Surefire Ways to Waste time in 2011 and a Abba new year greeting
With the dawning of a new year comes a deluge of resolutions, reminders, and challenges. They all follow similar how-to themes – how to increase my efficiency, how to make every moment count, how to invest my time wisely and productively.
Well, just for some tongue-in-cheek fun, I’d like to take the opposite tack. I was thinking about how I could waste my time. That’s right, if I follow this advice, I will make absolutely no progress this year. Guaranteed! I will rephrase these ‘tips’ in the first person. I am indebted to a devotional I read some time ago by Pastor Chuck Swindoll on this theme.
First, I will worry a lot. I will start worrying earlier in the morning and intensify my anxiety energy as the day passes. If I am short on a supply of things to worry about I will check the newspaper, television, or Internet. There I will find enough bad news, doomsday reports, human tragedies, and late-breaking calamities to keep my heart and mind churning all through the night.
Something I have found helpful in my own worry world is to do a lot of reflecting on my failures and mistakes. I’ve done quite a bit of this lately. I have great kids, love every one of them, but that doesn’t mean I don’t indulge in some navel gazing. As a parent of three adult sons, I will think long and hard about what I should or could have done for my children. That will give my guilt the green light it’s been waiting for. To add a touch of variety, I might also call to mind some things I should not have done. Regret fuels worry in many creative ways.
Are there any other categories I can camp on? The things I don’t like about my marriage or my job. The possibility of a leaky roof, car trouble, and aging. Hanging around negative people is a sure way to worry. If I plan all this right, I’ll be loaded with a full pack of worries long before February comes. Start now! Those potential ulcers need fresh acid.
Second, I will make hard-and-fast predictions. Why not? A whole new year is in front of me. My date book is empty and ready to fill with detailed plans. Of course, I’ll need to ignore that little throwaway line in the fourth chapter of James:
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a
city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet
you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. (13-14, emphasis added)
Forget this verse, and chisel my expectations in stone, convinced that things will turn out just like I plan.
Third, I will compare myself with others. Here’s another surefire time-waster. Not only will I ricochet between the extremes of arrogance and discouragement, I will spend another year not knowing who I am.
Fourth, I will lengthen my list of enemies. Playing the Blame Game will keep my wheels spinning more than any other activity. My skill at this game should improve with age because the longer I live the more ammunition I have. With a full arsenal of suspicion, paranoia, and resentment, I can waste endless evenings rehearsing your feelings of hate as I stew over those folks who have made my life miserable.
There you have it, five proven time-wasters. Put these suggestions into motion, and my new year could set records in wasting valuable time.
But on the other hand, do I really want to do that. I don’t want to run in circles – it just happens. So, instead in 20100, I plan to beware of the time-wasters! Instead, I willl pray more than worry. I will be flexible. I will give more. I will be content with the way God made me but improve those areas of my life that could use some fixin’. And I will let the oil of forgiveness loosen my grip on any grudges I may harbour. In other words, I will, by the grace of God, make this year my most productive and happy ever.
And since it is a new year, enjoy this Abba Happy New year 2011