When I have a day with space in it, I often refer to that space as “nothing time.” Nothing is scheduled, nothing HAS to be done. So today, nothing time looks like driving my 7th grader to school instead of sticking him on the bus. It looks like chats on the phone and long overdue email updates. It looks like hanging at a coffee house while I get my tires rotated, and blogging with nothing in particular in mind. It looks like hair thrown into a messy bun, and teeth that can get brushed eventually. It looks like a meandering hike with no timer reminding me when I need to get back.
I was thinking about the kindergarden class I teach. They sometimes have time set aside in their schedule to day dream. They talk about it wistfully, like it is one of the best things they get to do.
I was thinking about my daughter who hungers for time in her room to write stories and make messes with her stuffed animals. Wednesdays have become her dreaded day because they are packed full of activities: early bell choir at school, track, and ballet on the same day. Today is Thursday and there are no activities scheduled. Blessed nothing time.
I was thinking about how often nothing time results in something good. Nothing time often opens the possibility of listening to the little voice of desire that finally gets a word in. Because we don’t HAVE to do anything, we get to do what we want or what we need. Sometimes that is sleep, sometimes that is getting lost in a new book, sometimes that is composing music, or creating something in the kitchen. Nothing time can give us the space and perspective we need to think through an issue on our minds. It’s like that elongated prep period that teachers crave.
“Be still and know that I am God”, says Psalm 46:10. I am not great at being still. When I am still, there is a temptation to give into the voice that nags about all that needs to be done. Nothing time can seem like an indulgence. It feels lavish and selfish. It seems wasteful.
Another scripture comes to mind from Hebrews 3:15. It reads, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” The rebellion being referred to here was when the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness and their lack of faith and obedience prevented them from rest, from Shalom.
My nugget of truth in this moment is the need to listen to the beckoning voice of the shepherd who “makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters” rather than the voice of urgency and demand. Obedience today is living into nothing time. Obedience in a culture of fast, furious, urgent, efficient may very well look like choosing to have our souls restored in moments of stillness.
Thanks be to the God of abundance who gives us nothing time for His own good pleasure and ours.