Time Signature: Making Room for Friendship Through the Rhythms of Life
"There’s only one thing more precious than our time and that’s who we spend it on.”
– Leo Christopher
FLAW- I Don't Have Enough Time
LAW- I Have Enough Time For What Matters
Recently on Facebook, I surveyed my friends to ask what some of their biggest challenges are when it comes to Friendship, and the overwhelming response was not surprisingly the issue of time. From family demands to work schedules to the challenge of knowing which Friendship circles and who within those circles to invest in, it can sometimes be easier to forget it, grab our phones, and reach for what’s easy (Netflix, our phones, or another movie night with the kids).
While we all see and are suffering to some degree from the problems within this methodology—lives of superficial connection and monotony—we don’t seem to be too good at fixing it. Let’s face it, the demands of life are often complicated, time consuming, and exhausting, so anything we deem as extraneous to our responsibilities can feel like a big time suck.
Though the dilemma is understandable, the fact that Friendship gets relegated often times to the extraneous category is a bit concerning, and we wonder if we can get Friendship back to where it belongs… into the Time Signature of our lives.
A time signature is known as the two numbers at the beginning of a piece of music that indicate rhythm. It lets you know how many beats there are in a measure and which note value gets the beat. Seems complicated but it doesn’t take too long to get the hang of it!
Where it does get complicated, however, is in distinguishing between all of the different time meters, and unfortunately there’s no shortage of them: simple, compound, complex, mixed, additive, fractional, irrational, and a few more!
Please forgive me, but it’s literally as if the metaphor jumped into my lap here, and I’m no dummy when it comes to seizing the moment:
Take a look at some of those time signature names again. Which one best describes what your life feels like right now?
Listen, we all have seasons that are simple and some that feel completely irrational! But if we’re honest, we all know women (maybe we’re one of them) who live in the fractional and irrational meters constantly. Sometimes things happen to us out that are of our control which cause life to speed up and change beats erratically, but many times we are the composers of our own rhythm.
The good thing about time signatures is that we can change them anytime we want, even right smack dab in the middle of the song.
We Make Time for What’s Important
To the best of my recollection, I can honestly say that I have never in all my life skipped a meal, unless you count the few disastrous times I decided to become a faster (and by disastrous I mean I got hungry and ate). Do you know why I never miss a meal? Because my body likes food, it wants some every day, and so I spend time eating.
You will pursue what you need and enjoy, no matter how busy you are. When I take time to eat, I actually get more energy and the mental reset that I need to keep going. I never consider time a problem when it comes to eating because of the value I place on maintaining a consistent baseline so that I’m not hitting blood sugar highs and lows all day.
That’s how Friendship works. My friends’ conversations and presence in my life are a constant touchstone, a baseline, and a source of energy for me. I don’t take or make time for them; I nourish myself with them. This means weaving them throughout my day, texting and calling and sharing my life with them. For close friends, I rarely have to take the time to “catch them up” because they’re a part of my life. We have invited each other in to love up close and personal, which means they are to me as much of a priority as family and work.
When I keep the close ones close, I then have time to invest in newer or more casual relationships that need less from me but that are still important to maintain, either because they are new, developing, have been in my life for some time, or are for a more strategic purpose (such as work or community related).
Time is Not the Problem
I am in the busiest season of my life, so it may surprise you to hear that time is not my problem, though I sure like to say it is. Usually when I’m having a time issue, it’s because I’m having a rhythm issue. Too many parts of my life are divided or subdivided, the “meter” is changing too frequently and back again, and the simple rhythm of grace has been exchanged for my own counter-beat.
Simply put, I’m spending time on things that don’t matter over people who do.
Usually I can tell when a season shift is coming in my life because I grow very dissatisfied with where my time is going and on whom it is being spent. I begin to feel fragmented, stressed, and isolated, bored with the monotony and missing connections that are personally or strategically important to my life.
These are the moments the Holy Spirit is usually working, alerting me that I need to pay attention, and that either He or I need to make a change. More often than not, my Time Signature needs an adjustment, and lucky for me, God is a perfect composer:
“Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.”
As far as I can tell by watching Jesus, He stayed in such tight connection with His Father that He knew who and what needed Him and when. His rhythm was unforced and sensitive to where He should go, who needed Him there, and what He was to do while He was with them. He wasn’t distracted. And He went with His friends.
In the Comments Below Tell Us:
What does the Time Signature of your life feel like right now? Do you feel as if the rhythm is perfect and unforced, with time to make your mark where and with whom you are called? Does it feel hurried and sporadic? Slow and monotonous? Is there anything you need to change in order to feel the unforced rhythms of grace so that Friendship becomes one of the Time Signatures of your life?
Join us Friendship Friday on The Flaws of Friendship Podcast (CATCH UP HERE), as we dive deeper into the topic of TIME.