The time has come!

What am I trying to write about? I’m trying to explain why I feel better, in difficult situations, when I pull a pocketwatch out of my pocket (a pocketwatch that doesn’t tell me what time it is), ponder it, and then feel better. In my mind, the concepts are connected, like objects, and are like pictures. For this blog, I’m trying to translate that mental model into words that offer a close approximation of the original concept. So, we’ll see how it comes together. I’ll start with the concept of time.

“Time is ticking”

two watches

So, there are two watches.
The watch on the left is constantly in motion. The watch on the right remains the same.
The left watch is natural, predictable. The watch on the right represents the supernatural.
You can plan, using the watch on the left. The watch on the right doesn’t help with planning.

The quote above, “time is ticking,” isn’t strictly accurate. As we know. Time does not tick. Clocks tick, as they measure time. They help us to mentally chop up our days into small segments, and then plan ahead what segments should be used for what activities and goals. It helps us to predict who is going to be where, when which places will be open, and when our boss will be expecting us to be at work. Very helpful stuff.

But when we make our plans, and it is good to plan, we must not forget that God’s plans trump our plans.

“A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.”
Proverbs 16:9

When we make our plans, we take into account our goals, what we think is important, and what activities will best further those ideals. Our brains are very limited, though, and we aren’t always wise. Sometimes, our goals are slightly less than ideal, and sometimes the activities that we think will help to accomplish our goals are only part of what we actually need to accomplish those things. God knows what the most important goals really are, and He knows what combinations of activities and situations will be needed for us to reach those goals.

One key goal that He has for all of His children is for us to be conformed to the image of Christ – to become more and more Christ-like. In other words, while our plans are usually focused on external milestones, God’s plans for us are often more focused on our character and spiritual growth.

So, what does this all have to do with the watches? Well, the standard watch represents our human concept of time, our predictions, and our plans. When I look to see what time it is, it is rarely out of idle curiosity. Usually, I’m looking to see what time it is so that I know where I am in relation to [my bed time/ time for work/ an appointment/ time to get something out of the oven].

In contrast, everytime I look at my pocketwatch pin I see that it’s 13 minutes ’til 13 o’Clock. That is, it’s ALWAYS a time that NEVER shows up on my regular watch. This reminds me of what God has decided that this segment of time is for. God’s plans for me are always the most rational and important, and yet never show up on my regular calender plans that I invent and anticipate. If I say to myself: “Okay, right now is the time for cleaning the house,” God might be saying: “Nope, actually, I’ve slotted this particular parcel of time as time for you to be learning how to communicate patiently with people who are wronging you.”

So, anytime that life is conflicting with my plans, I look at my two watches. “Right now is the time for WHAT?” Let’s see what my watches say:

two watches

        Left-watch: “My plans. Time is: Almost 2. Time to be halfway to your dentist appointment.”

        Right watch: “God’s plans. Time is: NOW. Time to be working on patience while stuck in traffic behind a car accident.”

I’ve found this an awesome way to look at life. After all, sometimes my mood is effected by what I think “should” be happening right now. If I think to myself, “Right now I SHOULD be at the dentist,” then I’m going to feel very annoyed and upset that I’m not.” If I think to myself, “My planning was in order, I left at the right time, but there’s this car accident preventing me from making process. Obviously, God has decided that right now, I need to be working on patience,” then I can re-focus myself toward that (superior) goal.

When I look at the regular watch, it makes me think of the urgent – the plans on my schedule that are close by. When I look at the watch that only indicates one time, “now,” it makes me think of what is important, rather than what is urgent.

Naturally, God will be putting me into helpful situations (ones that I haven’t planned) whether I am aware of it or not. So what’s the advantage of reminding myself? Well, remembering and re-adjusting my plans to match God’s idea of what it’s time for enables me to swim with the current rather than against it. It helps me to embrace the situations I end up in, and thrive in them – with purpose. What good is it going to do me to complain the whole time that my plan wasn’t the one that happened?

Ultimately, my plans may or may not be the best thing. But God’s plans for me are perfectly engineered. And if I ignore and resist those plans, then later I’m going to end up looking back and realizing:



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