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In Good Time: Jen Pollock Michel

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
May 19, 2023 5:15 am

In Good Time: Jen Pollock Michel

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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May 19, 2023 5:15 am

Ever imagined a life without hurry, relentless work, multitasking, or scarcity? Jen Pollock Michel, author of In Good Time, believes we can live lives characterized instead by presence, attention, rest, rootedness, fruitfulness, and generosity.

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Follow Jen on instagram @jenpmichel

You can purchase Jen's book,In Good Time: 8 Habits for Reimagining Productivity, Resisting Hurry, and Practicing Peace.

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So back during the NFL football season, I had this great weekend with my oldest son. CJ and I went down to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa Bay is losing the whole game. And they're down by like five or six, and there's like a minute forty to go. And I'm like, CJ, let's go, man. This traffic is going to be terrible.

We got to get out of here. I know what it's like when, you know, NFL games, they're not going to come back. So we run out of the stadium, listen to the game as we're driving out.

We hear Tampa Bay's coming back. And I'm coming up to a red light, and it's about to turn red. And I'm like, if I get stuck in this light, so I run through it, and there's this flash. CJ, do you think they just took a picture? He goes, yup, I think you got a ticket.

And I got a $150 ticket mailed to me. And I missed the end of the game that Tom Brady won on the final second. I'm Mr. Laidback, but I tell you, there's times when I miss moments. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Shelby Abbott, and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. You can find us at or on the Family Life app.

This is Family Life Today. Today, we're going to talk about time and not missing moments. And you can hear Jen, and she's over there.

Jen Pollock, Michelle, is back with us. I said yesterday, you're the guru of time. You wrote a book called In Good Time.

By the way, what's that title mean? I mean, did I miss a good time? And it will happen.

In Good Time. You know, I think one of the things that I'm trying to say in the book is that time is a gift. And I don't think we have that kind of relationship with time. I think we normally think of time as a threat. You know, time is the scarcity of our lives. And so we have this sort of antagonistic relationship with time. And I think even just to be able to say time is a gift.

And that can already sort of reorder your relationship. It actually can perhaps be the perspective that you need when you say like, wait, hold on, this moment, this time full moment. Like, it's been given to us.

And it's been given to us by God. So like, I'm not going to rush past it. I'm actually going to like settle into it.

I'm going to like look around and just recognize and receive this gift of time. So I think that is what we were trying to do with the title. Yeah, and I know you talk about this a little bit in your book, the difference between Kronos and Kairos.

I don't know if I'm saying exactly right. When I've talked about it, Kairos, I call it Kairos. But, you know, you go back to my story and I was all about chronological time. Tick, tick, tick, minute, minute, minute.

Got to get out of here in time. And Kairos, this is the way I define it. And you did it same but different. I love how you define it. I've always defined Kairos time as like a moment of time where time sort of stops. You sort of seize it and you do what you were able to do right there. It's like you look around and go, oh my goodness, I'm with my son.

I'm sitting in a stadium. Why am I rushing out of here? I missed a Kairos moment where God sort of steps into time. Is that true? Is that how you sort of see it? Yeah, it's interesting. I've had a little email conversation back and forth with somebody who was writing about Kairos and Kronos, however you say those words.

And I have a feeling you probably know way more than I do about this. But I did kind of dig into how does the Bible use these words. And you really see that God is about both kinds of time. You know, chronological time is something that God gave us in the garden.

He made evening and morning the first day and six days and then the seventh to take your rest. So, this way that we can account for time as like successive moments is a good. Now, it's not a good necessarily in our modern mentality where like every single moment has to count. And Kairos time is the time that's kind of disappeared for us. This idea that there's another kind of time. And it is that time behind the veil. And it's happening right now. I think it's so cool that the Bible actually says that eternal life is like, it's now.

It's not just later. So, we're living. We can live kairotic moments now. But a lot of times we just don't even have eyes to sort of even see.

