What would your Zeitgeist look like?

I called up Google and asked them to make a Zeitgeist for me, but they turned down my offer when most of the clips I sent them were of me sitting on the couch in my pajamas. I don’t blame them.

What you just watched was Google’s 2013 Zeitgeist. Zeitgeist is German, meaning “time” (Zeit) and “spirit” (Geist). The actual definition is the defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time.

I love this definition, particularly the words I put in bold – the defining spirit or mood. When I take those words and try and apply it to my own “Zeitgeist,” I come to a screeching halt. What was my defining spirit or mood over the last year? Was this last year everything I hoped it would be? Did I have any new beginnings or new frontiers? Did I find ways to help those around me or show any courage through my actions? Did I have to say goodbye to something or someone? Did I inspire others or be inspired?

Can I truthfully answer yes to all of these questions? Probably not. Maybe in some small ways here and there some of these apply, like new beginnings (jobs, puppies, family surprises) or saying good-bye when things changed or loved ones were lost. It’s all relative, but is it all a reality in our everyday lives?

The truth is, everyday we should be able to create a Zeitgeist of our own, one of good things: love, joy, courage, bravery, inspiration, gutsiness, and beauty. We just get so busy with our everyday routines we sometimes forget that we are supposed to actually thrive in the life we have instead of just survive in it. We think, if only we had more time.

Pastor Steven Furtick out of North Carolina had something to say about the old adage, if only we had more time,

With all this technology and all our devices, we can always see all the crap we have to cram in a day. So we always live in a state of emergency. But the spirit of emergency is the enemy of divine opportunity. Because God didn’t put you here just to count the days and see how much more crap you can fit in it. He put you here so you can see how much God you can get out of all the moments that He’s put you in… We miss the moments because we despise the mundane. ‘If only I had more time.’ Well you don’t get more time. What you get is the opportunity to make the most of the time.

It was as if God was pointing his finger directly in my face from just a few inches away like a mother who’s had enough with her nagging daughter asking “are we there yet?” God was relaying to me to stop wasting my time on wishing I had more of it. To stop asking are we there yet, seeking the destination instead of enjoying the journey. There are 24 hours in a day and there are 7 days a week. This is the allotted time you get and it will never change. You want more time? Well you don’t get more time! So stop fixating on that and start focusing on the time you do have.

We take for granted time spent with loved ones only to wish we had that time back when it’s too late and that loved one is gone.

We fixate on what we don’t have and spend our time working our rear-ends off to obtain it only to realize all we ever really needed was right in front of us if we just took the time to notice.

We use work as our excuse to keep us from doing anything we’re passionate about so we waste away from 9-5 instead of realizing that God loves work and wants us to be passionate about everything we do because it all should be for Him anyway.

Shall I go on? We can create a list a mile long and it still wouldn’t be long enough.

Next week we are ringing in a new year and that comes along with our own exasperated lists of New Year Resolutions. Do you have one? Will you stick with it?

I have many, thanks to Google. Here’s to new beginnings, new frontiers, to helping others, to bringing forth courage, to saying goodbye, to inspiring & being inspired… I encourage you to do the same.

Joining a gym? Great. Going on a diet? Fantastic. Going back to church? Even better. But how about making it a little more personal?

Enjoy the little things. Spend time with your family. Release yourself from that guilt and go apologize. Release someone of theirs and go forgive them. Volunteer more. Give more. Encourage more. Be kind more. Full of grace more. Read more. Write more. Sing more. Dance more. Create more. Have faith more. Trust in God more. Love more.

Work isn’t everything. Obtaining that new car or purse or extra cash to re-do the kitchen isn’t everything. These are not bad things, either. There is nothing wrong with wanting some nice things, but what makes it wrong is when we waste so much of our time on these things we forget what’s really important. We forget that at the end of our lives, we can’t take any of those things with us. We can only leave behind what I wouldn’t call things. No one will ever remember what kind of car you drove. But they will remember how humble and thankful to God you were for the incredible blessings He gave you. No one will ever remember what your kitchen looked like. But they will remember how passionate you were about feeding the needy. No one will ever remember your salary. But they will remember how generous you were to the church or to those who needed it most around you. No one will ever remember tangible things. But they will remember your intangibles – how much you loved, how much you cared, how much you gave. They’ll remember what mattered most. How many times have you seen in an obituary the kind of car the man drove his whole life?

An author once wrote, “Wherever you are, be all there.” Be all there. Enjoy this time you’re in. Because God makes it clear we don’t get more of it. We get opportunity to seize the time we have. If we do this, I promise our Zeitgeist will be worth watching, and the world’s Zeitgeist will be more beautiful than ever before.

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