As far back as I can remember, I have loved timepieces. I appreciate a good wristwatch, I am mesmerized by pocket watches, and I am utterly fascinated by clocks, especially grandfather clocks. I can’t explain what it is about timepieces that make me so interested in them, but those close to me know that for my utter lack of care for material possessions, timepieces are one of my exceptions.
Assuming a clock is working properly, it measures time and allows us the opportunity to designate time in measurable ways we can appoint to particular moments of the day and night. We know that a day has 24 hours, an hour has 60 minutes, and a minute has 60 seconds. We use these measurements of time to tell us how far into the day we are or how far away from a later appointment we are.
We use time to tell us where we are in life. Time is what we use to measure our age. Kids wish for more age (time) and adults want less than we have. Time is the constant that, no matter your station in life, the size of your bank account, the power you wield in your profession, or your ability to influence the world, you are incapable of changing.
Knowing that we can’t change the way time operates, however, we often are guilty of wanting to rush time. We use phrases like “time flies,” and “I can’t wait” to describe how we experience time. We pass through it without realizing how much of it we’ve used, and we wish for less time between our current existence in time and where we want to be in the future. It’s not a bad thing for time to pass by you without notice because of the enjoyment you’re having, nor is it wrong to anticipate what you have coming to you, but there is a problem when you try to get around time by rushing the results.
I didn’t start in the university until 2011. By spring of 2013, I graduated with my Bachelor of Science. By 2014 I had already completed a Master’s degree too. I learned a lot in my educational pursuits, but I did so at a cost. In my haste to graduate, I took too many classes at one time, I skipped time with family to work on extra assignments, and I rushed through the material to learn what was needed to maintain my GPA with little regard for what I was actually taking away from my classes. I had goals, and reaching those goals were more important to me than the journey to get there. My four-year degree program was finished in two and a half years. My two-year master’s program finished in a year. Now they hang on the wall in my office, but what did it cost me to get them?
I tried to go around time, and while I don’t regret having my degrees and the skills I acquired getting them, I also know that I could have gotten so much more from the journey if I would have experienced the journey more than I did.
Time changes for no one, and when we try to go around time, we always end up losing somewhere.
Imagine with me what the NBA would look like if Michael Jordan hadn’t committed years to training himself up into the greatest player of all time. What about the NFL if Peyton Manning didn’t spend the time he gives to researching his opponents’ defense with the same tenacity he has toward throwing an accurate pass. How different would my life look if I would have used 4 years to finish my first degree?
I don’t know the answer to those questions, but I do know that I have been uniquely prepared for the life that I have. I am a loving husband, a proud father, and a committed humanitarian. My upbringing taught me a lot about marriage and parenting. The example of my parents taught me as much about what to do as what not to do, and I’m glad for it. I’m glad my parents weren’t perfect because they taught me that parents should apologize. They taught me to make decisions even when others don’t understand the reason for it. They taught me perseverance, and they taught me that I could overcome whatever I might face in life.
Since I was 16, I have had a job. I’ve worked fast food, retail, car sales, maintenance, military, corrections, social services, Christian ministry, education, and construction. Some jobs were more enjoyable than others, but they all play a part in the work I do now.
When I was interviewing for my current position I made the comment, and the CEO agreed, that my life story seemed to be preparing me precisely for this position. Two years ago I wasn’t ready for the position I have. Ten years ago I was even less ready. God had a plan for me to be where I am right now. He knew it was going to happen, and He prepared me for it. I couldn’t rush into the life I now have because I had to be equipped for this life. The best part is that even now I know that my current experiences are going to continue equipping me for what God has in store for my future.
Right now everyone reading this is on a journey. You may know where God is leading you, but the journey is still necessary. Live in the moment, and take in what you can get from it. Don’t rush through it looking for the next thing God would have for you. Learn where you are, improve what you do, and you will find that when you get where you are going, you will be perfectly equipped and capable for it.