I thought I would write about mornings today. About how they are sweet and sacred and worth waking up for. About how the right routine sets you up for right living. And then this morning happened. You know the forecast for the day is bleak when you throw your bathrobe clad self across the bed in tears and its not even seven a.m.
So there I was, overwhelmed by all the things piled on top of my agenda for the day, angrily clattering the frying pans and bitterly cracking the eggs. How dare they have the audacity to expect to be scrambled every single morning? And why did the clock have to move so fast, as if it was sprinting toward the time I had to be at work?
As I scooted the papers and books laid out on our table to make room for our breakfast my eye landed on my journal. It lay open, but besides the date and some words scribbled out about how tired I was it was mostly empty.
I flipped back a few pages. It’s been almost a week since I jotted down the day’s gifts. Six days of voicing my frustrations, my concerns, my needs – never once giving thanks.
I’ve scrawled out many schedules, agendas, and to-do lists in that time though. I’ve been looking at the hours and tasks and days. I’ve been noticing my lack, the way all my energy and motivation and time and resources feel scarce.
And with every complaint of not enough, every instance of carefully parting out my time and energy, I’m missing every occurrence of abundance.
There’s this odd story in Chronicles about David deciding he needed to count his fighting men. It makes sense. He’s going into war, he just wants to know what his resources look like. But God wasn’t about this and David’s counting ended up bringing an epidemic in Israel that killed seventy thousand of his people that he was trying so hard to number.
Part of me wants to think that it’s ridiculous that God would do this. He was just counting his army, cut him some slack.
But part of me, deep down in my gut, knows what the real issue was.
Because David wasn’t really just counting his army. He was laying out his agenda, his plan of action, his own competencies. He was counting his problems and wondering if he had enough resources to balance them out. He was ticking off his army rather than trusting that God had already secured his success.
Isn’t that what I do every day? I count my hours, count my money, count my energy, count my motivation. I see what I have mustered up on my own. I scribble out my schedule for the day and run full steam ahead to conquer the day without so much as a word of thanks for what is already mine.
My greatest concern is rarely how God has already met my needs. Rather, my greatest concern is laying out a battle plan for how to get my future needs met.
So I shoveled down breakfast this morning and finished the dishes and looked at the clock again. It was moving too fast. Not enough time for the morning run, not enough time to finish that chapter, not enough time to get the house tidied before I headed out the door. I was already tired and ready for the day to be over and it had barely begun. If only there was a way to multiply time. To make more of it, so that I could sleep a little longer, read a little more, exercise a little more often, contribute a little more to my work.
I was counting again. Counting the hours, counting the tasks, counting the weeks, counting the projects. Counting anything but the one thing I needed to count.
Because what I really need is not more time, more resources, more energy, more sleep.
What I really need is more gratitude.
The loaves and fishes were multiplied after Jesus gave thanks for what was already there. Maybe our time will only be multiplied once we give thanks for what we already have.
Sure, there’s ways to manage time. There’s wisdom in organizing your days and scheduling your weeks and planning out your life. We want to make the most of the time given to us, we want to be good stewards of the lives we have to live.
But I’m finding the path to making the most of life is never a tighter schedule or more detailed agenda. It’s not about time management skills or organizational tools.
It comes only as you take what you already have in your hands, the few minutes here, the extra hour there, the little graces scattered as your move through each day, the two loaves and five fish in this basket, and you give thanks.
Give thanks and watch your time multiply abundantly.