With thanks to the Chambers Brothers, I’m talking about and to my generation today. All the harried, frazzled 30- and late-20-somethings.
There just doesn’t seem to be enough of it.
We have glorified busy in our society. If you sit still, there must be something wrong with you. Work and playdates and exercise and dinner parties and social media and paying the bills and getting groceries and housework and vacations and visitors and book groups and soccer and chess club and…and…and…
It’s also stupid.
Yes, we’re stupid. We really are. If we put our problem with time in perspective, we see that it’s not the hours that crush us, but rather what we do with them. Never before have we lived with such ease. Just a century ago feeding, clothing and sheltering a family took up the entire day. Things like parties and visiting were special. Important, yes, but special. When cooking even simple meals took hours and entire days were devoted to washing clothes, people just couldn’t use their precious minutes any way they wanted.
I’m not saying that we should go back to that (no way I want to sweep or beat the carpets) and I’m not saying that social media or playdates are of the Devil. I am saying that there have always been 24 hours. There have always been 7 days in a week. There have always been 365 days in a year. (I know that the calendar has shifted throughout history and the concept of time differs from culture to culture, so work with me).
It’s not the time. It’s what we do with it.
We do less of what matters and more of what doesn’t.
I’m thinking about this as I work on memorizing Galatians 5:1 –
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. (NKJV)
What is it but entanglement, what is it but bondage, when we’re running around so desperately and can’t get anything done? When we’re going and doing and yet feel so continually empty and unfulfilled? Could it be that we’re pouring into our souls things that will never satisfy? Could it be that we’re throwing costly seconds away on relationships that will never be healthy, projects we never wanted in the first place, getting into fights with people (online or in real life) because, in a neat little twist, we actually have too much time on our hands and can think of nothing worthwhile to do with it?
Could it be that we’re not actually busy, but just wasteful? Too afraid to slow down? Attaching our identity and significance to things that will fade before the paint even dries?
Honestly? I think that’s it. I think, for the most part, we have no idea what to do with the time that we have at a point in history when day-to-day survival is as simple as punching in numbers on a microwave or plugging in a vacuum cleaner. (If we clean our homes at all. There is also a rising glorification of mess, which I find completely inappropriate. There is no reason for anyone’s home to be disgusting on a consistent basis. But that’s another post).
This is on my mind today as I wage war on anxiety. I’m back to that place I was a year ago when I first went off of my medication. I wake up with a pounding heart. My eyes actually feel wild in their sockets. It’s difficult to collect my thoughts. I’m anxious about everything, but also nothing. It’s just there, not connected to any event or person, but warping every event and person. I bounce between wanting to fill up every nanosecond with something, anything, and wanting to lay on the couch all day doing nothing but surf the internet and binge-watch Netflix.
There needs to be balance. There need to be priorities. I am seeing that there are things in my life that I need to let go of so I can grab on to other things. There is a specific call of God on my life, one that I too easily push aside. I cling to dead relationships, avoid a writing project I know I’m supposed to be working on, pour myself into things I don’t really want that don’t really matter.
Could be that I’m preaching only to myself, but the time has come to realize what needs to stay and what needs to go. To reevaluate. To ask myself why I’m using the hours I have for this when it could (should) be used for that.
The time has come today.