When I hear the words of Psalm 39, I’m tempted to whip out my planner and get to work.
“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.” (Ps. 39:4)
The girl I was created to be hears these words and jumps into action. Seize the day! Carpe diem! Don’t let a moment slip by without somehow using it for something important! Do something that will last! Don’t waste your time. Your talent. Your treasures. Get busy! Make every moment matter!
But if you’re nodding your head in agreement with me and grabbing your car keys to head out the door to make this day AWESOME, you might want to wait just a minute.
Because immediately following the lines above, are these:
“We are merely moving shadows,
and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.” (Ps. 39:6)
Wait. What? Am I supposed to make every moment matter? Or will all of my busy making, doing and rushing result in nothing?
God gave me the heart of a “do-er.”
I know this because of the joy and satisfaction I feel when I get to the end of a day and see something I have created or accomplished. I’ve been making lists since I was old enough to scribble. And I believe that when we create anything – work, art, even a meal – our hearts grow more tenderly in tune with our Creator.
And I don’t think God wants to take these moments of satisfaction and contentment away from us. But what I do believe is that He wants to deepen our sense of peace by showing us how to notice more. Beyond the work of our own hands. He wants to multiply our joy. And this can only happen when we lift our eyes from our planning, making, doing, and rushing. When we fix our eyes on Him and begin to see and notice the meaningful moments taking place all around us.
The with-God moments.
Times that feel like the curtain between us and heaven is drawn back, and we get the briefest peek into the very heart of our loving Father. They can happen on mountaintops or while standing over the kitchen sink. Something in our hearts responds to Him, and we feel His presence like an embrace. Time seems to stand still.
The moments spent with others.
Not just hours occupying the same space, but time spent listening hard to the hearts of those we care about. Family. Friends. Strangers. When we reach outside of ourselves and across the barrier that says, “Keep to yourself. Mind your own business,” our hearts and minds grow until we experience the kind of love that endures beyond time and to-do lists.
The solitary moments.
Time to be still and believe that even when we stop working, the moments still matter. Because God says you matter. In all of your un-doneness. So don’t wait until you’ve whittled away the items on your checklist to spend some solitary time doing something for you. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you. Take a nap. Take a bath. Take some time just to be you.
I’m learning that making every moment matter doesn’t mean charging out into the world waving my to-do list.
I don’t think God is asking us to stop working. I believe he has given us intelligent minds and able bodies to do good work, create beautiful things, and change the world we live in. But I’m learning that as lovely as they are, the things we create and the moments we’ve worked to fill with meaning pale in comparison to the God-filled moments happening all around us.
So what if we let ourselves off the hook of trying so hard to make every moment matter, and spend more time noticing and celebrating the many moments that already do?
Trusting that at the end of the day, with our undone to-do lists, we will sense God’s presence. Feel His joy. And be able to count up the many blessings and beautiful, meaningful moments that filled us – without us doing a single thing to make them happen.