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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

How Precious is Our Time?

I saw a facebook post recently from a mom. It said, " 312 more Saturdays." I realized what she meant. Saturdays-they are the prize for most Americans today. She calculated how many Saturdays she had left with her son. He was 12, he would be with them for approximately 6 more years-until he graduates. Then he would be gone off on his own.

With so many families having 2 parents who work and choose a career path.  Their children attend school from 8-4 every day. The parents work 8-5. After school the children come home, most have homework and some extra curricular school club or sport to attend. They grab a quick dinner, baths, hit the bed, and begin it all again the next day. So, Saturday can sometimes be a day that families get to be together to enjoy each other. Of course, now many sports programs, etc. now require time on Saturday mornings for this. Sundays could be considered a family day, but truthfully in today's church. We walk in the door and don't see each other until lunch time. Then it is time for lunch, cleaning the kitchen and many times more household chores to prepare for the upcoming week. Some grab a little leisure time here.

Really I was sad when I read I her post. I realized how little time she had. How little time she would have to influence her son. How little time she would have to really get to know her son during his teenage years. She won't really know the man he is becoming. She will have brief moments to enjoy over the next few years. He will go on to finish school, then most likely college, and he will obtain a career or a job, and then comes marriage, etc.

Years ago, when I had my son-I foresaw this. I saw this lifestyle in so many people I know. They seem to be okay with this lifestyle. To them-It is how it is done. They really like this fast paced life. (Or maybe they just never slow down enough to think about the course they are really on, and if it really matters.) They really don't want it different. If they do want it different, they change it. That is okay for them, I am not here to judge what is right for another family. I can only judge what is right for mine.

So my husband and I talked about it, and we made a choice.We wanted a different type of family. We wanted to do things "on purpose". I didn't want to live the rat race. We certainly could have lived the fast paced lifestyle-going 90 miles an hour, with a few precious memories here and there. But I chose something better, in my opinion. We decided I would lay down my career. (Well I have to admit, I had really laid it down years before and decided to enter the mission field.) Money became a lower priority in my life. Living life out loud with passion and purpose became primary. 

When I got pregnant with my son, we decided I would stay home. We lived on one income. We decided to live on "less" money to have more "time with our son." In fact when he was born we lived in a town house that we rented. We did this, because we could afford the rent. We wanted to purchase a home, but in order to do that. I would have to go to work, and pay for day care, etc. So if we lived on less -it really depended upon how you looked at it. I gave up an extra income. I gave up 199 cable channels and opted for the basic package. We had the cheap phone plan. We had affordable vehicles-not Mercedes, or BMW's. I gave up highlighted hair- done professionally. I gave up designer clothes, handbags, shoes etc. I opted instead for at home diy hair color, and thrift store finds. I gave up some vacations in Cancun, and more exotic places. We vacationed at the park in the afternoons, and snuggled in our jammies in the mornings. We took walks by the lake, and skated, and went on field trips, picnics and play dates. We stopped to smell the roses, and observe people and other things around us.

What I gained was far greater than what I gave up, because what I gained was "time". Time with a wonderful son, 18 months later a lovely daughter. It has been incredible. It has been time well spent, that I can never get back. I have memories, and scrapbooks full of pictures to show for it.  I had moments that I could never have had-had I taken the fast paced road. I saw their first steps, heard their first words, saw their first smile. Helped them learn to read their first book, and saw the look when they finally got the math problem. I have been able to be their teacher, and mother, and mentor, their cheerleader, and friend.



As we continued to live on less and within our means, God continued to bless us. We eventually purchased a home, and began to pay off debt. God opened doors for us with a better opportunity for income. He blessed us financially, but he also blessed me-to see what truly matters in life. That happiness doesn't come from the size of my home, the type of clothes I wear, the color of my hair or the type of car I drive. Happiness comes in leaning to be content with what you have. It comes from becoming content with who you are becoming. As I strive to become more like Christ.

One thing I know is that there will always be people that will have more money and stuff than I do. Many of then are not happier because of it. Some are, some aren't. But money doesn't buy you happiness. It really just reveals who you really are.  I also know that there will always be those with much less. I have met many of them on the mission field in the past and they were happier and more content than I ever was when I was chasing "the world".

One thing I know for certain today. I have No Regrets! I have never wished I would have chosen the other road-The road of busy-ness, the road of trying to acquiring "stuff", that is here today and gone tomorrow. If we want to invest our time in something let it be people, let it be in relationships. Let's start with those most important to us first.

My son's favorite verse: Matthew 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

I know many people think they are going to enter heaven one day and get rewarded with a big mansion for all the good they did on earth. Maybe they will, I really don't know.  But Truthfully, I think the treasures in heaven are the lives we effect here. Every life that we help lead into the kingdom of God. Those are the treasures in heaven, they are people, they are the relationships. I mean really, who needs gold in heaven? I know for sure what I want in heaven. Those that I love most! They are my treasure! I know my time investing in them will pay off for eternity!