Or, you know, we don't have a body that even responds, has a receptivity to that kind of time. Have you had to pray, Lord, open my eyes and show me what you're even doing in this moment so that I can see the way you see? Yeah. You have? I mean, all the time.

And does it change things? Yeah, I mean, I think it's one of those things that you pray and then you pray again and you pray again. You know, I think, I don't know how you guys feel in just your own Christian life. But I think when we think about our spiritual senses, it's like almost like that when Jesus healed the blind man who could see a little bit and then a little bit more. You know, the people were like trees and then he could see a little bit more. I think that that is happening to us in our spiritual lives where we grow ever more sensitive to hear the voice of God, ever, we're seeing ever more clearly. But I think I might think I'm seeing clearly today and then tomorrow, you know, continuing to pray that prayer, Lord, help me to see. I think I might even be able to see more. I really think it's hard to see eternal time.

Me too. It's just not even a frame of reference in the culture. And I think that's what I often come in repentance.

What do you define that? What do you mean by see an eternal time? You know, I mean, even just to think about people who don't know Jesus, truthfully, is where I often have to recognize that I must not grasp the reality of eternal time.

Otherwise, wouldn't I be more urgent to talk to people about their eternal souls and the offer of life, abundant eternal life through Jesus. So that's something that I think right there is sort of an application of how I realize I don't live eternal time. And I think also just how our lives are so pressurized in the moment where eternal time also says, you know, God's time is very long. And, you know, you see that in the Bible, how he's writing this generational story. And so often I'm very impatient with the season of life that I'm living in in this moment. Like, Lord, right now, if you don't answer that prayer right now, like, I'm despairing.

And I want to grow. I think eternal time would give me a lot more patience for even just earthly time. I mean, are you experiencing some of that now as you watch your mom? Absolutely. Yeah.

What are you learning right now? You've said that your mom is struggling with cognitive. Yeah.

Yeah. My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in August. And, you know, one of the things that you experience with someone who has cognitive decline is that time, like, there is no frame of time.

You actually sort of lose an orientation in time. So I can't really talk to my mom about the past. And I certainly don't really talk to her about the future. It's like the time, really, that is most kind of, I guess, present for my mom, like, is the present. It is the present moment. So there's something really beautiful about, like, being invited into living with someone in just the moment that is now. And, you know, on the one hand, like, you know, there's a great grief to not be able to revisit the past and share our story together, you know, kind of revisit things. And there's not really a sense of talking about the future either. You know, I mean, in some clearer moments, my mom will say things like, I worry about the future.

I don't know what progression, you know, this disease will take. I think she said that to me, like, a week ago in a pretty clear moment. And I said, you know what?

We don't know, but I'm here with you. And I think you start to recognize that so often we don't solve problems of time. We, like, don't, you know. But we want to, Jen. I want to, but we can't.

No. I read a commentary on Ecclesiastes about that verse, like, the crooked things that can't be made straight. And that's kind of the season that I'm living now with my mom, wanting to fix some things and wanting to, like, make things easier for her and recognizing some crooked things can't be made straight. So what do you do in a season like that? Well, what I can offer is just my own company, which is what God offers to us to think about.

He's God with us, you know? And you share that. I'm recalling my mom just passed away a couple years ago. And she went through that same Alzheimer's diagnosis. And we walked through it for 15 years with her. I struggled with that because we could never go back to the past stories. And there were times at the end where she didn't recognize me. And she would look at me and she'd say, are you me?

Which was so bizarre and sad and beautiful. But I remember doing the same thing. I remember just slowing down, putting lotion on her legs, trimming her fingernails, talking about her hair and her nails. And it changed a lot because my mom's super driven. I'm super driven. But to slow down, and one of the things I've started praying as I've gotten older is it used to be just, Lord, I give you my life today in full surrender and submission to you. But then I've added this, and God, because I'm task oriented, I want to get my stuff done. And my prayer has been, God, give me your eyes to see. Give me your ears to hear and help me to love the way you love.

