Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Wasted Time

One of my biggest problems is time management. I am constantly caught wasting time and it was completely unintentional. Even more frustrating is my inability to manage my time effectively prevents me from those free moments in the day where “wasting time” is allowable. Seem confusing? Picture this. I am waiting on the fantastic meal to emerge from the oven, and instead of changing out the dishes or laundry, I turn to scrolling through social media to get the scoop on everyone’s latest and greatest. So when dinner is over and the cleanup overwhelms me and it is time to put the kids to bed and I have wet clothes to put in the dryer that will be wrinkled because I will fall asleep before the dryer stops, I feel like I am drowning. Whose fault? Mine. All because I was afraid I was going to miss out on something that could wait or really did not even need to involve me.

This neglectful behavior becomes habitual and just like any habit, it eventually becomes harmful. I repeat this same mistake throughout the day and 10 minutes lost here plus 5 minutes lost there adds up. Even as I type this, I look around my living room and spot 3 stacks of books that are not ornate. They are in need of being put away. Why didn’t I do it immediately? They were taken out to share with my women’s group for visual references, but then the domino effect of the rest of the day transpired with other obligations and I never got back around to it. You know that avalanche - start dinner, water the flowers, do the laundry, bathe the dog (and children), make lunches for school tomorrow, work on budget and bills, and so on and so on. The books STILL SIT there taunting me reminding me that if I would just use my time on Instagram today walking across the room from desk to bookshelf, I would have just a tiny bit less anxiety.

I know that many of you experience similar conundrums, but I feel like I am the princess of procrastination. And here is the biggie, it is a sin. Did you know that? When I sit down and wrap my brain around that, it makes me aware of how much more important it is for me to get myself into gear and make better use of my time.

The Bible is very clear about God’s view of idle behavior - it leads to trouble. In Paul’s letter to Timothy, he reminds the church that those who are left idle become busybodies (his words, not mine) and are involved in business they ought not be involved.

Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to. 1 Timothy 5:13

This is not to say that involving yourself in the lives of others is a sin through social media. However, are you using your time to honor God by maintaining a stress free status as you stay informed on the paint color of your high school classmate’s new guest bedroom, or are you using your time for His glory and honor to accomplish the tasks at hand presented to you with the many responsibilities of every day life prioritized accordingly?

In Ecclesiates 11:6 we read, “Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.” You will not know immediately as to whether your investment in “wasted time” is fruitful. You will know very quickly if the day becomes so overwhelming that exhaustion robs you of joy and you struggle to see if you actually sowed anything. God walks with you to give you clarity of direction and energy to invest. Let us not be idle, but work in such a way that when free time arrives, it is actually ours for the taking.