Updated: May 18
Dear ES, I am finding I have a lot more free time (and am wasting more time procrastinating and doing unproductive things…) Does the Bible talk about ways I could be spending my time or do you have any tips for helpful ways to spend time?! From an easily-distracted Christian
Dear easily-distracted Christian,
Even though it is a bit of a meme, no matter how much extra time you get to do an assignment, it always seems to get done the night before. We can always find extra time to procrastinate, or procrasti-bake, or procrasti-clean…there are so many things you would rather do than assignments. But there one bonus of social isolation at the moment is all of us do have extra time at home. We don’t have to commute to uni (or park, which adds hours to my week). We don’t have our regular things like sports and social events on. And we have the option to keep our lectures on double speed to maximise our uni efficiency. And instead of just using that time to procrastinate, how can we use this time to help us grow as Christians?
But why does the way we use our time even matter? Does it hurt anyone what I do in my spare time? Actually, the bible has some pretty strong words to say about laziness in Proverbs 6:9-11:
“How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
and poverty will come on you like a thief
and scarcity like an armed man.”
The writer of Proverbs thinks this advice is so important that they actually repeat it again in Proverbs 24:33-34! This doesn’t mean we all need to be high-functioning, hyperactive workaholics. Resting is actually really important in the bible too, and is something that humans need! But this is a warning about going too far the other way, and not being productive. So as Christians what should be our goals for being productive aside from our work and studies?
In some of Paul’s letters, he tells the churches he was writing to that ultimately, their goal should be to grow to be more like Jesus:
“He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” (Colossians 1:28-29)
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-15)
Paul talks about how important it is that we grow and mature. God builds us up and gifts people to help us do this. So this is a really good thing to invest more time into at this time when we have extra time at home.
So how can we use this time to grow ourselves?
1. Get into a good routine of bible reading and prayer- when we are trapped in the busyness of life it is easy to lose our routines and let bible reading and prayer slide out of our daily routine. This is a great place to start to grow yourself, by reading God’s word and talking to Him!
2. Read some good Christian books- a good place to start is our ES Book Reviews, with book recommendations from ES staff members. For thousands of years Christians have been writing books to help us understand the bible and how it applies to us, and these can be really helpful in deepening our understanding of this. If you’re interested in exploring a particular topic why not send a message to a staff worker or our Facebook page and get some suggestions!
3. Look for new ways to do things- take things that are normally a part of your personal devotion and routine, and do them in new ways. Listen to an audio recording of a bible passage. Go for a walk and pray. Find a different church or preacher and listen to a sermon online, or to a Christian podcast. Try writing out a prayer. When you have extra time, this is a great opportunity to get creative!
There will be times as we deal with the uncertainty at this time that all of us will need to allow ourselves to take extra time to rest, without feeling guilty about it. We’re all adjusting to new times, and this takes a lot of mental energy. But there will also be times when staying at home means we have extra time and energy, and so this is a great time to invest in supercharging your growth!
Grace & Peace,
PS- maybe you’re feeling the opposite of this. Maybe you’re feeling guilty because you can’t keep on top of things, or you’re feeling overwhelmed with uni, and keeping up with friends, and still trying to spend time with God. If you’re feeling like this, this struggle will be looked at next week.