Why We Should Waste More Time

I often find myself too busy.

To be honest, much of it is my own creation. I try to work on too many things at the same time. I said “yes” when I really should have said “no.” Sometimes I just imagine how much a particular pursuit would please God and pour myself into it.

On the other hand, I also feel the pressure of having to be productive. If I’m not using all the latest technology, people tell me how much faster things can be accomplished if I add a new gadget. People become frustrated when they don’t receive an immediately response through their chosen avenue of communication (which means they expect me to be on every social network and device available).

Whether it’s my own doing or pressure from culture, I can easily begin moving at a breath-taking pace. As I evaluate how I’m spending my time, I see a lot of really great things. Of course this makes sense. After all, there’s no time to waste. There are people who have yet to hear about Jesus. Families who are desperately in need of help. Children living in poverty. To waste any time would seem to be selfish, lazy and just plain un-Christian.

But what if I gain the whole world and lose my soul?

At times, I find myself moving toward a fast-food spirituality. I value productivity over substance. I choose a quick experience as opposed to a healthy one. I live a hurried life for the greatest good – God Himself.

If I’m not careful, busyness defines me.

“How are you, Andrew?”

Busy.

“What’s been going on with you lately?”

I’ve been busy.

“If you could describe your life right now in one word, what would it be?”

I’m sorry. I don’t have time for these questions.

Busyness begins affecting every area of life and identity. We can’t answer questions about our soul because we no longer have perspective on who we are. Our hearts become isolated from others as we lose sight of the value of relationship. Our minds become so filled with the good things we are doing that our mind is no longer focused on Christ.

My busyness may just be a way of me placing myself as lord of my life instead of the one true God.

Mark Buchanan addresses this in his booth Spiritual Rhythm.

I had worked for many years with rickety logic: religious busyness is the same things as spiritual maturity…But I started to notice that religious busyness tends to make those of us caught up in it not deeper, wiser, kinder, but more shrill, more opinionated, more judgmental (Buchanan, pp. 17-18).

But how would I be able to know and evaluate whether or not this has become true of me?

I need to waste more time.

I’m not talking about buying a new gaming system or taking up an expensive hobby. It’s not about me just sitting around doing nothing. What I need is a more intentional practice of tuning my hearts, soul, mind and strength to the all-knowing voice of God.

In Running on Empty, Fil Anderson reminds me that “Only the Inventor can give to the invented its identity, significance, and ultimate purpose” (Anderson, 65). I can’t keep trying to create my purpose and desired results through my busyness. I need to allow my life to be filled and empowered through time wasted with God.

In other words, I need to value time enough to waste it.

  • Waste time praying long and wandering prayers to God as opposed to “drive-thru” requests.
  • Waste time reading and re-reading Scripture until I see myself in the pages and hear God speaking to me – a far cry from the one-minute Bible.
  • Waste time sharing spiritual battles and successes with other believers so we can spur one another on to love and good works instead of taking “unspoken” requests because there isn’t time or relationship enough to share.

When I think through the value and life-giving activity involved in these disciplines, it seems so hard to call them a waste of time.

And yet in our busyness, that’s exactly what we’re saying they are.

Wasting time with God is the most healthy thing I can do.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones. (Proverbs 3:5-8)

Today, I’m going to waste some time with God.

—–

How about you? What are some life-giving ways you waste time with God?

 

 

 

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