Living In Your Timeline

With happy expectation, I sat down to enjoy a bowl of Sticky-Bun flavored Ice-cream.

MP900422486Between bits of conversations and the distraction of the television, it wasn’t until the last bite that it dawned on me that I couldn’t even remember having tasted any of it. With regret, I looked into my empty bowl and wondered what had happened to my moment.

All of us have the same 24 hours per day in which to live our lives, and all of us experience the trinity of time in the past, present and future. To varying degrees, and under different circumstances, we all seem to gravitate towards one quadrant of our timeline, and in a sense cheat ourselves of the fullness of life in what is available.

As I reflected on my disappointing experience, I had to admit that I don’t always appreciate the present. I allowed myself to become distracted by competing attentions and lost all ability to enjoy my rare treat for the short time in which it was present. In hindsight, I can also see times during which I have gotten caught up in the struggles of circumstances and missed sharing in the emotions and expressions of my kids.

At other times, I have allowed myself to become overwhelmed by the immediacy of work or other obligations to the detriment of someone else’s pain or perhaps my wife’s particular experience that day. And, ultimately, I think I am the one who loses out on something very precious when I go with the flow and don’t insist on putting a priority on certain experiences. Such loss is especially acute when it involves people who pass through my timeline with barely a dot of recognition on my part.

As I reflect on this human frailty, it seems likely that many of us find ourselves excessively caught up in our past, overwhelmed by the struggles (or pleasures) of the present moment, or forever consumed by lotto-fever in hopes of changing our future. At such times, we are fracturing our timeline—living out of harmony with what God intends for our benefit.

There is a time and place for remembering the past. God even commands it. Reflecting on the past is necessary to avoid repeating mistakes as well as upholding proven and true values during the distractions swirling around us.

The present moment is the only part of my timeline in which I am allowed to make changes—changes that can enhance my awareness of the moment, alter the pattern of my past, as well as impact my future. Perhaps that is why God invites us to rest in Christ, to “sabbath” while it is called Today. Don’t miss the treasures of daily life, relational interactions, and wonders of creation that ought to overwhelm our senses. As the saying goes, remember to stop and smell the roses today.

And, thank God for hope in the future. Pain, loss and tragedy wound us all and could easily drown us in despair if not for our hope in Jesus’ promised intervention. Living with hope in a better future gives us endurance out of the past and through the present.

It is only by insisting on living fully in our timeline, by remembering key parts of our past, identifying fully with the most important contributions in our present, all while persevering because of our tenacious hold on the coming return of our Lord and Savior, that we become capable of gaining the most out of our life.

It is while living fully in our timeline that we come to experience what is meant by living with a timeless God.

Who knew that ice-cream could teach so much. I should make a note to fix myself another bowl sometime soon.

What part of your timeline could benefit the most from changes in your attention?


About grahamAlive

Christian Author
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3 Responses to Living In Your Timeline

  1. Richard Elfers says:

    Excellent reminder to constantly follow our priorities. Each day I pray about the two parts of my mission statement; To seek the truth and to share it with others in love and boldness so that we all can be free. The second is to put my wife, children, grandchildren, teaching, serving, and what ever else are my priorities next. I’m speaking on the human level here.

    I’ve found it’s easier to follow my priorities by this repetition, and then to have them clearly laid out in my mind. When conflicts occur it makes it easier to remember what is most important because my priorities are clearly stated.

  2. grahamAlive says:

    For what it’s worth Rich, I would say that the evidence of how you share the word of God and how you treat others confirms the seriousness with which you follow your priorities. May God fill you with his grace to do so more and more!

  3. Tami Graham says:

    Taking this moment to fully focus on your message was a wonderfully freeing experience. The idea comes to my mind of living on purpose, taking responsibility for how I use (or misuse) the time God gives me, I like being fully in the moment not distracted with”other” (hum – wondering if that ‘other’ would be a form of idolatry?) anyway, ahh, thank you, it was a wonderful read. As for the area I most need to “fix” it would be keeping my eye on the goal (figuring out what the goal is for that matter). I tend not to persevere very well as a result. A new thought you generated was the idea of living fully in our “God” timeline of past, present, & future. So often we get the message Live for NOW – not a healthy message according to scripture. It also made me think about the idea that God says He IS, He Was and He Is to Come sounds similar to the timeline you were writing about (maybe I should rename it time-live). In the end I want to imitate him in every way possible so this PPF TimeLife is a goal worth pursuing. Ya know I was thinking of getting a bowl of ice cream…but I think I will just go find you instead! Your Wife

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