now. Come catch this tired, weary heart.

What is your relationship with time? How do you view it? How do you appreciate it? How do you wrestle with it?

For the Loop Poetry Project this week, convey your feelings about time by writing a poem about it. What story can Time tell you if you let it? What does your heart want to tell you about Time and the attitude you’ve had toward it in your life?

Share your poem here, as a comment, or with the lovely women in the private Loop Poetry Project Facebook group you can join right here. (My poem is below.)


Dusk in Fall

A bird has landed on the kale,
the thick leaves bouncing 
like a metal spring at the 
playground where my children 
played when they were 
young, and I like that
a month after moving in 
we decided the dining room, 
where I sit now, would have
a botanical theme. After all, 
we know so little about 
the miracle of growing things, 
and when we, in the church pew,
were listening to children, 
adults now, tell stories 
of their mom who died 
a month ago, which 
was the week we moved in, 
I was happy we were 
asked to wear bright-colored 
clothing at the memorial,
the light in this room
fading and beautiful on the wall.

This post appeared originally at jennifer.camp