He answers those prayers. But it's hard because you see it coming and you're like, ooh, will you see and say and do the things I would do? But that's not on my schedule. But I love that of just being in the present. That's a big application that's hard for us.

Yeah. I think it's actually a real gift when we're with people, older people and people who are losing their cognitive function. We're invited, actually. I think they're experiencing a different kind of time than us. Me too.

And there's something really beautiful to be able to be invited into that. Even just to slow down, for sure. I think that caring for an aging parent is not all that dissimilar sometimes to caring for a young person.

Yeah. Where when you care, I can remember telling my kids all the time, hurry up. Get your coats on, tie your shoes, hurry up. And all of those little tasks taking so much time and me feeling internally super frustrated with that pace of life. And now the same thing happens. It takes my mom just time to get out of the car.

She's always got her little water bottle with her and all these different things. And I'm like, oh boy, can we, let's move. Let's go. But it kind of reminds me, what is the hurry? Yeah.

Where am I rushing off to? You wrote the book. I know. And I'm looking at one of your habits, you know, to sort of live in life in good time is receive, which sounds like sort of what you're saying. Here's what you said.

As we learn our limits, we abandon the impulse to manage time and embrace it as a gift to be received rather than something to be controlled. Yeah. And I thought that is so beautiful because, you know, as you guys are talking about aging parents is I sat with Ann's dad, first her mom, and she passed. And her dad was my high school coach. I've known him my whole life. And we'd be sitting in his assisted living and the whole time I'm tapping my foot like, let's go, let's go.

And it was hard to receive. It was hard to just go, I don't really have anywhere to have to be. I don't have a phone call I have to make.

I don't have a chapter I have to write. It's just like, just be in this moment. Did you guys ever hear the story of Jean Lush? She's passed now, but she was an author, a speaker, and she was telling the story about she and her husband were room parents for like a dormitory for young kids.

And she said she heard there was going to be some girls were going to break out that night. And so she said her 10-year-old daughter was really struggling with going to bed. And so she's in her bed and her daughter's fidgeting and she's just irritated.

And Jean, the mom says to her daughter, what is wrong? Settle down. You need to get to sleep.

We've never said that at bedtime, right? Because she needs to go check on the safety of all the girls and the things going on. And she kept saying, what is wrong? Just settle down, settle down. When she said again, what is wrong? Her daughter, her 10-year-old daughter said, I can't speak to you when you're like this.

You need to settle down in your soul. Oh, wow. And I remember reading this and Jean said, I was so convicted.

Wow. And so she said, I am so sorry, hon. Like, let me just settle myself down. And now tell me, it seems like something's bothering you. And she said today at school, after her mom had settled down, today in school, the teacher had told me I am stupid.

Oh, my goodness. And Jean recalls, my daughter would have never said that to me had I not been settled down in my soul. And so often we're so rushed, just as you were saying, we don't see and hear the things God wants us to pay attention to. I have this inclination to believe that the whole world is inhabited with people who wish that we could settle down in our souls.

Like, if Christians were the kinds of people who settled down in their soul. I mean, when I interact with people, I just notice how people really want to talk. They want to talk. They want to be listened to. Listening is a very patient habit. Yeah, you've got to slow down.

Because, you know, you have to slow down. We're doing it right now, Jean. We are. We're listening to you. I'm doing the talking, so it's less patient for me.

Could you go faster? But I can remember actually having my neighbor over, you know, maybe like six months into the pandemic. And, you know, we just were all feeling kind of lonely and isolated. And I had her in my backyard and two and a half hours she talked, basically two and a half hours.

And when she left, she sent me a text and she said, I'm just so embarrassed. I can't believe I talked that long. But I thought to myself, people need that. Imagine if like every Christian, you know, were kind of settled down in their soul, done with all the kind of false urgency, which is manufactured. Like, I don't have to be urgent about anything. Like, I can walk as Jesus walked where I receive the interruptions of my day.

