Why do we think that we are so important that life won’t go on without us at the helm? Or maybe it’s just me. It happens every academic quarter. I intend to take time to care for myself, to go on retreat, to find space for deeper reflection, but the calendar fills up quickly. Someone asks for a meeting – I see the day is clear so I put it on the schedule. Students come up with an idea to visit a museum and I fill in another previously free day. The opportunity to attend a training workshop arises – and yes, what had been an empty calendar is now completely full. On the surface it looks good. I’m getting work done and make needed connections with people. But it’s not long before this gets out of hand. My days have little time during which I can reflect as I go from task to task.
Right now I’m tired. My body and head are weary. Yet I want to do more, especially connect with people and develop sustainable ministries. Will a full calendar really make that happen? I fear having blank spaces. If one activity doesn’t work out, then I have something to fall back on the next day. A worship time may not draw many students one week, but a Bible study might, or a dinner, or a field trip. Eventually it’s numbers that I’m looking at instead of relationships with people. With such a frenetic pace, it’s difficult to engage more deeply in any of the activities.
As I hurry between scheduled events in this full calendar, God is more of a talisman – something that I look to to encourage me in my rush. Instead, I would rather that he be the grid and the cells of the calendar – providing the very essence of life in a marvelous world of creation. The end result may not efficient or well planned, but it would be more real and relating. In such a structure I can step back, wait, talk to students about their lives, encourage them in their callings, and allow God to work. This is much different than rushing to build a structured week of activities that I hope will attract students. Though out of the deeper conversations a structure may come. As it does it will be done within a community instead of the need of one person to be in control.
It is time to allow for this space in my calendar. To rest and live between events. To leave one weekend a month unplanned, to not schedule activities back-to-back, to make time to think and plan. Trusting not so much in my ability to schedule, but in God’s very real presence in the stories that are between the events and the divine appointments throughout a day.