Is our perception of the way we spend time distorted?
Men can’t multi-task. I believe it. But I don’t believe in the underlying assertion embedded in that statement: that women can.
Nobody can! Humans can only think about one thing at a time. Maybe dolphins are different, I don’t know.
Oh, I suppose that in our modern world, I can accomplish about a dozen things at once. I can wash dishes, wash laundry, dry laundry, knead bread, can pumpkin, take a vigorous walk, thaw hamburger, participate in an ebay auction and de-frac my computer while reading a novel. But my mind is only on the novel.
In a recent conference, a Church leader asked for 10% of our WASTED time. Just ten percent of the time we spend playing games on our phones or computers, just 10% of the time we spend on facebook or pintrest, just 10% of the time we spend reading or watching something that does not draw us closer to God or to our families. It’s simply impossible to pay attention to our families or our duties and entertain ourselves with something else simultaneously.
I spent two hours on ebay the other day. I was researching (AKA ‘shopping’) for something I had no intention of buying. In fact I was determined NOT to buy it.
The good news is. I didn’t buy it. The only thing it cost me was two precious hours of my life. How would I feel if those two hours turned out to be my last hours. Now that would really stink to tell the keeper of the pearly gates, “Yeah, I was just shopping for wigs on ebay when my heart exploded and here I am!”
I appreciate that he didn’t call for a cessation of all time-wasting. We’re Americans! It’s our privilege to entertain ourselves in the most pointless ways imaginable. He only asked for a tithe of that wasted time.
I don’t call all time spent on facebook or Pintrest wasted. Only most of it. And have YOU ever visited Pintrest without being tempted to try those 9000 calorie per serving pie recipes. How I wish I had never heard of the almond/pecan/ chocolate caramel pie!
Goodness how did my kitchen floors get so dirty! That reminds me. . .
I remember visiting a home one afternoon. I had an appointment. When I arrived, the four-year-old child wore nothing but a sagging diaper. The home was filthy, piled high with dirty dishes, dirty laundry, games and toys, food, garbage and other detritus of living.
Both parents were home.
The father sat with his back to the room, facing a computer lit with fantasy images of an imaginary world. He was speaking into a bluetooth with some “friend” he had never met in person as they discussed an online game. I’m not sure that he ever realized that I was in the room.
He had come home early because he was not feeling well.
His wife’s computer was paused a few feet away from his on the same game. I am still heartsick when I think of it.
One of my children told me about another woman who took nail polish with her into the temple. Once the session started, she’d give herself a manicure. Is that multi-tasking?
10% is a clever (inspired?) request. If he’d asked for an hour, we’d easily be able to measure and call it done. But if we’re going to give a certain percentage back to something worthwhile, we first must ascertain how much time we’re spending. Isn’t that the real exercise? We’d have to set a timer every time we logged on to a game or social media on our phone or computer or picked up a worthless novel or turned on a TV show that does not inspire goodness. Wouldn’t we like to know how much of our sojourn on this earth is being frittered away on worthless pursuits?
Is there something in your life that you dream of, but have never actively pursued? Do you want a richer life? Start with a timer. Find the number for how much time you are actually wasting. Try not to rationalize the definition of “wasted.” We know in our hearts if nobody benefits from something we do.
The Lord actually asked for a little more than 10% of our time. He asked us to let Him plan one day in seven. That’s about 14.3% of our sojourn on earth. He asked us to let Him set the priorities for a Sabbath day.
As with all “commandments” that the Lord has given us, this tiny request can only bless our lives. If someone we love dies or divorces or leaves home suddenly, will we regret that we never beat the level on such and such game? What would we give to have back the child or spouse or parent for just one hour that we wasted entertaining ourselves in our imaginary world?
I spent an hour on pintrest the other day learning to how to make gelatin bubbles for snow globe cupcakes. The concept fascinated me. But I’ll never make them. I may use the information someday for something… See how easily I rationalize thinking like a hoarder? Are we often filling our minds and lives with worthless debris that have no real value. *Sigh*
They were awfully cute. I also spent a couple hours shopping for beauty related items for myself. I have birthday money to spend. Then I saw a picture of a woman in National Geographic whose face was so wrinkled, it looked like crinkle cotton. I thought “What an interesting looking woman.” I’d like people to look at me and think that, wouldn’t you? So why do we spend so much time tweaking up our looks?
The leader that issued the challenge to take back 10% of our wasted time, urged us to use it in the quest of family history or indexing or temple attendance.
The Lord admonished us in the last days to “stand in holy places.” That request applies to me in calling me to the temple more often, but it also applies to making our homes holy refuges from the cares, pressures and contention in the world. A place where love and acceptance and growth are encouraged and nurtured. Your spouse or children may need your undivided attention more than anyone in the world or out of it.
The easiest place to start, in my opinion is to give the Lord and your family the Sabbath day. One day in seven with no secular TV, no video games, no non-religious movies, no novels, nothing that you would not be proud to be caught doing if the Savior entered unannounced.
The Lord tells us he “hallowed the Sabbath Day” and then instructs us to “keep it holy.” He made it holy and we’re supposed to keep it that way. It’s not so he can have his favorite day without distraction, but rather to bless our lives. We are invited to His house to feast on his meal. Once a week, we’re called to revel in the best blessings of our lives, our families! Once a week, we’re invited to concentrate our minds on the efforts that bring the greatest happiness life can bring.
In our day, as in the days when Christ walked the earth, many are called to the feast yet have other priorities. The Lord’s response is not to cancel the feast, but rather to call more and more to the feast until he finds people willing to partake of the blessings he offers.
He doesn’t wait for the guests he invited first to get around to coming. They have lost their chance. We cannot retrieve the blessings we have lost by wasting our past time.
There’s an additional symbol in that New Testament parable. Throughout the New Testament, Christ calls the Church his bride. This parable calls it a “wedding feast”. So if the bride is the Church and the groom is Christ and we refuse to attend the feast he has invited us to each Sabbath day, doesn’t that mean that we’re not the bride? What bride skips her own wedding feast?
My resolution is to start with the Sabbath Day. I’m going to give that day to the Lord 100% and then see what He can do with that. I think I’ll have time to see my hopes and dreams materialize. I’ll visit and read and spend time in ways I never make time for on other days. One way or another, I’ll partake of the feast He has invited me to. I hope you’re there, too!