Feeling the pressure of several tasks this week, I have a drumbeat of “deadine, deadline, deadline” in my head. When a word keeps entering my consciousness, sometimes it helps to learn more about it. The Free Dictionary Online offers this definition for “deadline” – “A boundary line in a prison that prisoners can cross only at the risk of being shot.” Deadline does have ominous origins. What an unpleasant image!
Yet, for me, who holds the figurative guns? For some tasks, the deadline comes from the person to whom I promise a finished project by a certain time – “Yes, I’ll make those phone calls and give you their responses by Saturday.” Sometimes, the season pulls the trigger. Just before winter in Anchorage, outdoor chores like bringing in begonias and changing to snow tires must be finished very soon.
How can I avoid feeling trapped by deadlines? James 1:2-4 says, “My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.” Instead of hearing the drumbeat of deadlines, I need to re-imagine them as lifelines, challenges which, when met, will bring me closer to God.