I’ve spent thousands of hours playing video games. Over the course of my lifetime, probably more than 10,000 hours. Some video games log the number of hours you’ve spent on them. Many of the older ones stop counting once you hit 100 hours. I’ve broken that ceiling more than I’d care to admit.
That means I’m really, really good at wasting time. According to the “10,000 hour rule,” I’m a professional time waster.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve spent less time on video games and more time on things that seem to matter to adults. Like mowing grass, and vacuuming, and going to ceremonies boring enough to make a sloth cry.
I go to bed earlier than ever before, and wake up earlier. And with a 1-year old daughter, I’m seeing life through a totally different lens. I’m watching it move at an every-changing pace.
Some days I swear the clock hands are racing each other. The impact on my thought life has been bizarre.
I used to want to fill up my life with endless business. Being bored was a sin, a misery close to water-boarding (or should it be water-bored-ing?).
As life speeds up, I find myself digging my nails in the dirt, longing for the time to stare at trees, or watch clouds puff by in the sky. And all those activities adults always seemed to care so much about (like doing the laundry) feel even more worthless than playing video games.
Make your bed just so that you can make it again. What a waste.
While the demands of adult life have crammed themselves into the same 24-hour slot, I’ve found myself increasingly longing for empty space. I feel claustrophobic. John Mayer’s “Stop This Train” has never spoken so resonant of truths.
We’re on tracks, hurtling down a hill faster by the second, and at the end. . .
I try not to think about the end. Most days, I barely have the capacity to think about now.
So many duties. Go to work for 8 hours, come home, clean the house, take care of my daughter, get groceries, make a list of objects to fix in the house (lightbulbs needing replacing, broken toilet seat, leaky dishwasher, etc.), then immediately avoid fixing any of the objects in that list because I need to try to write for an hour, meet basic physical needs like eating, drinking, and bathing; pay bills, keep track of revenue for end-of-year accounting, think about all the things I’d love to do, get up, look at the clock and—yowzers, it’s bed time.
How’d everything slide by without me finishing half of anything? What the heck was I even doing all day? Moping around like a zombie?
I always feel as though I’m doing a lot, but when I take stock of its substance, my tasks feel as light as helium, as though my day was a balloon, and by the end of it half the air had leaked out.
Then I do think about the end, and I get creeped out.
Lord, I pray, don’t let me be a flaccid, wrinkly old balloon. Don’t let me waste my life. And when I die, take me to be with you.
And something funny happens: the five seconds spent focused on those simple prayers outweighs the “responsible” duties of the entire day. The balloon refills and finds its ballast.
I’m not saying we need to become anarchists and resist living responsible lives or being obedient in our duties.
What I’m trying to say is. . . we’re going to die. Then what? “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” –Mathew 25:46
I don’t think we take Jesus seriously. By “we,” I mean 99% of the church-going population.
We care more about church board meetings than spiritual vibrancy. Our churches give an hour for an inspirational message, and 5 minutes for corporate prayer.
But Scripture demands that we remain constant in prayer, and be diligent in worship (every day). Jesus says in Matthew 6:19-21, “Don’t lay up treasures for yourselves on the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consume, and where thieves don’t break through and steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
So, how much time do I spend praying, worshiping, and reading Scripture? Because those are three of the primary activities given for God-fearing individuals, whether in private or in public. If to measure where my heart is, we need measure where my time goes, how does this all weigh out?
We look down on people who don’t go to church every week, but what about those who don’t spend an hour per day in prayer?
Are we really aligning our hearts with the rhythms of God’s?
We’re all so busy. Tired. Over-drawn. If Jesus walked among us now, I wonder if he’d call us a bunch of wrinkly old balloons.
Because our religious ideals are more predicated on culture than Christ.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitened tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but inwardly are full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” –Matthew 23:27
You’re going to die. Same as me. When that happens, what’s waiting for us?
Oh, God, don’t let me be a Pharisee who cares more about fulfilling outward duty than about the matters of the heart, of faith and love and obedience to you. Purify me. Make me care about what really matters. Make me care more for my own holiness than my momentary happiness. Give me the strength to live in righteousness. And let my obedience and responsibility arise out of a passion for you.