The Art of Wasting Time

UnknownMost people who know me see me as a disciplined person. I spend time in the Word each morning, work out every day, and aside from the occasional chocolate indulgence, eat healthy. I’m not making this claim to toot my own horn—believe me, some of these practices come from psychologically unhealthy motives. But I want to set the stage, so to speak.

There are so many distractions in the world today, it’s a wonder anyone can stay focused on what’s truly important. And contrary to popular opinion, it’s not Facebook, or endless hours of television, or surfing the Net—none of which are my default zones. No, mine is computer Solitaire. It’s amazing how one game becomes two, then three, then… hello, wasted time! I find this is especially true when I’m suffering from writer’s block. It’s much easier to focus on some ridiculous game than the real issue—the fear of inadequacy.

I wonder how many people slip into the Art of Wasting Time for just this reason. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with these activities—in moderation. But spending an inordinate amount of time in pointless tasks—with no eternal value or significance—is just another form of self-medication. How much easier it is to zone out than to face life. You might think, So, what? It’s not hurting anyone. I don’t believe that’s true. Wasted time is just one of the enemy’s strategies for making us ineffective.

What is truly brilliant about this strategy is that we can easily fall into it and never realize how impacting it can be—negatively. But every hour that we succumb to apathy is a win for Satan. Do you see how perfect it is? We don’t have to be wicked or rude or disparaging in order to serve Satan. We just have to be useless. When I realized this, it was like a slap in the face. I don’t want to stand before Jesus at Judgment and defend lost time playing Solitaire.

So, because I’m a somewhat disciplined person, I took action. I deleted these games from my desktop, my laptop and my iPad. When I get a Facebook invite to join one of the myriads of games available to play with my friends, I trash the request without responding. If that seems rude, I apologize, but I know my limitations. It wouldn’t take long before I’m sucked into the vortex of catatonia.

Instead, when I need down time, I would rather read an inspiring book, spend some quality time conversing with my children or even scrubbing the shower. Or, if I’m really brave, face that fear of inadequacy head on and prove to myself what the apostle Paul pronounced in Philippians, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

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