Living in real time
This year, I began my junior year in high school. The first week of school went really well; I was excited about my classes, seeing old friends, and starting new activities. But then the second week came along. All of a sudden, things seemed overwhelming. I wasn't sure how to effectively manage my time between school, homework, volleyball, the outside choir I had been admitted into, and the various organizations I was involved with, including student council and the Reconciliation Advisory Board, a student disciplinary advisory board at my school.
I was constantly going, going, going, from one activity to the next, with little time to relax. I started to get worried about time and how I was going to get everything done. I started going to bed later and waking up earlier in order to try to finish my homework. And I have to admit that sometimes I just skipped doing some of my homework in order to save time.
On top of that, I also started to have issues with scheduling. The select choir I auditioned for at school ended up being switched to a period in which I had hoped to take a different science class. And I found out that my volleyball games were typically held on Monday or Thursday nights, the same nights as choir rehearsals. The outside choir I was in was very serious, and I was told that missing the rehearsals on Monday and Thursday nights was unacceptable—but on volleyball game days I wouldn’t be able to make it to choir on time.
It seemed as if nothing was working out as I wanted it to. I wanted to be able to do everything without conflict, but instead I was expected to be in two places at once. I was facing some very difficult decisions about how to work things out and manage my time.
Amid all this worry and stress, I started to see symptoms of sickness appearing. I struggled with cold symptoms for almost a full week, which threatened my ability to sing well in choir. And I began getting recurring headaches that would sometimes hurt so bad that the only thing I could do was sleep.
After putting up with these symptoms for a couple of weeks, I realized that something had to change. Since I was feeling so pressured and busy, it was apparent that I needed to examine how I was thinking about the concept of time. Mary Baker Eddy defined time in Science and Health as “mortal measurements; limits, in which are summed up all human acts, thoughts, beliefs, opinions, knowledge; matter; error” (p. 595). This idea really struck home with me. I began to realize that the pressures of time, of deadlines and due dates, were simply limits trying to hold me back from having the best experience I could have. This material measurement was trying to trick me into falling into its trap, forcing me to base my life around it.
As I prayed, it became clearer to me that everything would work out, as long as I trusted in God and understood that as His expression, I truly had no limitations. There’s a passage in Romans that I really like that states, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (8:28).
I was expressing God in everything I did, whether it was on the volleyball court, in the classroom, or at choir practice.
I affirmed that the activities I was taking on were all right activities. I was expressing God in everything I did, whether it was on the volleyball court, in the classroom, or at choir practice. I also had to reinforce the fact that I loved God. You might think, “Well of course; why would you have to confirm something so obvious?” But honestly, I had to take a step back. I had been dwelling too much on human will, on what I wanted to do. I wasn’t trusting in God and loving Him enough to see that He was the one directing my path and guiding me. I began to see that He had a plan for me that would allow me to do everything I was meant to do. He had a purpose for me, and all I had to do was listen and follow.
As soon as these things became apparent, and my thought about all the seemingly troubling situations changed, things started coming together. Although I wasn’t able to be a part of the select choir at my school, the science class I changed into turned out to be a much better fit, and I have been able to do an independent music class and still participate in the regular choir’s concerts.
The conflict between my outside choir and my volleyball games also got resolved. Almost as if by miracle, on days when we had away games and I had choir later that night, invariably the time of the game would be moved earlier. We would find out about the change the night before or the day of the game, and with the exception of one single time, I have been able to play in all my volleyball games and still make it to choir on time.
As for homework and classes, though some days are more difficult than others, I’ve found I have enough time to finish everything I need to, be prepared for classes, and even get all the sleep I need! Needless to say, the cold symptoms and headaches disappeared as well.
Every day I have to remember to take a moment out of my busy schedule to stop and thank God. He never fails to provide for me, to guide me, and to help me make time for everything I need to do. I know that He gives me the ability to achieve everything I’m guided to do, and I know for a fact that He has a plan for everyone, including you.
If you really have a passion for something and have honest, good motives, you will be able to succeed. Whatever you do, don’t give up, because your relationship with God means that you have lots of opportunities to let your light shine—and you can never run out of time to do so!