I am busy.
I’m willing to bet that you are, too.
A lot of the time, when something I haven’t planned on or don’t know how to handle pops into my life, my instinctive mental response is, I don’t have time for that.
My brain is already processing a thousand other thoughts and feelings and I don’t know how to squeeze in this unexpected problem, so, instead, I refuse to engage. Maybe if I ignore it, it will solve itself!
Over time, I’ve learned the hard way that when God tries to get our attention, it’s not to inconvenience us – it’s to help us. Pushing away anything that’s not in our schedule is not a safety mechanism – it’s a delusion. The avoidance, the ignorance, the hiding of a problem – it says we’re capable of living just fine on our own without God in the middle of our lives. But we’re not.
In the past year my body developed an intolerance for gluten and dairy. I would get hives on my face after eating bread, or my stomach would be upset for days from a bite of cheese. My stomach was painful to the touch for months. After repeated doctor’s visits with no clear answers, I was getting more and more miserable.
I would consider calling a homeopathic doctor or doing research on alternative diets, and then discard the idea – I didn’t have time! I had projects to complete, deadlines to hit, people to meet. I traveled to over 40 cities in six months on a tour bus – how was I supposed to try a new diet in a tiny town in Pennsylvania? The food options were basically a Cinnabon and a PB&J.
When I got home for a break, I took stock of my misery. Did I want to live a life of being in pain? A life of feeling tired and covering up hives and breakouts on my face? No!
I realized that if I kept waiting until I wasn’t busy, I’d never have time. It was time to make time.
Make time to read a book about an alternate diet with no sugar, no dairy, no gluten. Make time to go to the gym. Make time to make a nutrition-approved breakfast every morning by waking up earlier. Make time for recipes and blogs and cookbooks. Make time to go grocery shopping and to prep meals instead of relying on fast food chains or eating out.
After a couple weeks I felt so much better it was ridiculous. You could live without sickness or pain? What?
I realized that what I was brushing off as an inconvenience was my health and my happiness. I get caught up in my busyness and I can start to believe it’s the entire universe, instead of the little world I made for myself.
How many times did a little voice tell me to ask questions, to dig deeper, to take one more step toward feeling better? How many times did I ignore God wanting a better way of life for me?
I think at one point or another, we’re all guilty of this. What do we brush aside? What opportunities do we pass up?
How often do we relay to God in one way or another: I don’t have time!
You see someone new. Someone you don’t know but could be a great friend. I don’t have time for new friends!
There’s an opportunity to be creative in a different field. I don’t have time for new challenges!
You find a free night to catch up with your husband/friends, but I don’t have time for date nights or fun events!
Maybe we need to reevaluate our position on time. When we believe we don’t have time, are we actually saying I don’t believe there’s something better for me! I don’t have time to be disappointed! I don’t have time to fail!
Maybe we are squishing our lives into manageable little boxes that we think we can control. Maybe we are letting everything God could add into our lives fall to the wayside.
Maybe I don’t have time is not a reality. It’s a perception. Maybe it’s time to take stock of our time and see where some adjustments need to be made. God has a simple ask of us. He is asking us to make time for him. He wants us to leave room for him to move in our lives.
This is my challenge to you: Don’t treat God’s input like an interruption.
If we want health and beauty and friendship and love and peace and joy and wonder to wash over and through our lives, we have to make time and leave space.
When God’s voice shapes your life, your life gets wider, deeper, freer. He created you and he knows you inside and out. God can always be trusted with the life he gave us.
How do you make time for God to speak into your life? Read your Bible. Pray and tell him if you’re overwhelmed or doing great.
Make time for new people to become new friends. Leave space for God to show you how much He loves you through your relationships with others.
Make time for laughter and leave room for spontaneity. It’s okay if your schedule doesn’t always run as planned -maybe it wasn’t leading you where you really needed to go anyway.
Make time for taking care of yourself. Leave room for treats and maybe a few splurges (gluten-free cupcakes have come a long way).
Proverbs 16:9 says, We plan the way we want to live, but only God makes us able to live it.
If we’re only existing in the time and space we make, how does that invite God in to help us truly live?
Change the narrative.
I don’t have time…to be stressed. I will make time to relax.
I don’t have time…to be anxious. I will make time to pray.
I don’t have time…to be unhealthy and in pain. I will make time to take care of the body God gave me and to live happy!
You have all the time in the world to live the life God created you to live. God made time and God made you.
Make time for God to do something beautiful in your life. Leave space for God to love you.
Brooke Figueroa is a pastor at Mosaic, a church in Los Angeles, CA. She loves drinking espresso with her husband, leading worship with Mosaic MSC, and reading an absurd amount of books.
She’d love to meet you on Instagram at @brookeofigueroa