Monday, April 20, 2009

Killing Time versus Killing Self

Most of us have never really considered what the term Killing Time means. I know I’ve not thought much about it until right now. I’ve had a broken up day and didn’t make much money. We got home early to go to Anna’s track meet and found out that the meet was cancelled due to weather. Funny, I remember walking to and from school in 9 feet of snow and tornados howling. Life has changed.

Anyway, I sat down to consider the implications of an open evening to catch up on some mindless office work. Youth Convention gobbled up my weekend and I woke this Monday morning feeling like I had a hang over (3 Monster’s and enough coffee to keep me from having a stroke in this life time).

Looking at my desk piled high with mail, papers, scribbled notes from my Sunday sermon (I started a series on Wisdom – don’t laugh), receipts, the latest 2 books I’m reading, my new music CD’s (Third Day Revelation, RemedyDrive Daylight is Coming, and The Best of Bebo Norman – I still can’t believe I listen to a guy named Bebo), DVD’s me and Andrew make for our worship service, an old dictionary I’ve had for many years, my Tyndale New Testament Commentary on Luke, my Day Timer that’s bulging with stuff I need to file, USB cables, post-it-notes with all my internet usernames and passwords, and some coupons from Menards, makes me just pucker a bit in my gut.

My desk can wait until after dinner at Subway with my straight A kids (they get those free combo meal certificates – you’d think they could give ‘em cash for all the taxes I pay). And for now I’m gonna kill some time blogging. Its way too cathartic for me and way too irritating for some of my FB friends and Network buddies to quit, plus I plan to be the writer my dad never got to be (cut short by a stroke).

As for killing time, I think many people choose to kill time instead of themselves. I think that’s a good alternative to the latter. But really what is killing time all about, but wasting precious moments that are irretrievable. You know what I mean? Not that there’s anything wrong with margins in our lives. Margins and boundaries and Sabbath are all essential to spiritual, emotional and physical health, but time is irreplaceable.

I heard it once said that Bill Gates once said (if that’s not gossip I don’t know what is), when asked what he wanted, since he could have anything, he supposedly said, “more time”. It’s probably true. Think of it for a moment. Time represents life. When time stops, life stops (at least as we know it). So when we choose to kill time versus doing productive and progressive things needing attention or responsibility, we might just be choosing life versus the alternative. Yet many would frown on the thought of killing time (they’re probably the ones right now scraping the roof of their mouth with the muzzle of a gun).

It seems that when we get overwhelmed with stuff that we need to do, many of us find ourselves reaching for the knurled handle of a snubbed nosed .38 and a bottle of Jack. Except it all takes the form of idleness. That’s right, for the wise and the cowardice; killing time is a much better alternative than killing self.

Don’t flood my comment box, but I think we need to develop some leadership courses on the art of guilt free time killing. Because all the hours of leadership conferences I’ve logged have never really removed the guilt so often associated with my need to abduct some quality and random Sabbath.

Several months ago, in a conversation I was having with the Lord, I asked Him about this subject. I’ve always felt guilty for taking a nap when I’m tired. If someone would call the house, I would not ask my family to lie, but I would tell them to tell the caller I was busy and would call them back (busy napping). I could never bring myself to letting on that I was napping.

When I asked the Lord where that feeling of guilt came from, He showed me. Years ago, when I was a child, my dad would incessantly make us get up early on the weekends. He was always an early riser and would impose that compulsion on the rest of us. The Lord showed me one time when my dad came into my room and said “get up you’re sleepin’ your life away.” Mind you, it was probably 8:00 am or something, but to him that was lazy, good for nothing, white trash, apathetic, wasting your life away kinda stuff, and he wasn’t gonna tolerate that in our home.

As a result of that one incident, I’ve been terrified for all my life that people would think I was lazy. And I’m really not. I actually know how to make money and work hard and even smart sometimes. But I’m not lazy. Yet all those years I was bound by that memory, by that lie.

When I asked the Lord about all these things, He told me I wasn’t lazy. Ever since then, if I’m napping and someone calls I tell the family to tell the caller I’m napping. Actually I’m kinda proud of that fact now. So if you call and can’t reach me, I might be napping (get over it).

Or maybe I’m just killing time like right now, because I’m too wise and cowardice to choose the alternative. Let me encourage you to learn the art of killing time. You’ll be glad you did.

Now I’m off to Subway for an Italian BMT foot-long. Jealous?

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