The other night at church, a friend asked me if I’d read any good books lately. Much to my chagrin, I had to tell her no, I hadn’t. My response was not because I have read books that just weren’t good but because I haven’t read any books at all, for a few months now (I know, I’m an embarrassment to English majors everywhere). As I was thinking about my lack of reading, I realized that I’ve fallen into an unhealthy habit of escapism. Every night, almost without fail, I watch Netflix. Most of the time I watch an episode of Gilmore Girls, an episode I have probably seen 5 or 6 times previously, and then I’ll watch one or two more. While watching I’ll scroll through my Facebook feed or text a few people, but mostly I am just completely checked out, lost in the world of Stars Hollow. Then I look at the clock, discover that it’s 10:00 p.m., and I wonder where the evening went.
My church recently finished a Wednesday night series on spiritual disciplines, and the discipline I’ve been thinking the most about is stewardship, specifically stewardship of time. I’m a terrible time waster. I’m always complaining to myself that I never have enough time, and yet I always find time for the things I truly want to do. I “don’t have time” to properly clean my house, but the truth a lot of the times is that there are approximately 2,345 things I’d rather do than clean my house, so I do all of those things instead. I “don’t have time” to read good books, and yet I find time to watch 1.5-2 hours of TV at night. I “don’t have time” to pray a lot or memorize Scripture, and yet I find time to stay caught up on all my social media feeds.
My priorities are terribly skewed, and it’s no wonder I have felt so discontented and out of sorts. It’s no wonder I feel as though everyone’s life is better than mine, when all I’m doing is comparing my life to the snapshots of other people’s lives I see on the internet instead of working to improve my own. It’s no wonder I spend time wondering why I haven’t managed to do anything terribly significant with my life, when all I’m doing is wasting time feeling sorry for myself.
God has given me this life as a gift, and this day is precious, for this day is all I’m guaranteed. When I die, am I going to wish I had watched more episodes of Gilmore Girls? When I die, am I going to wish I had more “friends” on Facebook? Or am I going to wish I had spent more time coloring with my daughter or reading God’s Word or ministering to those around me? Am I making time for the eternal things, for the things that will outlast Netflix and Instagram and even my piles of dirty laundry, or am I burying my head in the mire of a mediocre life when there is abundant life waiting for me?
What am I going to do about all of this? I don’t think it’s bad to watch TV, but I do think it’s bad if watching TV is how I spend the majority of my nights when I could have been using the time to pursue godliness. So instead, I’m going to focus on being more intentional with my evenings. Charlotte is in bed by 8:00 p.m., Lord willing, so I have a solid 2 hours to spend writing or reading or cultivating relationships. I’m not going to change the world in those 2 hours, but I can certainly work on my little slice of it.
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12