The Problem: You are Wasting time given to you by God
This essay has some pro tips at the end, you can explore them more in detail on the audio recording as well. Stick around for why it all matters or skip on down and just roll up your sleeves and get after it.
Why talk about wasting time? Can’t that just be solved with the Gospel? Well, in the same way that becoming a better rifle shot can be solved with the Gospel. Better yet, in the same way the gospel made Paul better at making tents. He developed skills with discipline, hard work, and wisdom. Poorly aimed shots aside; time-wasting, and the poor use and management of time is endemic in our culture. I see it in my students, I see it in others, I see it in my children, I see it in my wife, I see it in me. Laziness is a life of lethargy and leisure. I’ll say that again l aziness is a life of lethargy and leisure. It’s killing you and the precious little time you were given here. You don’t have time to show up when you feel like it. Hawaiian time is for turds.
What if I told you the average person wastes two weeks a year being on Facebook? That’s 50 minutes a day. That’s JUST on Facebook. Screen time is turning into slave time. With the amount of time the average person spends on fantasy football during a season (20-40 hours a week trading, watching, researching, setting roster), you could learn Mandarin Chinese to fluency in less than three fantasy seasons. Tread with caution on the dopamine slot machine in your pocket. But your phone is not the only thing to watch out for, it’s what they’re pumping you full of on there- besides those pesky lies. But you already knew most of that.
Christian Time vs Critical/Change Theory and the Perpetual, Tyrannical Now
Change theorists don’t measure time. Time is just an explosion of needs and desires. The change theorist really wants two things: change and pleasure. Routine and discipline (suffering) are out of the question. Ask Herbert Marcuse or Antonio Gramsci.
This has to do with time, since the change theorists believe that timeliness is racist. Literally, they believe that. I don’t want to bore you too much with the specifics, that would waste your time and attention. W hat I do want you to realize is the dangerous change paradigm of Critical Theory. Change is not bad, Critical Theory is- and so is its ugly and cleverly renamed child Change Theory. Critical Theory, like its change agents, sees history as the ultimate reality. The collision of concepts in the synthesis of now. The god of the Critical Theory system is history. History is part of the change dialectic ultimately ending in utopia (literally “no place”) and there is no real past so to speak, just the march of the revolution, the spinning cycle of the perpetual now that will revolve, evolve, progress… into perpetual utopian bliss. To them, time is not linear, it is merely an illusion. A vortex of change loops in the perpetual now. That’s how they see time.
When it comes to time, all they see is now. The desires they want, fulfilled now. Give me what I want now. Like toddlers. Change now. Justice now. They have no future, no past, just now. Now is all, now is everything, now is history, now is the revolution. Justice now. Equality now. Smash patriarchy now.
The leftist Critical Theorists don’t care about the future, they just care about change and pleasure. If they can keep you glued to your phone, they’ll succeed at enslaving you to your desires as well. Bezos, and Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates will win. Greta Thunberg and her inverted ancestor worship worrying about the “future generations” is just a ploy to cow you into acting on climate change- wait I thought they said change was good? Who cares what future generations think. What does God think? What does God say? Future generations are just the leftist version of a great cloud of witnesses held aloft by revolutionary history that don’t exist yet and won’t exist because they murder their children not on, but in the altars of desire- their bodies. They appeal to feelings, emotions, and libidinous urges as a way of life. Completely undisciplined, they are ruled by change, and change now. They act on instinct. Change, change, change… “spare some change?” Asks the hobo, enslaved to his addictions and desires- unable to see time anymore. Hoboes want change now too. They get it.
We on the other hand, probably the hour hand, are most certainly not enslaved to change. Or at least we shouldn’t be.
I tend to agree with a wise Spartan (or as Knox and the other reformers referred to them, “the Lacedaemonians”) who once said “I accustom myself by training to seek to find a change in no change.” This means that the world is filled with change, it’s called entropy (one of the poisoned fruits of the fall), the hard thing is maintaining order without becoming a tyrant. Past, present, and future are the key. You may recall the ghosts, death, and dust essay earlier this year for New Year’s- but this is even more practical. As Christians we know that time had a beginning that was created by God. God is the only being that is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable. Thus, the only change we need will come from Him, in His time.
How then will we use the time given to us? As we saw earlier, our time in this life is finite, and scripture is clear we shouldn’t waste it. Our time is short, and it ends in death or Christ’s return. Be prepared to meet either. In the meantime, how can I more wisely use my time?
Glad you asked.
This is a proposal to help you start thinking about how to better use your time. What follows are lessons learned in blood, sweat, and tears. Meaning, you’ll probably ignore it, stop listening or reading, and go on to some video on Tik Tok or the latest news story derailing your focus.
One last note is that for the sake of sanity, when all around is unpredictable, you have a predictable control measure by using time well. The one thing that helped keep prisoners of war and those imprisoned in concentration camps and gulags sane was a scheduled routine and the wise use of time. Even when there was “nothing to do.”
Why TIMELINESS matters
Timeliness demonstrates you don’t want to waste the time of others, that you prepare, and that you are not ruled by desires, slothfulness, or your children. Lateness is your fault. Is it a sin? No. But it’s lazy. And laziness leads to sin. It’s definitely a red flag. Most people don’t think of themselves as late, and that’s mostly because they don’t think about time.
Think about a simple task. Going to the grocery store, usually that’s your wife- but just bear with me.
You need to think backwards and about preparatory things you need to do and plan for those things- you need a watch or a stopwatch. I get it, this sounds like a nightmare scenario from the Pacifier. But it works, you don’t kill people on target by showing up late. I said on Target, NOT in Target. But timeliness isn’t just for operators, or just for you, so let’s pretend this is here to get your family to church on time, or to football practice on time- or just to the gym on time.
