Time is so precious. As I get older, this is one of the few things that I become more and more certain of over time. During a phase of life when so many of my previously cherished beliefs and paradigms are being challenged, every bit of evidence points to the truth in that statement. Time is so precious.
These past several months, I’ve found myself thinking more and more about the ways I spend my time, and how it’s not always the way I want to be spending it. The way I spend my time is often determined by the path of least resistance. What’s easiest? What do other people expect of me? Endless silent questions that I never even realized I was asking until the last year of my life.
Today, I read a blog post that spoke deeply to this area of my life. [I encourage you to read it in its entirety; the link is posted below.] The author was seeking to make a point about the way we go about becoming good at certain things. We become good at them by doing them over and over and over, until we no longer have to think about them…those small rehearsed motions have become a part of us. We become good at something because we practice it.
As a musician, I’ve always seen practice as a good thing. We practice because we WANT to get good at something. It involves effort and discipline and commitment. Until today, I was never really inspired to think about it any other way. But what if it’s possible to become good at something we really don’t want to become good at? What if, by that same drill-and-kill rehearsal, we become good at things that actually detract from the meaning of our lives rather than add to it? Huh. When I look at it that way, it takes on a whole new meaning.
I’m really good at watching television. I’ve devoted a whole lot of time to the practice of being good at it.
I’m really good at wasting time on the internet. Again, it’s because I’ve rehearsed this routine many, many times.
I’m really good at eating things that are in no way beneficial to my body, mind, or spirit. You got it. I’ve practiced at length.
I think the part that disturbs me most, not only for myself but for much of our culture, is that the thing I’m probably best at is justifying the fact that I continue to practice habits and ways of living that are of no benefit to myself, those around me, or most especially the Kingdom of God. I’m so good at justifying it that I no longer need to anymore. I don’t even think about it. It’s all become mindless rote. A part of me.
And as I become awake to these realities within me…how my soul cries out for more than this. In reality, I have no desire to look back at the end of my life and say that I wasted a large chunk of my time doing mindless things. That I disrespected the body God has given me by feeding it junk, both physically and spiritually. That I took for granted the resources I was given freely.
I want to create instead of consume. I want to create space, relationships, beauty, music, laughter, love. I want to cultivate life in the Kingdom. I want to create instead of consume.