Friday, August 08, 2008

Time is Life, Life is Time

I've discovered in my fifty years that life is filled with activities that can suck you in like the Mafia. The evil one would love to distract us from from doing what is best with doing what is harmful, neutral, or merely good. The trick is learning to discern which activities are life-fillers and which are life-drainers. What may be an "LF" for me may be an "LD" for you, and vice versa. But here are some specific examples from my experience.

Life-drainer: accepting a position on my neighborhood's board of directors.
Life-filler: starting a neighborhood book club (where we frequently discuss spiritual themes).

Life-drainer: working seven days a week.
Life-filler: taking a Sabbath and keeping it holy.

Life-drainer: bad books, bad movies, bad TV.
Life-filler: good books, good movies, great TV.

Life-drainer: trying to exercise someone else's spiritual gift.
Life-filler: exercising mine.

Life-drainer: joining a fitness club.
Life-filler: hitting the treadmill every morning while watching good TV.

Life-drainer: trying to be all things to all people.
Life-filler: finding my God-ordained niche and filling it.

Miscellaneous life-drainers: purposeless meetings, trying to maintain fake nails, window shopping, foolish arguments, email chain letters and urban myths.

Miscellaneous life-fillers: any time spent encouraging children, a good hair cut, time spent with my hubby, shopping with a purpose, riveting debates with friends who speak the truth in love, going back to school to keep learning.

In order to fill your creative well, you have to let LIFE drop into it. In order to maintain your spiritual life, you have to feed it daily. God has placed you in a specific place, time, and situation for a reason . . . and you need to examine the elements of your life and make sure you're using your time in the best way possible.

"For what is your life?" James asked. "It is only a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away."

Life is time. We have a finite amount in our accounts. We need to spend it wisely and in the light of God's eternal purposes.

How will you spend your 24 hours today? 



Mocha with Linda said...

Life-drainer: getting sucked into the internet's plethora of articles, editorials, and celebrity gossip
Life-filler: reading edifying blogs like this one!

Angela said...

Thank you, Linda, for "filling" my morning with encouragement. :-)

Now . . . I'm off to pass along the favor to some folks at a conference.


Anonymous said...

A timely reminder as my time in California wanes and the new life in Texas looms on a rapidly approaching horizon. BTW - for light reading after a long day of sorting and packing, I have been devouring the Nicki Holland books I bought for grand-daughters' birthday at month's end. They brought back my love for Nancy Drew when I was younger. Delightful reads, with strong but not overwhelming messages. I think Kat will enjoy them, too! Clyde

Lisa said...

Oh man, this hits home for me. I feel like lately all I've been dealing with are life-drainers. How do you balance that out with the fact that I'm employed by my church, worship there, and almost everyone I know is in some way part (or was) of this ministry. I can't tell you how I feel drained by "the good guys" in this case. If you had any guidance or counsel in a situation like this, it would be like throwing me a life-line! When I search the Word, and talk to my Father about all this, I feel the answers He is giving me don't line up with what they say. Thanks for this post! I really needed to hear so much of this!

Angela said...

Dear Lisa:

I'll never forget sitting in a college psychology class and hearing one of my godly professors say that if he had his kids at every activity our church provided, his family life would be shattered. I was stunned--particularly since I was working in the youth ministry at that church. But now, I understand what he was saying.

Have you read THE DEBT? One of its messages/themes is that we can get so caught up in church business that we forget to listen to the voice of the Lord.

For me, part of sorting through life-fillers versus life-drainers is simply developing a listening ear and the ability to gently say no. Truthfully, I can't do it all, and I'm not supposed to do it all. So sometimes you have to erect boundaries and learn to let someone else have the blessing of service. :-)

Hope this is helpful!


SmilingSally said...

Life-drainer: reading blogs written by those who expound, even though they say nothing.
Life-filler: reading Angie's blog!

Lynette Sowell said...

Sounds like someone got out my notes from Glen Eyrie! I'm trying to remember to play more and encourage my inner artist child. :) :)