‘Nobody has enough time, but everyone has all there is.” I cannot recall who said those words, but I remember them from one of my business classes at Penn State. How true! We all have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. How we fill those hours is what makes the difference in the impact and quality of our lives.
Previously we looked at the role of Place, and how important it is for us to have a place to go in order to think, feel, and deal with the difficulties in our lives. Today let’s examine the 2nd key in processing perspective: space. Dr. Daniel Amen made a wonderfully relevant point in a recent interview, when he spoke of the recent focus on physical hygiene. We’re all washing our hands regularly, focusing on physical hygiene. It is equally important, says Dr. Amen, that we focus on mental hygiene, on keeping our minds clean and clear. In order to do that, we need to be diligently intentional about creating Space in our lives to process our thoughts. Place relates more to a physical location, while Space relates more to a deliberate time in our schedule.
In studying the Scriptures in their original languages, it is interesting to note that there are two Greek words which describe our English word “time.” They are “Chronos” and “Kairos.” Chronos refers to the more scientific and scheduled definition of how we measure time. When we ask “What time is it?,” and someone answers, “It’s 3:30 pm,” we are dealing with Chronos time. Kairos, on the other hand, is more of a metaphorical way of describing time, not as a scientific measurement, but as a moment to seize or take advantage of. When we say, “I am having the time of my life right now!” we are speaking the language of Kairos time. Do you see the difference? The concept of creating space involves both of these perspectives on time. We need to schedule the time to process our thoughts (Chronos), but we also need to use the time wisely and productively (Kairos) in order to get the most out of it.
I have seen two extremes in this past month, both of which relate to how we spend our time. On the one hand, there are people who have more time now than they ever had before. Because of job loss, or no more commuting, or just the stay at home order, some people have more time than they know what to do with. On the other extreme, there are some people who are overwhelmed with even greater responsibility and an even busier schedule. Regardless of whether you have too much time or not enough, it is absolutely vital that you create space in your day to process your thoughts. For those who have too much time, the hours can run together and the time can easily be wasted before we realize that a day has passed. For those who don’t have enough time, the hours can fly by and the day can be over before we’ve made any time to slow down and think about our day and how we’re managing. The proverbial hamster wheel keeps on spinning.
Today’s encouragement is simple. Make space. Take a break. Find balance. A seminary professor of mine once referred to Psalm 46:10 as “the two most difficult words in the entire Bible.” Those two words are “Be still.” Be. Still. Create space to process your thoughts in a positive and productive way. Take a walk. Meditate. Pray. Reflect. Breathe.
When negative thoughts come, or when you feel overwhelmed, pause. Think about one thing you have to be grateful for. It has been said that gratitude and stress cannot cohabitate. Gratitude will trump stress if we focus on it. So start there. Don’t sweep your stressful thoughts under the rug, but attempt to see them from a perspective of possibility rather than negativity.
If you want your life to be better, it begins with changing the way you think. In order to change the way we think, we need to make space to process those thoughts every day. Find your Place. Make your Space, and make a difference.