Staying in a hotel has a way of forcing you to simplify your life really quickly. It would have taken too much time to take everything we wanted from the apartment and transplant it to our hotel for a few days, so we packed the bare minimum. Normally, staying in a hotel is not complicated. However, we hadn’t stayed in a hotel since Riley Grace has been born… I think Riley Grace had the most stuff out of the three of us! We were all crammed into one room, with Riley Grace’s pack-n-play at the foot of our bed. Our kitchen stuff was lined along the bathroom counter, and our clothes were draped across the spare bed in the corner. Patrick packed his school bag, but didn’t actually get to accomplish any schoolwork because we had to turn the lamps off at night in order for Riley Grace to lie down. After Riley Grace finally fell asleep on Sunday night, I couldn’t fall asleep. I had packed my Bible and journal, and I felt the Lord prompting me to turn on my lamp and start reading. Generally after Riley Grace falls asleep at home, I find a number of things to do. Wash the dishes. Pick up her toys. Take a bath. Put the clothes on to wash. Spend/waste time on Facebook, Pintrest, or Teachers Pay Teachers. Fall asleep on the couch. Read (which usually ends up as napping with my book). Watch a movie or show on Amazon. Lots of those tasks are necessary and good. Some of them are time-wasters. But they are all things that usually come before opening the Word. By the time those things are finished, I don’t have the energy to focus intently on the Word, so then it may not happen. My time in the Word on Sunday night was wonderfully refreshing and convicting. The Lord gently showed me that I am really good at wasting time, and that the things I choose to waste my time with are really foolish in comparison to the opportunity that I have (and often reject) to spend time with the King of Kings every single day!
The Lord showed me that one of His plans for our hotel stay was to show me how many things I can use to waste my time. At the hotel, I didn’t have any of those things. I didn’t have movies and Internet and dishes and clothes (well, I had dishes and clothes, but they were just piling up instead of getting cleaned!). At the hotel, our lives were simple. Eat, bath, and play until bedtime. Put Riley Grace to bed, and then we could either read or go to sleep. Pretty simple! And surprisingly, very nice! Without the distractions that I find at home, I had plenty of time and energy to dive into the Word! I needed to simply my time in order to focus UPWARD!
How can you live simply? How can spend more time focusing upward? What are some things that you busy yourself with that aren’t necessary and may actually be time wasters? What do you do in your free time? Do time-wasters come before spending time with the King of Kings? (I am not trying to make the point that Facebook or Pintrest or movies are necessarily sinful. However, if they come before the Lord in how you spend your time, then, yes, that is sinful. I was right in the middle of that.) At the end of the day when all is said and done, I want to relax with a movie, not sit and think and read and journal. Those things involve using my mind, and at the end of the day, I don’t want to use my mind! The Lord showed me that it is selfish and foolish to neglect time with Him. The King of Kings, Creator of everything, and Savior of my soul, and of YOUR soul, wants to spend time with us. He showed me that it really is the most foolish idea to think that resting in front of the tv will actually give me more rest than resting in His presence. He is worth using my mind for thirty more minutes, even if I’m tired or exhausted.
Don’t just simplify and de-clutter your free time. Look UPWARD. By clearing out your time-wasting habits, you now have real FREE time to spend time with the One who is seeking you and pursuing you. How can we really say that a show or an Internet site is more relaxing or interesting than seeking and pursuing our relationship with the Lord? Sometimes, I think that we don’t spend time in the Word and in prayer because we don’t find fulfillment in it. We cannot expect to find fulfillment in our relationship with Him if we don’t invest time into it. One of my problems is that I’m a doer. I like to feel productive, and I like to see the fruits of my labor. That’s why I’m a list-lover. If I can check something off of the list, I feel wonderful and accomplished! If I decide to do something that wasn’t on the list, I add it to the list just so I can check it off…that seems pretty silly, but I know some of you do it, too! Anyways, sitting and reading or praying doesn’t always feel productive. (But then, note to self, how is 30 minutes on Facebook productive….ok, I’m preaching to myself!) Sometimes Patrick will ask me, “Is that productive?” to which I respond, “But I’ve been productive all day! I want to do something mindless!”
But if we’re thinking from an eternal perspective (and we should be!), the most productive and vital thing that we do ALL day is spend time with our Maker!
So, how can you spend more time with Him? Get creative! Carry around a verse for the week and read it every time you get in your car, or tape it to your mirror or fridge, and memorize it. Commit to listening to only Christian music for a period of time (or forever) so that you can focus on Him through music. Ask your husband or a close friend to keep you accountable. Let them know what your quiet time plan is, and let them help you stick to it. Spend your bath or shower time praying for your family and thanking God for how He provided for you that day. Before you begin studying for your schoolwork, make a commitment to study the Word. One of my friends mentioned that as she gets dressed each morning, she recites and prays for the armor of God and the fruit of the Spirit to be evident in her life that day. Find a verse that deals with what you’re currently struggling with, and memorize it! Thank Him every time you walk outside and notice the beautiful creation with which He’s blessed us. Set a specific time for your quiet time, set an alarm for it, and treat it as an appointment that you won’t miss – drop everything when the alarm goes off, and spend time with God!
I pray that God will gently convict you of things in your life that may be mindless time-wasters. I pray that He gives you the discipline and desire to spend the much-needed and fulfilling time with Him. I pray that He helps you to find fulfillment and satisfaction in His presence through prayer and the Word. I pray that He gives you an accountability partner. Above all, I pray that you know Him more deeply as you make small sacrifices of eliminating your time-wasters.
Read the following passages, and answer these questions.
Matthew 6:33 / Philippians 3:1-11 / Colossians 3:1-17
1. How does this passage speak to my priorities?
2. How does this passage compare godly and worldly things?
3. What changes can I make and what can I pray about concerning these scriptures?
Challenge: If time-wasting is something that you struggle with, commit to memorizing some verses within these passages so that God’s Word can be rooted deep in your heart whenever you are tempted with your time-waster.