What does “on time” mean? It isn’t merely filling a space with your presence at an allotted period.
On time means:
Being at the right time, in the right place, with the right things. In short, it means bending reality to your will.
I’ll write that again
Being at the right time, in the right place, with the right things. In short, it means bending reality to your will.
It takes work to bend reality to your will.
Ah, I see the nervous man. You. Clutching your pearls, Mr. Reformed Theologian. I don’t mean inflicting your volition against God’s decree. I mean obediently taking dominion within your spheres of influence and thus acting on time like a lawnmower on the temporal grass.
Where was I? Ah, yes. It takes work to bend reality to your will. You do it by accounting for variables and tactically using time. Back to getting to Church on time… wait, I mean the gym; whoops, where is my inoffensive example- getting the groceries.
This also means seeing even an item like lunchtime as lunch prep, lunch served, lunch eaten, lunch cleaned up. You have pre operation, operation, and post operation before you are operation complete.
Back to the grocery store.
Perhaps the most painful thing the SOF Operator culled from the millennials learns is that prep, cleanup, and debrief come before “me” time.
Back to getting to church on time.
Dang, I mean the grocery store.
10 am Groceries
Seems simple enough. But there’s more to it.
How long does it take to get there? Is there gas in the tank? What’s traffic like this time of day? Are you bringing the kids to the grocery store? Where are their shoes? Is there a poopy diaper? How long do they take to get buckled in? Where are your keys? How long does it take to lock the front door, unlock your car, get seated, and start the vehicle?
Usually, you’d head for the car around 9:45 since it takes 15 minutes to drive there, but that’s exactly how long it takes to get there. So now you’re late- and bound to forget something.
15 minutes is your standard departure time without traffic, and finding a parking spot, and unbuckling the kids, and walking up. See how it adds up? 15 minutes is more like 20-25 minutes with variables and that’s just door-to-door with no traffic.
Here’s my equation for travel time- your GPS or timed route says 15 minutes. So, add 25% to that for your “No later than” departure time. Let’s say that’s 4 minutes and then round up for the long light with grandma still crossing the crosswalk when the light turns green. Then add 5 minutes
So that’s Travel Timex1.25+5 Minutes
Now for the other part, the diapers and shoes, extra bags if you live in California or you’re going to Costco, and your keys. Usually, 10 minutes is sufficient to prep to walk out to the car after gathering what you need to grab. But let’s make it 15 minutes to be safe. So really, to get there by 10 am with the kids, you need to (as my grandpa used to say) commence to begin to get ready to go not later than 9:20.
In the SOF community, operators get a prepare to move call. It’s a warning that it’s going to be time to move soon so get your shtuff together and get ready to move in a specific period of time.
But don’t forget the post operational commitment of unloading and putting away the groceries. Getting the trash out of the car, bringing in babies, dirty diapers, etc. Another 30-minute task in itself. So really, you are looking at a 2-to-2.5-hour commitment if you do an hour of grocery shopping. Unless you like living like the dirty-bird sparrows in Redwall- no sense of time, and always doing things later, or worse, tomorrow.
That’s how you plan timeliness. While it’s fashionable to be late to parties, it is not fashionable to procrastinate or move slowly through your day. Procrastination and disorganization will accumulate frustration and rage. Procrastination truly makes for miserable slaves of desire
Here’s how to schedule: plan backwards from the time you need to be there (remember we said 10:00), always subtract five minutes (9:55) and treat that as your arrival time.
Then calculate your travel time Route Timex1.25+5 minutes
That equation works out to our 15-minute travel time plus 4 minutes plus 5-minute buffer (24 minutes, might as well make it 25)
Now we’re at 9:30 to leave.
Then give yourself time to get your keys and motivate your children to get ready (10-15 minutes if your children know where their shoes are and they’re dressed and ready to move)
9:15 to start getting ready to move in order to be there by 10:00
Yet it’s just a 15-minute drive! That’s why you’re always late.
But choose your own adventure, everyone knows time grows on trees.
PRO TIPS AND TOOLS
Time and the End of Time
Written by the Puritan John Fox, it’s well worth your time. Literally and figuratively.
Excuses are like buttholes, everyone has them and they all stink. You are probably a man and a head of household, if so, it is always your fault. There is no excuse. Accept this responsibility joyfully and rejoice that you were considered worthy of suffering by God.
The 25% Rule
Plan on one quarter of your day being taken in things that are unexpected. This is a rule at work as much as it is a rule on the way to work. I don’t know where I picked this up, but it’s incredibly helpful. If you have an 8-hour day at work, 2 hours of it will be doing unexpected tasks. And remember, the obstacle is the way. Just plan to be early
Get a notebook, write down tasks, figure out a way to get organized. Automate redundancy into your system.
Plan, and really plan the pieces, the component tasks. Where am I going? How long does it take? how long does it take my kids and I to get ready to move to the car? What do I need to have there?
Lay the items out or load them beforehand so you know they are there.
STOPWATCH/TIMER ON A WATCH
Don’t use your phone, you’re probably too easily distracted (although you could use Siri or Alexa). It’s incredibly helpful to chunk time out in order to focus and track how time has elapsed. For example “hey kids, you have two minutes until you’re going to brush your teeth.” Set a timer right then. Time flies. This will help in getting your kids to bed in a decent amount of time.
More on this in the narration.
EVERY DAY STARTS THE EVENING PRIOR
I usually workout early in the morning because of the commitments I have during the day. I want to be able to read my Bible, pray, and workout before anyone is even at work. Bag everything up and load it in the car or put it in front of the door. “Future you” is a lazy idiot who is in a hurry, so save “future you” the effort. You’ll thank yourself later.
LISTEN TO THE NARRATION FOR FURTHER COMMENTARY