Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Time keeps on slipping into the Future

I ought to write another post, a followup to the Trash one, about how the Trash one was pretty silly, but that won't happen right now.

Some Christians often talk about being good stewards with their money, because God gave them their money. This is very Biblical; Jesus tells us the parable of the Talents to tell us to use our money wisely, and the parable of the Shrewd Manager to tell us to use our money for the Kingdom,. I will refrain from utilizing the Talents-talents homonym found in English, but I will say that God gives us Spiritual Gifts as well as not-spiritual gifts (Don't ask me what those mean!), and we should use those the same way that we use our money: for the Kingdom. Money is a material possession, even if people forget that sometimes, and the best use of it is the same. But recently I have realized that God also gave us Time, and the best use of it is the same. This may sound like I am saying that God gave us our lives and therefore we should use our lives for the Kingdom, for the glory of God, but I don't use "My Life" as a unit of Time, whereas I think about how I am spending my time pretty frequently.

Several times, people have told me that if I used a planner, I would be able to manage my time better, spend my time better, and generally make myself a better person as well as a better Christian. I won't even bother explaining that, but I can tell you unequivocally that it did not work. I never remembered to look in the thing, even if I remembered to write things down. The idea of planning out how I would spend each minute of the day was incredibly difficult for me, and I would not have stuck to such a schedule even if I had succeeded in creating one. Instead, where the pro-tight-schedule people would have had me block in time for homework, time for this thing, time for that thing, I have free-form whatever time.

This freedom is so easily abused, and so my free-time all too often becomes my lay-around time, or my read-blogs time, or my play-computer-games time. None of those things are wrong, in and of themselves, but they cease to be relaxing activities of respite and become holes in which to laze away my day, depriving me of both the joy of accomplishment after hard work and the joy of a well-earned break after hard work. The transformation of what was meant to be joyful into meaningless boredom is a good sign of sin, I think.

This makes a lot of sense, to me. The best way we can use the time God has given us is for his glory and his Kingdom, which are really one and the same, I suspect. The question, then, is whether or not I can use my free-form time properly.


Alex said...

On the parable of the talents, Galen sent me an interesting link:
On time management, if you can find yourself caring more about a couple of parts of your life, the value of all of your time will rise. If you care an awful lot about skeeball, you'll become faster at cooking, because you'll want to play more skeeball, or, you might just eat crappy processed food, so you'll have more time to spend playing skeeball or things that are as important to you as skeeball.

I keep a planner, not of what I'll do each minute of the day, because I don't know if I want to go into the lab early and have the evening to relax, or rest up in the morning, and work late. I keep a planner to show me how much time I have free to do the work I need to, so that I can know if I have time to stop and chat with you if I pass you in the library. When I know I have that time, I can give you my undivided attention.

Matthew said...

I really wish that we talked about this more as a community, especially in IV. Young people in college don't have a lot of financial resources, but they have gobs of time-- just being in graduate school now I realize how much more time I used to have and how I wish I could go back and use it better.

There are a lot of Good things in the world available to us, and then there are marginally okay things that are easier to do that crowd out the good things. It takes discipline, prayer, and accountability to choose the good things more frequently, but I certainly think that it's possible.

I don't use a planner, and I'm not convinced that the planner would make you a better Christian unless you had trouble remembering things (and I think I can say that using a planner would make me a better Christian because I do forget things a lot.) But it is chiefly a matter of your heart, and when your heart wants to enjoy life, love God, and love others you will naturally do those things.