Kairos-Chronos: The Tension of Waiting on the Spirit

As human beings, we seem to be wired to contemplate a better future - for ourselves, our loved ones, our communities – indeed, Planet Earth. I find myself thinking about “the picture of a preferable future” quite often. Sometimes, these thoughts can be daunting. Even a bit overwhelming. I can fall into the trap of feeling like a small and insignificant speck in a big world. A world in which I have minimal influence. Yet I know God’s truth is that I am significant. You are significant. You are unique. You are needed to play a special role in God’s grand story. In this blog, which is part of the series Spirit-led Entrepreneurship: God is Speaking, I want to explore how we can live a “Kairos Life in a Chronos World.”

First, a couple of definitions (excerpted and lightly edited) from that venerable fount of knowledge, Wikipedia:

“The ancient Greeks had two words for time: χρόνος (Chronos) and (καιρός) Kairos. Kairos is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment. While Chronos refers to chronological or sequential time, Kairos signifies a period or season, a moment of indeterminate time in which an event of significance happens. While Chronos is quantitative, Kairos has a qualitative, permanent nature.”

While we live our day to day lives in Chronos, or sequential time, I believe that our spirits are awaiting the Kairos of God’s Spirit.  That is to say, as I diligently engage in my work-a-day life, I am simultaneously attempting to tune my spirit to anticipate and recognize the Kairos of God’s Spirit. Essentially, the Kairos of the Spirit is that opportune moment when I sense that he is present, he is speaking or guiding me, advancing me in a tangible, meaningful way toward a rich, full and abundant life.

And while the Kairos of the Spirit is a beautiful thing to experience, it is not where most of, or much of life is lived. That would be the Chronos – the often-long stretches of sequential time that can seem quite mundane. Our day to day activities, our day jobs, the ins and outs of daily routine – these make up the lion’s share of our existence. This is by God’s design, I believe, and we’d do well to embrace such “ordinariness”!

All the same, there is a tension that many of us experience amid our ordinariness. Paradoxically, I believe this also by God’s design. That is, we’re experiencing a present reality that falls short of the future we hope for and contemplate. I call this phenomenon “the gap”. And a healthy approach to life involves managing the tension between our present reality and the picture of our preferable future – or “minding the gap” as I like to put it. As we mind the gap, how do we look for and recognize the Kairos of God’s Spirit?

For me, it happens by first inviting the Spirit to be present, to catalyze, to speak – to do what He wants to do. Secondly, it involves asking Him to give me a heightened awareness of His presence so that I can hear and see him in the middle of the Chronos. My practical prayer looks something like this:

Spirit be present with me in the Chronos, the day-to-day, the ordinary. Help me to be loving in my relationships and giving to those around me. Help me to be diligent in doing the tasks immediately before me. Spirit, I welcome you to speak, to move in an opportune and unexpected, Kairos way. Spirit, heighten my awareness and increase my sensitivity to your Kairos. Cause me to open myself to those special moments when you are present and moving, advancing me toward a richer, more abundant life. Finally, let me be equally grateful for both the Chronos and the Kairos, to find You and embrace You amid both.

May I encourage you to seek and experience the Spirit in both the Chronos and Kairos. May He pour out His favor on you in the process and enable you to mind the gap with joy and gratefulness.