A Matter of Time

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

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6 thoughts on “A Matter of Time

  1. ugh, I know this feeling of time wasting. and i’m 1000% with you on the house-cleaning.
    two things that have helped me (i’m still a giant time-waster, but sometimes its wasted more productively now, ha!)
    1) finding a book-ish blog I love, to provide me with a steady stream of new ideas to read and cheap kindle deals. I think before this i felt i always had to be reading “classics” or something and would get so bored! don’t tell. 🙂 Modern Mrs. Darcy is my favorite–maybe you read her already, though…shes amazing!
    2) Its almost certainly too late for this year, but in august/sept, find a Bible Study Fellowship class. This last year, it was life of Moses and we studied the verse from Psalms there–he wrote it. There has been nothing so spiritually challenging, motivating and encouraging as my studies in this class. can’t recommend it enough!
    If you can manage it (not sure how old charlotte will be…) but there are men’s classes and a school age program, so the whole family can study together. hasn’t worked for us yet, that would be exciting.

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    • I haven’t heard of Modern Mrs. Darcy but will definitely check it out! We don’t have any Bible Study Fellowship classes near us, unfortunately, but I’ve heard great things about it.

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  2. Ouch, so convicting.
    I tell myself I’m entitled to clock out after my son goes to bed. There’s a lot of hard junk in my life right now, so I let myself be comforted by entertainment when I have the time for it. How much better equipped I would be to handle the junk if I used that time to seek the Lord. :/

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    • Glenna, I know exactly what you mean! I tell myself I “need” this time to unwind and not think about my hard things, but really what I need is more Jesus!

      On Wed, May 6, 2015 at 9:32 AM, One Honest Mess wrote:

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  3. yes! i know exactly what you mean. i’ve been thinking a lot about how i use my time lately–its easy to make excuses (pregnant, tired, the kids are just SO LOUD…) and want to zone out but when i’m engaged with the world around me, life is better.

    one thing i’ve started doing is waking up before the kids (which is HARD) so i can have some time alone to read scripture, pray, read poetry and write. its usually only 30-45 minutes in the morning, but starting my day that way makes a big difference.

    i’ve also been thinking a lot on how often i tell the girls “no” or “not right now” — why not right now for reading a book or playing ponies or whatever? i’m selfish with my time. its an area i’ve been trying to work on.

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  4. This is so convicting for me. I feel like you’ve pretty much described my life. Kids in bed, Netflix on, where did the evening go? And it’s mostly because I’m too exhausted to do anything else. I do think nighttime should be a time for rest, but I’m definitely guilty of being an escapist with that time. It’s hard when you have a lot of demands on your time and you just can’t do one more thing. Something I’m actually trying to be better about is saying “no” more often. In the past, if a friend wanted to get a 7pm coffee or if I had missed phone calls piling up, I’d always say yes. Always yes to coffee, always yes to returning phone calls…so that, when I did have a free night, it was all I could do to stay awake for 1.5-2 hours of TV. I’m trying to remember I can’t be all things to all people and that I do need rest…but then, as this post says so well, it very quickly escalates into escapism. We actually just recently finished a series on Netflix and decided not to look for something new to watch, so this is very timely for me!

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