And if someone tugs at my robe, like I actually stop and say, you know, who touched me? Like, unruffled. Jesus was the most unruffled person in time. Which isn't to say he wasn't kicking his, like he's up all night sometimes praying to choose the apostles. He's, you know, feeding the 5,000 when the disciples are like, just send them away because this is too much of a hassle, you know, to think about all of this.

That's the vision that I have for my own life. And I would love to call people into that because I actually think that real ministry in the world happens when that's the kind of inner orientation that we have. Yeah, you know, as a pastor I bet, I don't know how many funerals I officiated and still do sometimes, but hundreds at least. And, you know, every funeral obviously is different based on how the person lived. And I'll never forget this one.

Often there's an open mic where people can say something about the person that is deceased. And I remember this one that I couldn't get them to stop. It's like everybody wanted to stand up, several hundred people there. And just, and I was like, hey, keep it brief. And they did that. And it just kept going and kept going.

You know what the theme was? Almost every person said about this guy, he always had time for me. I never felt like he was bothered by me or had something more important to do.

He always stopped, looked me, and he just took. And I just, that funeral marked me. I'm like, I remember those words.

Like, would anybody say that about me? Yeah. Even my own kids. Yeah. My spouse. You know, it's like you're always seeing me.

And again, what is it we are, you know, having to rush through? I got to tell you this quick story, which maybe you've heard. One of my favorite authors back in the day was a guy named John Orberg. And he wrote a book about the spiritual disciplines.

And there's a chapter about Sabbath and rest. And he tells a story about when his little kids were just toddlers and he was giving them a bath. And he's trying to dry them off. And his daughter, Mallory, just started running around the bedroom or the bathroom and singing, Di da de, di da de, di da de. And he's like, Mallory, get over here. I got to dry you off. Di da de. She just wouldn't stop dancing. And he finally says, I'm screaming at her.

Get over here. And I got to dry you off. And he says, my little five-year-old girl looks at me and goes, why daddy? And he says, as soon as she said that, I was like, she's right.

Yeah. I got nowhere to go. I got no sermon to write.

I got no one to see. She's like, come on, daddy, let's do Di da dance. And he goes, I just got up and I did the Di da dance. And I remember reading that story just thinking, we don't stop and receive the moment. Like, yeah, she needs to be dried off and that'll come. But we miss these moments. And I think that's what you're saying in this book. That's why I love it so much. Like, that receive habit, I'm not good at it.

Yeah. Well, you broke the book into two parts. Part one is on-time anxiety, which we've talked about a little bit and we all feel that. Part two is on-time faith. And then you get into these eight habits and we just talked about receiving. What are the other habits that you think, oh, I hope people get this? We've talked a little bit about waiting, but I think that's a really important one.

It's so hard. When you're in that mindset of productivity, which is also about efficiency, you know, you just want things done quickly. You want to sort of eliminate all waste. And I think we can think of waiting as seasons of waste in our lives. And it was cool to actually dig in a little bit to just how like vines grow. I got really interested in John 15 and this whole idea of like, you know, remaining, abiding in Jesus, but also this idea of enduring in Jesus.

That's another way that we could translate that word and that Jesus would be enduring in us. And so I was like, oh, okay, let me learn more about the vine. And you see that vines, they don't produce fruit all year round. They need to be forced into seasons of dormancy because in dormancy is when the roots grow deep and the root systems get strengthened.

And so you don't want a top-heavy plant. And so I just think waiting, I think, are often those seasons of dormancy where we're maybe waiting on God to answer a prayer or waiting on God to just change a circumstance in our lives or, you know, just waiting on a promise to be fulfilled. We often just want to shorten those seasons. I don't want to wait. But that's where faith is built and steadfastness and endurance as we've kind of already talked about. So I think that's a really good one. I think we're being formed really to be impatient people.

That's what it means to live in a technological society, right? Like if Amazon can't get the package to my door by like... In two days?

