Stop Taking Time

When you attend a clergy session, there is a lot of talk about the need for self care. There are many expressions of self care, but they all are framed the same way. Take time for prayer. Take time to study. Take time to rest. Take time for vacation. Take time for Sabbath. 

We are encouraged to "take time" - which I think might be part of the problem.

"Taking time" assumes that time is zero-sum. If we take time from one area (sermon prep) then we will have less time in another area (pastoral care). The idea of "taking time" assumes that if we don't take it then we will never get it - if we don't take time for prayer then prayer will not happen. "Taking time" gives us the impression that if we only were better at taking time then life would be better. 

Of course, "taking time" is a metaphor. One cannot literally take time like you can take a cookie from the jar, and when we try to take time, we come up short. Rather than using the metaphor of "taking" time, I would remind you that Christianity offers a different metaphor - receiving time. 

Time is a gift that we receive. Time is a gift that we trust will be present when we need it. Time is a gift that we can receive, but we can never take.

When we receive time, time is no longer zero-sum. When we receive time we understand that when we are doing one thing, there will be enough time for other things.

Shifting or metaphor from "taking" to "receiving" is not just semantics, it is a part of our spiritual formation. It is part of the reason I do not take communion