Lets be real people: the concept of language is so cool. The idea that different languages have words that don't translate perfectly to any other language is just so fascinating to me. I love that eureka! moment you experience when you stumble upon the perfect word to describe something that doesn't exists in English. I always find a sense of comfort knowing that there are entire cultures who have already titled something that I thought I might have been the only one trying to vocalize. For example, in Jesus’ day, there were two words to describe time: Chronos and Kairos. The word Chronos refers to linear time, and the word Kairos is defined as “a time when conditions are right for the accomplishment of a crucial action, or the opportune and decisive moment” The word Kairos is used all throughout the Bible to refer to God’s appointed time. One of my favorite uses of Kairos is found in Galatians 6:9, “ Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time [Kairos] we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” I love this concept of living on Kairos instead of Chronos: living our lives focused on God’s celestial agenda instead of our own.
As a total organization nerd, that is much easier for me to say than do. I am the type of person who finds comfort in color coding my planner and always knowing what my day is going to bring. To me, the idea of living on God’s time and going with the flow is simultaneously the most terrifying and liberating thing I can imagine. Although the concept of Kairos really freaks me out sometimes, I think God builds spaces in all of our lives that are governed by his time and serve as an invitation to run on his schedule. I think he is intentional in creating these places to give us a little peak into the sweetness that comes with surrendering our grip on our precious productive little lives.
In my life, Kairos always comes at my lakehouse in Michigan. Every morning either starts with quiet newspaper and coffee time on the screened-in porch, breakfast dance parties complete with my uncle’s famous breakfast burritos, or a “pig pile” of cousins sent to come wake you up when you're the last one still in bed. I don’t think I’ve ever started a lakehouse morning by snoozing an alarm clock, and I hope I never will. Time is constructed around the prime sun hours, how long it will take to get in a good round of golf, the baking time for a chocolate cake, what time the sun sets, and meal times. There is no schedule to when breakfast, lunch or dinner are, but I promise you that corn on the cob will never taste sweeter and my mom’s blueberry muffins are ten thousand times better when they’re eaten around the table consumed by sun kissed faces after a long day at the beach. Even if you tried to follow Chronos at the lake, you're sure to get mixed up by the time change: everyone’s phones switch an hour later to Michigan time, but all the clocks in the house are set to Chicago time leaving everyone wondering what time the ice cream parlor really closes, and when the right time to order pizza will be. My favorite time change mixup happened on Easter one year growing up. We had confused the mass times and had shown up at 10am Chicago time only to find a congregation filing out of the last Sunday service. We sat in the parking lot, said a little prayer, and then drove back to the house to devour our chocolate bunnies and cook Easter brunch. It turned out to be one of my favorite memories of Easter; not because I didn't have to sit through another Easter Sunday service, but because I got all that extra time to spend with my family and be thankful for the beauty of the day.
Its in moments like these that I think God chuckles at us. I am sure he thinks our little preoccupation with schedules and due dates is so amusing because we have no control over anything in our lives, let alone time. God doesn’t really care what we have planned and when, and it always seems like he moves in the biggest ways right at our most unimportant, ordinary, or inconvenient times.
Being up at my lakehouse always reminds me of this simple truth. Some of the biggest moments in my life have happened at this house, and some of my sweetest memories have happened without cell service or dinner reservations. Right now I am sitting in my room writing and listening to the waves crash on the beach; I don't really care that I am up late, because I have nowhere to be tomorrow except here. Yesterday, my mom and I paddle boarded out onto the lake at sunset and watched the sun paint the sky a hundred different colors before slipping behind the clouds in the most spectacular light show only to rise the next day, and do it all over again. God never ceases to amaze me with the fullness of life there is to experience when we just slow down a little and choose to live on Kairos instead of Chronos. This summer, I'm working on a lot of things, but if there is anything I really want to master its the art of slowing down and allowing God’s will to dictate my schedule little by little each day.