Oh, yeah. Like two days, I feel a little bit affronted. How about tomorrow morning? Two days?

I'm having a same-day delivery now. Jen, what does that look like for you? Like what have you had to wait for? Waiting on seasons of grief, for example. So I talk about just my own seasons of grief, which is always something you want to hurry past.

Like I don't want to feel bad. My dad died when I was in college, my first year at Wheaton. And then my brother died my first year out of Wheaton. I remember kind of thinking like, especially when my dad died, like I'll spend a week at home. You know, I'll go home. I'll be with my mom.

I'll be with my brother and then I'll come back and then I'll just kind of resume my normal life. Like I gave it a week, right? I gave grief a week. And then thank God in like six months after my dad died, I became friends with one of the professor's wives on campus, who they had actually lost a daughter to meningitis when she was 12 very suddenly. And she became a mentor in grief to me. And one of the first things she said is that, you know, time doesn't heal. Like in the sense that like it's not going to erase your hurt. You're never going to like forget that you don't have a dad. You know, that you're going to grieve, like grief will kind of be with you the rest of your life. Which isn't to say you're always going to feel it as acutely as you do now.

And so I took that into the season of losing my brother. But still I remember I was a new teacher and I remember just the demands of having a new job and like I don't have tenure. And so when your principal comes and asks you to do something, you're like, of course, because I want to have this job next year. And not having maybe the courage or even the willingness to say, you know what, it's just not a good time. Like I just need this year, like trust, I wish I had trusted God to like maybe say no to some of the responsibilities that were sort of given to me as a new teacher.

Because it was October of my first year of teaching when my brother died. So waiting is hard because you just, we all want to feel like we're just our best selves all the time. I've never gone through a season of ill health, but I can imagine like the waiting that's sort of involved in whatever kind of diagnosis you might have.

Even just waiting from scan to scan. I tell the story about my friend Heather in the book who has metastatic breast cancer. And you know time as a gift when you have a diagnosis like that. And, you know, just even seeing the waiting that's involved. But we're not left alone in it. God is with us. And so even in our seasons of waiting. And shaping us as you said earlier. Shaping us, yeah.

That's beautiful. Would you pray for us? Because I feel like this hits all of us and we identify, we all identify with this topic. So I'm wondering if you would just, I love that you have so many prayers in your book. Absolutely. Will you pray for us?

Yeah. God, thank you that you enjoy time plenty. That you are not panicked by time. And I pray that you would invite each of us listening into your peace. To feel urgent about nothing except for the things that you give us to do and to receive.

Whether it's an interruption, a surprise, a disappointment, even a season of grief to wait through. Lord, help us to know the company that you keep with your people. And that you are with us. And I pray that even knowing that you're sticking closer than a brother or a sister would, would invite us into your peace.

In Jesus' name, Amen. Hi, I'm Shelby Abbott, and you've been listening to David Ann Wilson with Jen Pollock-Michel on Family Life Today. You know, I love her book, In Good Time. It gives eight practical habits to help you resist hurry, transform any time anxiety that you might have, and practice the presence of God in the here and now.

You can pick up a copy of her book at And you know, here at Family Life, we deeply care about reaching families with the timeless hope of Jesus. And the president of Family Life, David Robbins, is super passionate about that himself.

I wanted to let you know how important you are. You as a listener who hear and apply the biblical grace and truth and dive deeper into your relationship with God and in the relationships in your home and your family. That is the reason why we are here and we do what we do at Family Life.

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Our address is Family Life 100 Lakehart Drive, Orlando, Florida 32832. Now coming up next week, Dave and Ann Wilson are joined in the studio with Tim and Aileen Chalice. Tim has written a book called The Pain of Loss and the Comfort of God. They lost their son a few years ago, and he's going to talk through how to help us understand why it's possible to love God more after loss than you loved him before. On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a donor-supported production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-19 07:11:04 / 2023-05-19 07:23:04 / 12

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