We sit down to relax, or distract ourselves for a minute...and before we know it, minutes turn to hours and we’re lost in a vortex of wasted time.
We’re all guilty of it.
And we’re all guilty of the guilt of it.
You know what I'm talking about: You started with a good intention but end up feeling hollow and regretful—helpless to get the time back, helpless to make a change, and usually stressed as a result of it. Yet time after time...you seem to fall into the same traps.
In her article on The Gospel Coalition, Jacquelle Crowe writes about the “5 Ways Teenagers Often Waste Their Time”. The article relates the issue to a specific generation, but we would do well to realize that we’re ALL in desperate need of grasping these concepts. Why? Because our resolutions “to do better next time” often end miserably.
So what do we do?
Here are 5 ways to help you not only stop wasting time, but empower you to live a life of fullness and purpose:
1. Know Your Priorities
We hear “check your priorities” so often that it feels like a fly buzzing next to your ear. But knowing your priorities (and being intentional to follow them!) will help you target the heart of the matter. Otherwise, you just treat the symptoms.
Crowe writes that “as Christians, we’re called to a life of hard work and good deeds” yet we get set off track by our endless to-do lists and obligations.” To avoid this take constant decision-making and intentionality, but the results are always worth it. If we consciously make a list of what’s important and what comes first in our lives—and keep our eyes on that list—we won’t be as easily derailed.
This one’s another fly-in-the-ear issue we hear a lot, yet the truth remains that we need to pay attention to it. We have to constantly check our relationship with media to know it isn’t taking over our lives. Crowe writes that “while there are good, momentary pleasures we should enjoy here”—like media—“they can’t claim all our time. Because they might make us miss kingdom opportunities. They might waste good works.”
With our tech-driven world, there’s no way to cut ourselves off from media. The key is to master it...and keep it from mastering us.
3. Deal with Your Problems
One of the #1 reasons we waste our time is because we turn to busyness as a coping mechanism. Crowe writes that “while we’re tempted to escape problems through busyness, it only delays the inevitable. We’ll still eventually have to deal with life.”
It’s true. Putting our issues on the shelf won’t make them go away. As a matter of fact, it may only make them bigger and more burdensome. “Not only does it waste time,” she points out “but it burdens us with stress.”
It may require more work up front, but dealing with your issues will save you time in the long-run.
The guilt of wasted time often make us feel like we need to scramble to make up for it. But often, the reason we felt the need to binge-watch Netflix/get lost in social media/veg on the couch is because we needed rest in the first place. Or we confuse rest and laziness. The problem is that though we it’s easy to know when we need rest, we don’t always know what’s restful.
Make a priority to know what’s restful...and do it!
5. Live Like Your Time Is a Gift, Not an Entitlement
It seems a little counter-intuitive to take this approach, but realizing our time comes from God helps us set our eyes on the things that matter. Otherwise, if we treat our time as an entitlement, our self-focus will often leads us down rabbit trails of unfulfillment.
Crowe writes: “I don’t realize that I’m accountable to God for my time. And that’s why I waste it.”
We have to remember that “we are [God’s] workmanship” and that we are “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).
We need to remember that time is a beautiful gift from Him, and He wants us to live life to the fullest. He isn’t a God making tally marks of our well-spent days… He’s a God that desires us to walk in good works, walk well with those He put in our lives, and above all, walk in love with Him.
So don’t waste another minute. It’s time to take back your time, know your priorities, and live the life God intended you to live: full, beautiful, and free.
Publication Date: May 22, 2017
Cristina Rutkowski is the editor of BibleStudyTools.com.