I Want to Waste My Time

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By Jeff Foerster

My work is focused, my attention is directed, and my clicks are precise. Each image and each caption is carefully read and logged in my short-term memory for comparative purposes. I can easily track my progress toward my endgame, as all are ranked in order of speed. So there I am, dedicated to the task of researching and compiling data crucial to, uh, something or other. There is just enough peripheral information to keep me interested and moving forward, onward toward that approaching goal of uncovering the one — the fastest aircraft in the world! I wade through differing builders and differing sponsoring countries. When a Russian variety makes the list I feel a small sense of competition building, until that plane is superseded by an American aircraft. Then, as this is revealed before my eyes, nationalism is renewed and patriotism stirs within me. I, as an American, am back on top — a victor once more. And all I had to do was click on a slideshow built for the selling of advertisements. Then, something unforeseen took place.

Just below the image of plane number 12, a banner appeared. In a rectangular box plain text spread from left to right across the screen. Unencumbered by decoration, the displayed message was clear: I WANT TO WASTE MY TIME. This is not good advertising. There was no flashy imaging or scrolling text to garner my attention. It didn’t make promises of fulfillment or happiness, however temporal. It didn’t intrigue my curiosity with intellectual ponderings. Nothing of the sort. In fact, the message comes close to being insulting.

Yet I was stunned by this most simple, monochromatic missive. The words before me became almost audible. You see, I had spoken to someone the night before this odd occurrence and revealed to them that I thought God was opening my eyes to how I spend the time He has given me. Lips slightly parted and brows raised, I sat there, staring, then reading and rereading the text to make sure my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me. I felt exposed, like just becoming aware I had been watched for an indeterminable amount of time. I may have laughed or just shaken my head, though I don’t recall. This had to be one of the bluntest, timeliest messages I have ever received in all my years.

I am not about to delve into concepts of synchronicity or weigh in on the idea that “there are no coincidences.” I will not meander down rabbit trails or set the stage for doctrinal dissertation. What I will do is remind myself and declare to you that each day is precious because it is a gift that our God and Father gives us to unwrap as the day itself unfolds. Each day provides opportunity to take a stand and praise our Maker. How I choose to spend the time given to me declares my priorities, my values, and my loves.

What are you going to do with the time given to you? Who, or what, will it declare that you love?

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2 thoughts on “I Want to Waste My Time

  1. I flipped through that same list. I didn’t understand the order they put them in. It was also the penultimate straw that led me to unfollow a couple of timewasters that really just want me to click on their sites to generate ad revenue.

  2. Ah, the internet! Social media! It all calls for our undivided attention.

    I told Darlene today about something that’s really been annoying me lately. Oftentimes when I arrive to a meeting at work, I walk into a room full of people who are all doing something on their smart phones. There may be some perfunctory “How’s it going?” or quick nods, but then it’s back to whatever is distracting them.

    So, we sit there, a room full of human beings, doing social media on our mobile devices, without doing much to acknowledge the social reality of the people God has placed around us.

    Sounds weird for a social media professional to be saying this, doesn’t it? But I think we all struggle with it, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

    I appreciate the reminder that our time is a precious commodity from God. We don’t own it, we’re stewards of it. And there’s coming a day when He will ask how we invested it.

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